Refurbished or converted office space are likely to require compromises to be made to the lighting, particularly if there are unusually high or low ceilings, which make the placement of luminaires, optimum balance of illumination level, glare control and uniformity difficult to achieve. In these circumstances, it is important to remember that display screens and desks are easily repositioned and therefore the siting of screens to reduce glare in particular may form part of a lighting solution. See the Computer Work webpages for more information on this.
In an office refurbishment, part of the solution to providing a suitable lighting design is to place office furniture to match the existing lighting positions rather than amending the lighting to suit a preferred office layout. A change to the orientation of desks, the addition of desks, the putting up or removal of partition walls, or introduction of tall furniture can all make a significant difference to office users in relation to the amount of light received on a computer monitor or onto a desk surface (glare or shadowing), so caution should be paid to deviating from the original office design during a refurbishment.
If desks and monitors cannot be re-positioned to reduce glare or shadowing, a change to the lighting scheme should be factored into the project scope as early on in the process as possible, although it is worth noting that this could bring about a substantive increase in cost to the Department. In a similar way, the addition or removal of partitions, the introduction of tall furniture to an office or simply movement of office users could cause similar compromises in relation to ventilation to/from a space. Areas could end up devoid of any ventilation at all, or office users could end up being too hot, too cold or sat in a draught if the position of intake and extract points are not considered when making such alterations. Where office users are experiencing problems after a substantive change, the first line of enquiry must be to discuss the problem with a line manager and/or Office Manager or equivalent person in charge of the space before directly engaging with the Estates Helpdesk or the Health and Safety Department, as there may be small changes that can be made by the Department itself in relation to the office layout, or siting of office users before looking at costly changes to lighting or ventilation. Only where such changes cannot be made locally should consultation be taken up with the Estates Department via the person in charge of the space or other suitable budget holder.
Task (desk) Lighting
Follow the link to Task Lighting for information on when these would be suitable and how to incorporate these into a lighting scheme.
Wall, Ceiling and Floor Finishes
It is worth being aware that the wall, ceiling and floor finishes can have a dramatic effect on the transfer of light through a room. A small dimly lit office, should be as light in colour as possible, for example.
The Estates Department are continually looking at new bulbs coming onto the market to seek to establish whether they can be designed into new or existing lighting schemes. Many of these will be energy saving in some way; there are even bulbs now fitted with 'smart' meters that sense the amount of light being received and then adjust the amount of light given out, which are being considered. Where these are fitted, these will ensure that that the lux level required is being achieved.