Plans 101

Below is a quick run down on the documentation you will get to express your lighting design for you and your contractor.

Reading and understanding architectural drawings is not usually something my clients do everyday. Over the last 20 plus years that I have been drawing plans I have developed a system for documenting the design that is hopefully easy to understand, clear and concise.

Bespoke lighting designs tend to require a lot of detail on the plans in order to create the lighting effects when the design is executed onsite. This is especially important for overseas clients, remote sites or when the contractors need to work independently.

Here are the main components in the documents of your design:

Equipment Key

On the side of the drawing, the equipment key lists the light fittings used in the project. Each fitting is given an identification letter and the key describes the type of fitting and relevant electrical specifications.

So, type a = Recessed 13w LED downlight with 45°adjustable tilt. Remote dimmable driver required. 92mmØ cut-out.


Equipment on the Plan

The letter identifying this downlight is shown in lower case in red.


Equipment in the Specification Document

This separate document fleshes out the equipment key, showing the lighting equipment with its type identification number for easy reference.

The specification includes images of the equipment as well as web links to the specific fitting so that you can get the full picture on-line, which can be very useful on site for fitting instructions, dimensions, finishes and ratings etc.



I have developed a quick reference guide to the location of the luminaire, without having to consult the installation notes. The shape indicates whether the luminaire is located on the ceiling, the wall, the joinery or the ground/floor, as some fittings can be used in more than type of location.

This is the clearest way of representing the difference between a ceiling recessed fitting and a floor recessed fitting, for example, in a bird’s eye view document.


Location on the Plan

Here we can see luminaire reference type n is mounted on the wall by the door.


Installation notes

The installation notes are to give extra information about the installation of a particular luminaire, such as dimensions, ie height above the floor for wall mounting, or distance from a wall for ceiling recessed. The notes are numbered as some are required many times.


Notes on the Plan

Type c pendant (note 1) is suspended from the ceiling centred on the window.


Circuit Notes

The circuit notes list the various types of circuits, switching and control. Using colour we can identify a dimmed, relay or nightlight circuit.


Circuits on the Plan

The four dots by the front door represent four switches which are a combination of dimmed, relay and nightlight circuits – two for the hallway and two for the garden. The dotted lines connect the luminaires on this circuit. Circuit lines that terminate in another dot indicate the position of the two-way switch. Where a two-way circuit spans a large area, an identification code will be used to match up the two ends of the circuit.