Air-conditioning ducts vs ceiling downlights

My wisdom this Wednesday is a regular challenge for me – the battle of air-conditioning ducts vs ceiling downlights.  In my opinion this issue is mainly due to a lack of ceiling space being allowed in the actual design of homes in the first place.  I have found that most homeowners who want air-conditioning also want ceiling downlights.  This can be from them being used as a main light source through to the way that I prefer them to be used – to highlight features such as artwork, sculpture, architectural features, window treatments, etc.  Sometimes I “win” and the downlight arrangement makes sense and they go where they were intended.  Sometimes I “lose” and downlights get moved so far from where they needed to be that they make no sense at all or they get chopped from the scheme completely.

My wisdom is twofold:

  1. Prepare for the air-con routes as early as possible, fight for the downlight positions where they really matter and do a visual check on site before any ordering is done as the real life positions of air-con ducts rarely seem to match the drawings (or have I just been really unlucky?).
  2. UK homes need to be designed knowing that air-conditioning is required and allowing for it and the other services (because it often impacts on plumbing as well as electrical and lighting services) within the ceiling voids.  Ideally this isn’t by dropping the ceilings further than originally intended – this can ruin the proportions of rooms and sometimes window and door heads stop it from happening at all.  I’m not sure if the remedy is in the hands of architects or local authority planners who if they allowed an extra couple of courses of bricks per floor would allow such a difference to be made.

Opinions please…

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