Estimating Electrical Costs – Light Fixtures


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It is very unlikely that any electrical estimate would be done without the need of light fixtures. These materials are so common in jobs, that good electrical estimating software should have a catalog of light fixtures to select from to prepare a bid quickly and efficiently. So we will look at some important considerations regarding this frequently used item.


Take off light fixtures and lamps - Set up your take-off sheet with the fixture types, description, number and type of lamps and accessories. Make a note at top of columns on the take-off sheet where you found the fixtures. (i.e.: 1st floor, 2nd floor, room #, etc.)

Count fixtures, using a thumb clicker. Tally Counter Make sure to make a check mark or highlight the fixtures as you count them. Write the quantity down on your take-off sheet under proper fixture type. Try to count all of one type at a time. (i.e.: count all of type “A” fixture, all of type ”B”, etc.)

If a fixture type is not clear or not labeled, look in adjacent room or area and see if it is logical that it is the same type. If it is not clear what type they are then circle the item with a question mark and send an RFI or use other means to determine what it is. DO NOT LEAVE IT OUT! List it down with a description as an unknown. Plug a price for this if you cannot determine what it is.

This information will be essential when it comes down to entering light fixture details in your electrical estimating software.


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Check your work - After you have counted, marked and logged down all the light fixtures, make another visual pass over the drawings to find any fixtures you may have overlooked.

Look for any additional lighting accessories or supports needed and list them (i.e. strut supports, other structural supports, seismic wires, pendants, hooks, emergency batteries, dimmer ballasts, etc.).

Look closely for emergency batteries or dimming ballasts that are required but not shown on the fixture schedule. They may be required by obscure notes on the plans.

Also, look for fluorescent fixtures shown on the floor plans controlled by a dimmer switch or a scene controller.

Tip - Look for exit lights, they are the most likely to be missed.


Remember to call your lighting suppliers to request a fixture quote with plenty of time in advance.

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