Lead times for light fixtures with electronic ballasts that used to span two to three weeks have now lengthened to five to six weeks. Complicating matters is the GC’s practice of fast-tracking jobs only to learn that the lead time for luminaires is longer than the completion date for the project.
Lighting distributors have begun to report longer lead times for electronic ballasts from all major manufacturers. This will cause significant delays in fixture delivery dates and will surely disrupt project scheduling and deadlines. Distributors and manufacturers are forecasting the longer lead times to continue well into 2011.
Adding to the demand for electronic ballasts, in July, 2010, the federal efficiency standards regulating fluorescent magnetic T12 ballasts took these ballasts off the market. As of July 1, 2010, ballast manufacturers were prohibited from manufacturing these ballasts.
Without magnetic ballast replacements on the market, building owners are being forced to retrofit their existing lighting fixtures with electronic ballasts.
Although new construction has already transitioned to the electronic ballasts, without magnetic replacement ballasts on the market, manufacturers cannot keep up with the added demand that the retrofit projects place on supplies.
The longer lead times are also attributed to a worldwide shortage of electronic components, including capacitors and integrated circuits.
To try to avoid missed deadlines, architects and GC’s may need to consider substitutions. Lighting fixture buys should be one of the first things done upon receipt of a contract.