Deck Specialist - Spring 2018

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Bright ideas in low voltage Setting the Standard in Excellence is not just a catch phrase—it’s a belief. It’s not meant to evoke a sense of competition, rather a philosophy on how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis. Every day we’re given opportunities to Set the Standard. Whether it’s with prospects, other businesses, while on the jobsite, or driving our company vehicles, we are leaving an impression. It also encompasses how we treat our team members and the trickle-down effect our attitude has on those around us. Professionalism, courtesy, respect, pride in craftsmanship, being responsive, standing behind our work, proudly displaying our membership with NADRA or your local building association are all statements about how we want to be perceived by our peers. Using better materials, taking a few extra steps to increase structural integrity, or keeping a tidy jobsite are examples of how we can be Setting the Standard. Ultimately, it’s about being better than we were yesterday and spreading that belief throughout our organizations. When we market our companies, we are seeking to set ourselves apart from a prospect’s other options. As we present our projects, we all have special key points we believe make us the “best” choice. We continuously seek out ways to stay ahead of the competition with design features, board patterns, inlays, transitions, picture frame borders, and lighting, to name just a few. As I sat fascinated by the award-winning decks from the NADRA deck contest that were on display in the last issue of Deck Specialist magazine, one feature consistently caught 48


Deck Specialist


Spring 2018

my eye. It was so recurring I actually started keeping track of it. LIGHTING. Yes, lighting. The majority of the winning decks showcased some sort of lighting. Whether it was underrail, post cap, post sleeve, stair riser, or landscape lighting, it made each one of those projects stand out. Lighting is a relatively inexpensive way to have your deck literally shine above the others in a neighborhood, making your projects a focal point for all to see. I’m a huge fan of deck lighting. In this day and age of plug-and-play wiring systems that take all of five minutes to figure out, it’s a no brainer. We all remember a time when deck lighting was nothing short of a migraine waiting to happen. Electricians were required to do the wiring. Fixtures cost a king’s ransom, and if you or one of your crew weren’t electrical savvy, the project’s completion could be held up waiting for other tradesman to perform that portion of the deck. Then we moved to the early days of low voltage, with transformers the size of a bread box. Bulky wires, massive fixtures, and a tremendous amount of cutting. What takes a couple hours now would require an entire day for completion. Times have changed. Today we have low-voltage LED fixtures, easy-connect wiring, and fixtures so easy to install that the project can be delegated to a laborer. Wires are thin and inconspicuous, connectors are basic and simple. There are a vast number of lighting systems available in today’s marketplace. Developing a relationship with one or two manufacturers can become an essential tool going forward. For example, last summer while in the mid-

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