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Meet Crispin Rock, CIBSE ANZ Lighting Design trainer
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Meet Crispin Rock, CIBSE ANZ Lighting Design trainer

05 Jun 23

Lighting Design is a very specialised area of Electrical Services Engineering in buildings. Crispin Rock, is a lighting control specialist, and one of CIBSE ANZ’s experienced facilitators who delivers the 1-day Lighting Design training that forms part of CIBSE ANZ’s 3-day Electrical Services Engineering course.


Crispin developed much of this training for CIBSE based on CIBSE’s Society of Light and Lighting guides. He is one of 15 subject matter experts who has helped develop the content of the Electrical Services Engineering course. He has completed delivery of an online version of this course, and also in-person in Sydney and is looking forward to taking this 3-day training on the road for in-person sessions in, Melbourne and Perth and then also other parts of Australia and New Zealand.

Crispin shares some of his career highlights, his thoughts on training and upcoming lighting innovations.


Tell us a little about yourself

Crispin: My passion has always been in lighting and was the reason that I studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate. In my twenties I worked in entertainment lighting as a systems engineer, designer and programmer of intelligent lighting systems. Much of the cutting-edge technology was adopted by building services industry and I transitioned into architectural lighting controls in my thirties. Through my career, I have been fortunate enough to work on a wide variety of projects around the world, from the local sports club through to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. I have worked in many sectors of the industry from project delivery, design and consultancy through to R&D.

For the last few years, I have been self-employed, providing lighting and lighting controls services to the wider construction industry. Additionally, I carry out research in the Lighting Lab at the University of Sydney as well as tutoring the lighting students.

What have you enjoyed about your role in delivering CIBSE Training?

Crispin: It has always been my belief that it is better to share knowledge than keep information to yourself. Shared knowledge inevitably means a stronger industry and therefore a more rewarding environment in which to work. This belief aligns exactly with many of the core values of CIBSE, as such it has been incredibly rewarding to be involved in a program that drives to improve the understanding of building services as a whole.

What challenges have you encountered as a trainer?

Crispin: What to leave out. As with all technical disciplines, there are sweeping macro-level concepts that need to be communicated, but the devil is in the detail and that takes time. It took me 18 months full-time to complete a Masters in lighting so squashing all there is to know in a day means compromise. The course has been compiled with a fair amount of elasticity so that we can address everyone’s requirements. It is vitally important that those attending the training speak up and join in the discussion to maximise their own experience.

What aspect of Electrical Services Engineering are you most passionate about?

Crispin: I’m not sure that I have a favourite. It tends to be the thing that I’m doing now. With the benefit of hindsight, my favourite project was the implementation of the lighting control system at the new Mumbai Airport Terminal. This involved a wide variety of responsibilities while working across different cultures. Presenting to Indian government officials, coordinating with local consultants in India, developing new hardware and software products back in Australia made for a fantastic level of variety. For me, the downside, and there’s always a balance, was the constant negotiating for resources but some people love that part too!

What aspect of lighting design is changing the fastest?

Crispin: In the last few years there have been huge changes to both lighting technology and to how lighting affects humans physiologically and psychologically.

The invention of the Nobel prize winning, high powered, blue LED resulted in a quantum improvement in energy efficiency for artificial lighting.  The Department of Energy in the US has identified new opportunities in advancing LED technology and continues to invest in research to both further improve efficiency and to provide better spectral control.

Improved spectral control of lighting ties in with the rapid advancement in the understanding of the visual and non-visual response of humans to light. The ability to tune LED spectra to improve physical and psychological health coupled with a grid powered by renewable energy will mean that the lighting industry focuses away from energy efficiency towards ‘human centric’ lighting.

In 2023, it would remiss not to mention AI when discussing technology. Research is already underway to train models that will automatically control light levels depending on inputs from occupancy sensors. It is impossible to predict where this technology will lead to.

Why do you think that it’s important that building services professionals keep up with their professional development?

Crispin: In short, if your knowledge isn’t up to date, then you are, at best irrelevant and likely to make costly mistakes. It’s important to remember that while it is possible to earn CPD points from commercial organisations, the information presented will always be biased towards that company. Obviously, commercial organisations are what makes up building services engineering, however an objective perspective will only come from professional bodies such as CIBSE or educational institutions.

If you could go back to your younger self when you started working in building services, what advice would you give yourself?

Crispin: When you get stuck, seek out advice from those in a supervisory role earlier rather than later. While the best way to learn is often to figure things out for yourself, sometimes you can end up down dead ends unnecessarily.

Lastly, what would you tell someone who is just about to start or consider working in building services? 

Crispin: Go for it! And make sure that you collaborate all the time. You will learn from others and others will learn from you. You get out what you put in.


Click here to discover more about CIBSE ANZ Electrical Services Engineering training

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