What’s involved with street light installation, maintenance and renewal in various settings including roads, streets, car parks, businesses and retail areas.
More to keeping streets and other areas lit than meets the eye
It may appear that putting up street lighting and looking after it is pretty straightforward, but there’s more to providing and maintaining effective street lighting than might first appear.
Not just streets
The term ‘street lighting’ is a rather catch all term; what may be termed public lighting is sited in various places such as hospital and supermarket car parks, retail and business park public areas, roads and motorways to name a few locations.
Most companies offering professional street lighting installation services would likely work for a wide range of customers including local authorities, construction firms, security and car park management companies, housing developers and landlords.
Expert street lighting companies would carefully plan where lighting would be situated in a given area, and considerations have to be made in ensuring enough light is provided but not overdone. In other words, installing too many lights would waste energy and resources unnecessarily – especially with street and general public lighting under scrutiny as a major user of energy.
Installing street lighting involves often the provision of an infrastructure such as underground power cabling and thus digging trenches for ducting to run it along.
Then there’s the ‘hardware’ itself such as mounting the columns for the streetlights; this is a major task involving possible road closures or traffic management and maybe sealing off certain areas while work takes place.
Replacements and conversions
Street lighting lasts a long time, but not forever, so will need replacing in whole or in part eventually – and there’s also the issue of converting current sodium based street lighting to the more efficient and much lower maintenance LED (Light Emitting Diode) type.
LED is appearing in many new street lighting projects, and several towns and cities such as Manchester have – or are planning – a major conversion of street lighting to LED, so street lighting companies are going to be kept busy for the foreseeable future changing thousands of sodium lights over to LED.
Street lighting requires maintaining of course; lights fail so need replacing and this usually involves using height access machinery so taking time and expertise.
Underground cabling sometimes requires repairs or replacement and this inevitably entails digging to depth; then there’s routine painting of street lighting columns and repairs and replacements when damage is caused.
Cleaning lamps and electrical testing are also routine maintenance tasks a street lighting company would undertake – very important as a compromise in lighting quality from dirty lamp lenses or failed lighting is obviously a safety risk.
While some lighting is the responsibility of the local authority, outdoor lighting in other areas is the responsibility of the owner. Therefore, they have to ensure their lighting is compliant in terms of electrical safety and the structural integrity of equipment such as lighting columns is up to standard.
Testing of external lighting installations should take place every six years.
Many lighting companies offer a maintenance contract as a better value for money option than customers paying for repairs and replacements on an ad hoc basis. It usually works out more cost effective, and can include preventative maintenance where lighting is inspected periodically so as to avoid the risk of light failures or an escalation of the number of malfunctions.