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Public lighting Maintenance

Public lighting Maintenance: Procedures and Planning

Everything that needs to be included in a public lighting maintenance plan to ensure efficiency and safety

Planning the maintenance of the public lighting system is absolutely necessary in a scenario of efficient management and safety of assets.

In this article, we explore the different types of maintenance interventions and the criteria for a legally compliant, structured, and time-scheduled activity planning. The adoption of advanced technologies (such as IoT) and the use of specific facility management software can represent valuable support for monitoring the service, geolocating the maintenance interventions to be carried out, managing and coordinating activities and the personnel involved.

Types of intervention in the verification of the lighting system

The process of verifying the lighting system may require a variety of interventions, including:

  • ordinary maintenance, includes actions aimed at repairing parts of the system affected by wear and tear, weather agents, and the passage of time. These interventions, defined as “routine”, include changing light bulbs, cleaning light centers, painting, maintaining poles, and renewing line parts;
  • extraordinary maintenance, involves “non-routine” performances, often requiring the use of specific equipment. Although not substantially altering the nature of the system, these actions aim to improve its overall efficiency. These interventions may include the replacement of components with different characteristics, the variation of light points, the replacement of parts of the electrical panels, or the installation of photocells;
  • maintenance of lighting fixtures, focuses on the replacement of lamps and accessories, along with thorough cleaning of the lighting bodies. Specialists dedicated to this task carefully examine the various parts of the entire public lighting system, including clamps, wiring, and reactors, to ensure not only correct operation but also maximum safety and efficiency;
  • maintenance of the electrical system, since the electrical system is located in public spaces, potentially causing damage to people and property, it is essential to carry out periodic inspections to identify and promptly resolve any anomalies. This includes checking the closure of the electrical panels, switches, and differentials, as well as measuring absorbed currents to identify possible faults or malfunctions;
  • maintenance of supports, essential to ensure optimal operation of the system. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully check the containment armatures, poles, and tensioners, focusing on the overall stability of the system.

Maintenance management with IoT applications

From a perspective of modernization and efficiency, the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can revolutionize the management of public lighting maintenance. By introducing sensors and smart devices on lighting fixtures, it is possible to monitor the real-time status of each component of the system. The sensors can detect data such as temperature, light intensity, energy consumption, and lamp operation.

The information collected by IoT devices is transmitted to a BIM IoT platform, which allows maintenance personnel to have a detailed view of the conditions of the systems. In case of anomalies or failures, the system can automatically generate maintenance alerts, allowing for rapid and targeted interventions.

Asset management with integrated IoT software

Asset management with integrated IoT software

Predictive maintenance becomes possible thanks to the ability of IoT to predict failures in advance by analyzing the collected data. For example, sensors can detect a decrease in the efficiency of a lamp or anomalies in consumption, allowing operators to intervene before a complete malfunction occurs.

The integration of IoT applications in public lighting not only optimizes maintenance but also contributes to a more sustainable energy management. Dynamic regulation of light intensity in response to environmental conditions or the passage of people can be implemented to further reduce energy consumption.

Furthermore, IoT applications allow for the automation of monitoring processes and maintenance interventions. Managers can receive automatic notifications, assign tasks to operators, and keep track of the interventions carried out, contributing to a more efficient and documented management of the entire public lighting maintenance process.

Public lighting maintenance plan

The public lighting maintenance plan constitutes the main system for the management and control of maintenance tools and objectives. It can be articulated in:

  • user manual, refers to the most important parts of the system and contains project drawings with information on where these parts are located;
  • maintenance plan, contains the same identification elements as the user manual and, in addition, possible anomalies, maintenance operations and related resources, the minimum level of performance;
  • maintenance program, reports the performance of the parts, maintenance interventions and their relative times, checks for maintaining performance levels.

The overall management of the system must aim to achieve specific final objectives, as detailed below:

  • extend the effective operating life of the system;
  • reduce the incidence of failures;
  • shorten intervention times in case of failures, considering maintainability and available resources;
  • reduce waiting times for access to human resources and necessary means;
  • optimize the availability of spare parts.

Appropriate systems maintenance, as far as possible, also fulfills the following responsibilities:

  • contributes to maintaining the expected safety and functionality standards;
  • facilitates continuity in service delivery;
  • limits finanical damage;
  • reduces the risks of irreversible damage;
  • allows monitoring of parameters related to the electricity supply contract stipulated with the distributing body, ensuring compliance with agreements and preventing unnecessary financial burdens.

However, it is important to emphasize that, even with correctly performed maintenance, it is not possible to avoid the natural deterioration of the various components, as each of them undergoes a more or less accelerated aging process, influenced by the type of material, environmental conditions, external stresses, and the severity of the service to which they are subjected.

In order to ensure that the systems and their components maintain suitable conditions for use, it is essential to conduct regular periodic inspections or subject the systems to continuous monitoring by qualified personnel. This monitoring is essential to adopt maintenance interventions based on the results of the checks.

The main factors that can compromise the correct operation of the lighting system and its components are listed below:

  • intense service activity;
  • adverse environmental conditions (entry of water or solid bodies, exposure to extreme temperatures, humidity, wind speed, direct solar radiation, etc.);
  • external stresses (mechanical impact, abnormal vibrations, presence of flora, molds, fauna, etc.);
  • sensitivity to corrosion;
  • contact with corrosive or polluting substances (chemical products or solvents);
  • accumulation of dust and dirt;
  • training of personnel;
  • unauthorized modifications or adjustments;
  • inadequate or non-compliant maintenance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • age in relation to the expected duration.

Based on these factors, an inspection program is developed that includes the definition of the type of check and the time intervals. It is advisable to follow the periodicity and maintenance methods indicated in the user and maintenance manuals provided by the manufacturers, intervening promptly in case of evident signs of deterioration or malfunction.

I remind you that all these aspects can be managed with greater control thanks to the use of facility management software based on cloud and multi-device platforms.

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)

Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)

Maintenance criteria

In order to reduce the times and costs of maintenance operations, it is essential to acquire knowledge about the characteristics of the system, its location, and the arrangement of the main components (electrical panels, conduits, junction boxes, etc.).

To optimize interventions, it is necessary to:

  • identify the means, materials, and equipment needed;
  • check the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • assess the materials needed for planned interventions.

In conclusion, to carry out correct and effective maintenance of the system, it is crucial to have the project documentation and complete technical documentation of the components, including instructions and warnings for use and maintenance provided by the system designer and component manufacturers.

Intervention methods

Below is a brief summary of the different intervention methods for the maintenance of public lighting systems.

Corrective maintenance

Corrective maintenance, or maintenance of necessity, is provided for low-technology systems, where there are no special requirements for continuity of operation. Since it is generally requested on call, it is important to ensure the availability of the maintainer by specifying days, working hours, and intervention times. Corrective maintenance operations include the replacement of:

  • lamps;
  • electrical accessories of lighting fixtures;
  • visible electrical wiring and related mounting accessories;
  • internal terminals on poles or for the derivation of suspended light points;
  • switches, relays, and terminals of control and protection cabinets.

Ordinary corrective maintenance also includes the restoration of anti-corrosion protection on the poles, if necessary.

Interventions involving the complete replacement of components, on the other hand, will be considered extraordinary maintenance.

For further information, read “Corrective maintenance: what it is and how to manage it“.

Emergency intervention

Emergency intervention aims to secure the system in emergency situations, such as:

  • possible direct contact between people and live parts;
  • step and touch voltages exceeding safety values;
  • static instability of system elements;
  • dangers to vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

Emergency intervention must ensure the activation of teams at any time, and repair interventions must be timely, with possible temporary solutions if the definitive restoration is not immediate.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is provided when it is necessary to ensure continuity of operation. It is necessary to define execution times, notice days, intervention methods, and the availability of replacement components. It includes:

  • verification of the correct operation of control, monitoring, and regulation equipment;
  • verification of the electrical parameters of the systems;
  • verification of the condition of the light points;
  • scheduled replacement of lamps;
  • periodic cleaning of lighting fixtures;
  • management of the warehouse with spare parts;
  • revision, lubrication, and repair of winches;
  • verification and replacement of steel ropes and accessories for supporting lines and electrical cables;
  • replacement of control sensors with a remote control system.

The maintenance plan also defines intervention times and methods related to lamp replacement, cleaning of lighting fixtures, painting of supports, and straightening of suspended elements, monitoring the condition and safety of the systems through visual inspections and periodic instrumental measurements.

For further information, read “What is preventive maintenance?“.

Direct or indirect maintenance

The client can manage maintenance directly or entrust it to third parties (indirect maintenance) in different ways, such as on-call, permanent presence on site, or presence on fixed days.

Public lighting maintenance operations

Public lighting maintenance operations

Key points of the public lighting maintenance plan

The maintenance plan outlines the procedures and deadlines for ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of electrical and public light systems. Some key points of the plan include:

  • scheduled replacement of lamps:
    • the average durations of the lamps are specified according to the type;
    • a replacement periodicity is proposed based on the type of lamp, with suggested durations ranging from 2 to 20 years;
  • cleaning of lighting fixtures:
    • the cleaning periodicity is indicated based on the type of fixture, with frequencies ranging from annual to biennial;
  • equipment for maintenance:
    • the necessary equipment for maintenance is established, including vehicles with platforms to reach high heights;
  • electrical cables and electrical panels:
    • periodic checks on electrical cables and annual cleaning of electrical panels are recommended. The need to check differential switches is specified
  • supports:
    • the need to paint steel supports when necessary and to prune vegetation that could obstruct the lighting is indicated;
  • periodic checks and reporting of faults:
    • monthly verification of all public light systems is recommended, and timely resolution of reported faults;
  • intervention times:
    • maximum intervention times are specified based on the severity of the fault, with dangerous situations requiring intervention within 2 hours;
  • grounding system checks:
    • the registration of grounding systems, notification to the competent authorities, and a five-year verification of the system’s efficiency are required.