Lights Out! An Easy Tip To Monitor Exterior Lighting

The Challenge

Monitoring parking lot lighting and building entry lights is an ongoing challenge for property managers. During daily/weekly tours of the property when we inspect for potential repairs and safety items, the exterior light fixtures are marked as an exception.  It can’t be inspected because the timers or photo cells are programmed for the lights to be off.  The lights are not illuminated, because its daytime.

Exterior lighting is an important service to our residents.  It illuminates the parking lots, streets and building entrances.  Exterior lighting creates a sense of safety.  Without any reports of lights out, it is assumed that lights are operational.  Then a resident comes to the office to report that his car was broke into, vandalized, or even worse, a resident falls.  The concern for the resident, is elevated to a higher level of concern with the dreaded words, “the light by my building hasn’t worked for weeks.”  Without documentation it’s difficult to establish the accuracy of this resident’s claim.  Risk Management inquires  “Have we provided the expected service to maintain the exterior lighting?”

An Opportunity To Inspect Lighting

Lighting can be inspected by taking advantage of the on-call rotation.  When the maintenance staff is called out for emergencies in the evening, a drive through of the community identifies any lights in need of repair.

Included in the week preventive maintenance schedule is a work order or checklist for exterior lighting that is assigned to the individual on call.    On the first occasion the staff receives an evening call out, an inspection of the property exterior lighting is completed. Use a map of the property, with each of the exterior light posts or building wall mounted lights already identified; the on call staff can mark the map with date and time.   The log verifies either lights are operational or in need of repairs.

Adding this inspection to the preventive maintenance schedule will create a system to insure the lights are inspected with regularity.  When maintenance submits work orders for the on-call service requests the exterior lighting inspection can be reviewed.  Repairs and replacements are scheduled based on the items identified.  The use of cell phone photos can also assist to document areas that have limited lighting and possible obstructions with trees.

This also provides a record for risk management showing the weekly inspections, as well as the completion of repairs.

LightingRepairs can be scheduled as needed.  When incidents occur the log can verify regular inspections and repairs. The report documents the status of the lighting.  This demonstrates the lights are inspected and maintained.

Adding the exterior lighting to a weekly schedule creates the ownership and awareness to maintain this important feature at our community.

Lori Hammond
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