Communal Stair Lighting Maintenance Edinburgh

Communal stair lighting maintenance

Standard stair light

I have been getting some inquiries mostly from co-ordinators who say they are confused. So, what is the best way to maintain stair lighting. Hopefully I can give some guidance to help sort through the issues raised.

Why did CEC give up maintaining the lights

70 year old astro clock

In the current economic climate the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) needs to save money. Plus the existing stair lighting equipment is coming to the end of its service life. This would mean higher maintenance costs with regards to light repairs and 30-70-year-old astro clock replacements.


Before any work can take place the residents of the communal stair need to nominate a co-ordinator who will organise quotes and liaise with the contractor. Yes, I know this sounds good and in reality, it is usually a resident who independently takes on the task as the lighting is beginning to fail. So, having a good communication system is helpful. Landlords and letting agents are only too happy that someone is managing this type of work. So, contact and a good line of communication will make your task a lot easier. Downloading the AEW notification form will help and is a good start .

Existing stair lighting

The average stair lighting system has 30-40-year-old light fittings that were manufactured by the same company who supplied CEC. Solidly built but after 120,000 to 160,000 hours of use you can see why they are coming to the end of their service life.

Existing Astro clocks

The average astro clock is between 30-50 years old. These clocks were configured to the sunset and sunrise times for CEC. Ironically its the 30 year-old first generation digital clocks that are failing . Also running the lights 24/7 is not a good idea with regards to wear and tear on the light fittings and tubes. Plus you could be charged for the extra electricity if you do not fix the clock.

Electricity consumption

Currently CEC pay for the electricity as the majority of stairs have no electric meter as CEC negotiated a calculated cost with their supplier on the amount of lights via the CEC database to the sunset and sunrise times for the city of Edinburgh. This could change in the future and also just to highlight that some stairs have been adding outside lights to the system without CEC’s knowledge or consent. This action may cause CEC to insist a meter be fitted transferring the electric cost on to the residents so please be aware.

Maintaining the lights

I am asked if its ok just to replace the tube as and when required as per CEC system. A couple of things here fluorescent tubes fade as they age so in a sense CEC were maintaining poorly lit stairs plus the majority of coordinators who contact me is when several tubes are out. So, it is more cost effective to relamp the whole stair.

Faulty light fitting repairs are now free of charge

I carry spare parts for the light fittings and as from 1st of June 2018 repairs or replacement of faulty light fittings will now be free of charge  during a relamp. So, no surprise extra costs just a fix price and peace of mind.

Shades on the light fittings.

A lot of these are discoloured and dirty with age and during a relamp I wash and clean them to improve light output. Also as from the 1st of June 2018  any damaged shade will be replaced free of  charge during a relamp.

LED conversion

AEW complies with the CEC specification on led conversion and includes a new digital astro clock  housed in a Din box along with miniature circuit breakers. Some businesses are not upgrading the astro clock which can reduce the life of the lights. Also this may give the residents an additional bill in the future when the clock eventually fails.