If a lighting installation is not properly maintained, it will deteriorate to the point where it ceases to provide the visual conditions required. Dirt build-up on the light-emitting and transmitting surfaces of a luminaire will mean that light is obstructed and it will cease to perform as intended; thus, energy and money will be wasted. Depreciation of the lamp can also occur. Although the lamp remains lit, its light output may deteriorate to below acceptable levels. If the installation is not maintained properly by ensuring that failed lamps are replaced promptly by the correct type and colour, or that damaged or defective luminaires are repaired or replaced, then the whole appearance will be one of neglect which could affect the performance of the department.
But lighting maintenance does not only apply to the installation; it also applies to the cleanliness of the internal building surfaces, since in most lighting situations they will act as light reflectors. If they become dirty and lose their original reflectance value, some of the reflected light will be lost. Also, a poor level of decoration maintenance is likely to suggest a poor level of care and could have an effect on performance.
All lighting equipment will need to be cleaned regularly and at least once a year, but in some cases for purposes of hygiene this may need to be more frequent. To enable this to happen with the minimum of difficulty, it should be possible to reach the lighting equipment easily and safely with whatever equipment is necessary. But this must be considered at the design stage – too often luminaires are positioned in locations that are difficult to access and hence they are not maintained. If it is necessary to position a luminaire in a location that is difficult to reach, consider extra long-life lamps and totally enclosed luminaires.
The hospital will need to be advised about a maintenance programme, which should be supplied by the designer. They will need advice about lamp replacement and whether lamps should be replaced as they fail or whether there should be a group lamp replacement programme. Group replacement can be a cost-effective approach where there are a large number of similar fittings. It can reduce labour costs and be carried out, along with cleaning, at a time to minimise potential disruption to hospital staff and patients.
It ensures that lamps that have depreciated to beyond their useful working life are replaced with new ones. In any case, the hospital will also need to be advised about stocking replacement lamps and any other replacement components and suppliers.
Lamps need to be disposed of with care, either to landfill sites or be recycled (not incinerated). Large quantities of fluorescent or other mercurylamps should be sent to specially licensed landfill sites or be recycled.
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