A project manager’s journey through the various stages of delivering Edinburgh’s project to install a street lighting central management system and new energy efficient street lights across the city.

The project (or EESLP) consists of the design, supply and installation of approximately 49,557 energy efficient street lighting luminaires including disposal of redundant lanterns (except heritage/conservation lanterns which will be designed and supplied by the Employer, approximately 4,483 but installed by the Contractor); installation of approximately 63,765 nodes/telecells (approximately 54,040 on new luminaires and retrofit approximately 9,725 on existing luminaires, including 7-pin NEMA sockets), nodes supplied by the Employer; installation of new columns as required by design and replacement of damaged columns, approximately 1,600 and sundry items and small repairs to facilitate the installation.

Speaker: Jack Keillor BSc MSc MRICS MAPM, Associate Director at Currie & Brown

Hosts: Ray Clarkson, Chair and Kevin Ramsay IEng MILP, Honorary Secretary for ILP Scotland



If you don’t cover it later, do you have part night dimming as part of this project?

No, we don’t have part night dimming as part of the project.
As a project manager, what is the most interesting thing you learned about street lighting?As a project manager I found the design/structure of the contract the most interesting, trying to find a contractual solution that would deliver the project which covered all streets, paths, closes and some parks across an entire city. I’ve also learnt that street lighting is a very emotive subject!
How did you differentiate quality from compliance with specification?We asked bidders to design, submit and present a trial area to demonstrate the quality of the design, this was marked forming part of the quality score. Compliance with specification is drafted into the Contract and the Contractor’s supervisor is checking this as is the project’s NEC Supervisor and the client’s team.
Has the introduction of CMS presented any issues in terms of demands on staff time created by the management of the system?  Yes, we had not initially anticipated the requirement for a specific role to manage the data transfer but following our visits to other Council’s we recognised this need therefore we made arrangements to have somebody in place to manage the data interface.
Implementing CMS can be complicated, how did you manage the transfer of essential data from site to office and into the associated inventory and CMS software?The Contractor scans in the barcode of the telecell at time of installation along with lantern information. This is uploaded automatically to the inventory system, which is the master source of all data. There is an electronic data transfer between inventory and CMS and our Technical Coordinator is there accepting information into both systems and check they corollate.
What degree of flexibility was there in the plan to accommodate political concerns and priorities contrary to the agreed plan?We put forward the proposed roll-out plan along with the rationale which justified the proposal. Any political pressure quickly evaporated because our reasoning made sense, it had been thought through and we were able to demonstrate that within the rationale.
How were design iterations dealt with? How were comments accommodated (or not) in the design process?We used an electronic document/contract management tool (Asite) which allowed both the Contractor’s designer and the Council’s designers ready access to all designs. Acceptance of the design was not completed until the summary table for each submission had dates completed, this sheet also noted comments between parties. We also had a design document which listed various scenarios and what was expected in each.
How did you have develop a ‘buildability’ review into the design delivery?Part of the Contractor’s package was to complete a survey which identified any risks which would affect installation, these were then considered and the appropriate solution incorporated into the installation programme.
How did you achieve due diligence regarding the inventory and asset condition?Part of the Contractor’s package was to complete a survey which identified shortcomings in the inventory and any concerns with the asset condition. The Contractor’s designers used the survey information to design and the Council was able to deal with any concerns with the condition of assets prior to the Contractor commencing in that Section (Ward).

Who was the final design arbiter between design and Standards compliance?

The Client.

Was there a lighting design carried out for all locations or did you use “standard” designs for typical streets with typical column spacings?

We carried out lighting designs for all locations.
Did you have to take on extra staff to deal with the customer service side of the project?Within the original project organogram, we anticipated there would be significant correspondence and that would be a key part of the Project Coordinator’s role but we have had to employ another individual over the last few months to cope with the customer services side of things, this was also due to many foliage issues, however, come March we will revert back to the original team numbers.
How did you deal with the coms during Covid lockdown and no none essential office working? How did you get the post; did this affect your stats etc and the project delivery?During lockdown the project stopped and the correspondence into the email did reduce but still needed to be managed. On the whole people accepted the situation and just acknowledging why they were writing and that we would get to their issue was sufficient. The client-side team are all working from home and that change has not created any reduction in service provision nor quality. Ultimately the project was delayed by 14 weeks and the project end date will be pushed back by 14 weeks.

How much of a design ‘Bank’ do you consider is necessary to take account of delivery difficulties?

I would suggest 3 months minimum but, given current uncertainty with deliveries depending upon where lanterns are coming from, I’d suggest longer.

Have you assessed the suitability of the lighting columns to ensure that the column will last the lifetime of the new luminaire, i.e., did you undertake structural column testing across the full inventory prior to the procurement, or has any requirement been included in the contract that the Contractor undertake this? (Example- I reported a number of heavily corroded columns close to home approx. 10 years ago,  These had LED luminaires fitted approx. 5 years ago.  I then reported last year that they were now holed at base, and they have now been replaced.

A separate contract was already underway to carry out structural testing before the EESLP commenced.
£24m, what is the payback on that investment.I don’t have the current forecast which will take into account the most recent increases in energy costs but at the time the contract was approved (2017/18) we were looking at an 11 year payback.
Why was NEC3 selected over NEC4?Timing, we started designing the EESLP Contract in early 2017 and when to market in August/September 2017. NEC4 was announced in March 2017 and only become available in July 2017.

What monitoring arrangements are in place, post installation, to ensure the lighting design is fully compliant, and are previous installations being revisited?

We have incorporated a 10% lighting check on all new installation and thus far the checks have proved compliance. Previous installations are only visited to fit the telecell to allow communication with the CMS.

Was a design carried out for each street, or just samples?

We carried out lighting designs for all locations.
If you were doing this again, how would the project execution plan differ?I’d still use the Project Execution Plan to sculpt the delivery for the project, the roll-out programme, the staffing requirements etc. What I’d possibly change is some of the responsibilities from Client-led to Contractor-led.

What happened to all the copper cable that came back? Also, all the aluminium from the lanterns.

The Contractor is responsible for recycling all lanterns and does so through their waste provider.

If you were concerned regarding inventory how can you accurately calculate energy savings?

You have to start somewhere and using the inventory as it stood was the only way to progress.

How did you select/decide what lantern(s) to use or was this left to the Contractor? Was lantern selection based purely on price or price /quality and what were the quality indicators – purely spec. or including other factors?

The Contractor had to make that assessment to find the best energy efficient lantern at the optimal price as part of their tender  submission so they had to balance energy with price to find the best/winning solution.

What did the survey capture?
Survey captured: inventory changes; visible asset condition issues; foliage; risks; private property; access issues.
What was the average size of a Design Pkg and what was the period of acceptance?We tried to break them down to a couple of hundred per package up to 500 maximum. This made checking a lot simpler, however, we did have some that covered over 1,000 lights but this slowed the acceptance process. Conversely some design packages only covered say 20 strong because it was a small area and made no sense to incorporate with an adjacent area. In short it really depends on the geography of the area and how easy it is to split up into packages. We also used the streetlighting reference ID as part of the drawing references making it easier to find designs on the electronic system. We had 4 weeks for design acceptance.
Have Covid measures affected the project, i.e., road narrowing for column access? impacted the delivery? If so is there a contingency?The main COVID-19-related issues thus far are: delays due to lockdown; management of staff following instructions to self-isolate; limited number of issues due to access whereby pavements have been temporarily widened into the road to cope with social distancing. The project has been re-classified as essential, with more people out walking locally it is more important now to ensure the roads are lit.

Are other sensors being deployed as part of the CMS system? Are other council departments involved/aware with this to make use of the CMS?

The CMS is only hosting the streetlighting telecells, other departments are aware of the system and its potential but no decisions yet.

How many complaints about the new lighting were received and have all complaints from residents been resolved?

I couldn’t give you a number of complaints but we’ve had a number. Most are seeking a service and I believe all, barring any current issues, have been resolved or an explanation provided.

Looking from afar, without any particular knowledge, the energy saving percentage looks like it could have been squeezed further, so did you take some increased lighting levels as part of the project?

Yes, we have used increased lighting classification following feedback from the trial project carried out in 2014/15.