Selecting Dependable Obstruction Lights

For a building’s safety and compliance, facility managers need to explore options for obstruction lighting.

By Dan Storto
From the August 2022 Issue

As a facility professional, the safety of occupants is a number one priority. While performing preventative maintenance and emergency disaster management planning are key safety tasks for many FM jobs, maintaining quality lighting for the interior and exteriors of buildings also plays a crucial role in protecting a building and its occupants. If you’re managing a tall structure, such as a condo building, factory, or skyscraper, or even a low-rise building near an airport or navigation facility, responsibilities may include ensuring lighting on the exterior or roof are in working order. Certain buildings are required by the FAA to include obstruction warning lighting to enable aircraft to see your structure in different conditions both by day and night. Because obstruction lighting systems require qualified regular maintenance to guarantee that facilities stay up-to-code, there are a few considerations to know about types of lighting to use and today’s options.

Obstruction Lights
(Photo: Adobe Stock / num)

For many lighting applications, the big question is whether to make the move to LED lighting, which has a long life, but can be far more expensive initially, and require new fixtures or future costly maintenance. A less expensive option with proven reliability is for your building to remain with tested and proved xenon flashlamps for obstruction lighting.

A Closer Look At Xenon Flashlamps

Xenon flashlamps provide numerous buildings and structures with reliable warning lighting that facility professionals can trust. The lights provide the necessary bright flashes on structures elevated from 150-250 feet to 500 feet and higher, depending on how close the structure is to an airfield. Some buildings may use xenon flashlamp high intensity strobes (also known as high intensity obstruction lighting), which are important for plane or helicopter pilots to be able to see these obstructions by day or night, in foggy, stormy, or other dark conditions.

While you may be able to change the lighting on some roof decks, other buildings may have lighting outfitted on a building’s sides or on a high tower installed on a roof, requiring a professional service to change out the lighting or perform maintenance, which is another reason choosing lighting that lasts long and operates in many conditions makes economic sense. Xenon flashlamps have been proven to last for years before requiring a change out. These lamps offer five to seven and a half million flashes, with some having a life of over 10 million. This makes lamp changeouts much less frequent and less expensive.

Beyond their long life and availability, xenon flashlamps provide existing buildings with a simple way to remain in compliance of FAA regulations. If a building decides to go with LED, it probably needs to change out all the fixtures, which will again require a professional technician who may need to access hard-to-reach building exteriors. Additionally, this work may require your building or structure to notify the FAA and receive approval of any maintenance work.

Lamps Built To Last

When deciding on new lamps for building obstruction lighting, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure you’ll acquire lamps that last for years and withstand all the elements. The manufacturer you choose should have a long history of stable production in the lighting industry. They should also perform quality assurance inspections before the lamps are shipped.

Building safety is certainly one of the most critical parts of facility management, and proper lighting in all areas is part of that goal. Quality xenon flashlamps is an easy, economical way for your building to remain up-to-code while providing years of maintenance-free, cost-effective obstruction lighting.


Storto is Vice President at Amglo, a leading manufacturer of specialty lamps. He can be contacted for any questions at

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Check out all the facility management topics covered in Facility Executive magazine’s Services & Maintenance articles.