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Guest PeterG

Do I really need emergency lighting?

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Guest PeterG

Good morning, I've been asked to prove within legislation that we need emergency lighting in various types of sites that we have. Mainly large convenience stores and small supermarkets, but also, funeral homes, travel agencies etc. Building regs I presume state the need in New Builds, (Please direct me and I need to know how these and other regs determine the NEED. We of course do have emergency lighting in 99.9% of sites. I am a qualified emergency lighting designer but this was some years ago. So I am conversant with BS5266 and how to design a system. BUT I need to be able to demonstrate the NEED withing legislation. Can you please direct, regarding new and existing sites.

Many thanks.

Peter

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Hi Peter

Funny, we just published an article this morning. Here an extract:

'The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) 2005, which came into force in October 2006, charges the responsible person in control of non-domestic premises and the common areas of a House in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) with the safety of everyone in the building, whether working, visiting or living there. This duty of care includes the provision of emergency lighting. Article 14 (2) (h) of the RRFSO states:

“Emergency routes and exits requiring illumination must be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting”.

Emergency lighting is part of the fire safety provision of a building and cannot be ignored: as noted by the Industry Committee for Emergency Lighting (ICEL), which is the foremost UK authority on emergency lighting and provides third party accreditation for components and products for emergency light fittings under the auspices of the Lighting Industry Association (LIA):

“The legal requirement is that non-domestic buildings must be safe at all times, even if mains power failure occurs. Therefore, nearly all such buildings must have emergency lighting fitted”. '

I hope this helps

Harry

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I would suggest you check up on the appropriate DCLG guidance where you will find information on the need for emergency escape lighting. http://www.firesafe....ety-order-2005/

Quote from Offices and Shops guide.

The primary purpose of emergency escape lighting is to illuminate escape routes but it also illuminates other safety equipment.

The size and type of your premises and the risk to the occupants will determine the complexity of the emergency escape lighting required.

Borrowed lighting may be suitable in small premises where the light is from a dependable source, e.g. street lamps, and it will adequately illuminate escape routes.

Where borrowed lighting is not suitable, then a number of torches, in strategic positions, can be considered. Single ‘stand-alone’ escape lighting units may be sufficient in small premises and these can sometimes be combined with exit or directional signs (Figure 54).

The level of general illumination should not be significantly reduced by the sign.

In larger more complex premises a more comprehensive system of fixed automatic escape lighting is likely to be needed. This will be particularly true in premises with extensive basements or where there are significant numbers of staff or members of the public.

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Guest Mallondav

Hi there.
I live in a block of 9 flats built in 1980.

The fire risk assessment says that we should have emergency lighting as there is no borrowed light from the streets.
Obviously EL (emergency lighting) has to be wired in some way to the mains so that it knows that the mains power is lost and EL can then operate from its standby battery power.
Basically lots of wires up and down the 3 storey building?
Are there any more modern solutions that do not require as much re-wiring?

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Normally emergency lights are fed from the existing lighting circuit*, (Often the nearest light) so no need for (as you put it) "lots of wires up and down the 3 storey building"

* This does depend on how your current lighting is actually wired.

If its not possible, you would only need to have one cable running from the consumers unit to the first emergency light, then daisy chained from there. Which is still not "lots of wires up and down the 3 storey building"

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Guest MohVach

within in a school, where should a non-illuminated fire exit sign be used. Is there a requirement for non-illuminated or could they all be illuminated?

Thanks

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Fire exit signs are essential to indicate the escape routes of a building. All fire exit signs must have appropriate lighting – this can either be internal lighting i.e. self contained unit, or lighting cast off it from emergency light fittings in the vicinity. Photoluminescent fire exit signs can be used but they must only be installed in areas where there is usually light, as the signs will not illuminate if they have not been “charged” in a room that is usually left dark.

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Guest Andrew

Hi, is there a legal requirement that primary schools should have emergency lighting installed. I'm a governor at a primary school and would appreciate your reply.

Many thanks

Andrew

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Guest Anon

The schools one is quite an anomaly. Having been a surveyor for schools I had asked the question of people in higher authority and always received the same response, which was. As a school is only occupied during the hours of daylight, emergency lighting is not therefore required. However, should the school be used out of hours, in the hall for example, then emergency lighting should be installed in the hall and the exit routes from it.

Personally I would install to a minimum of fire L3 and that is escape routes, unless of course rooms adjacent to the escape routes may cause issues and then it would be L2.

If money is no object, cover everything! As other posters have stated though, it is the responsibility of the RP to ensure there is sufficient illumination in the event of a power failure to exit the building.

As well as the installation of, the testing of is another that falls by the wayside.

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Personally I would install to a minimum of fire L3 and that is escape routes, unless of course rooms adjacent to the escape routes may cause issues and then it would be L2.

Point of information what has category L3 and L2 got to do with emergency escape lighting?

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Guest Wilf

We have emergency lighting and illuminated signs above the fire exit doors.

I am being asked to put illuminated signs in toilets and windowless storerooms. Most of the storeroom doors have a glass panel to allow light natural light from within the warehouse but obiviously there is a lack of it at night time.

Do i need illuminated signs in these areas.

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Most toilets and store rooms only have one entrance, so why do you need to have a sign to show you which way to escape but you may need emergency lighting if the normal lighting system should fail in a fire and there is insufficient borrowed light to find your way out.

The best test is, when the building is empty at night, is to isolate the mains electrical intake and see if there is sufficient light so you can find your way out of the building safely if there isn't then you need emergency lighting.

You may require fire exit signs to show you a route out of the building you are not familiar with and you may need emergency lighting if there is sufficient light so you can find your way out of the building safely. You can combine them if you chose (illuminated exit signs) or keep them separate which in most cases it is the best option except where the normal lighting is switch off during the time the premises is occupied like cinemas and theatres.

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Guest Jason Hawes

Hi

we run a small business with office space warehouse space and a small workshop , total sqft approx 6000 , we currently rent the property

the building is probably 50yrs or so old so not sure what building regs etc apply to it but we suffered a fire recently and lost half the building ( the workshop and warehouse) , the main structure survived but some of the roof was replaced and all the internal walls and wiring etc were gutted and ripped out

so to all intents and purpose that half of the building is being rewired completely , the electrician behind the job quoted for all new wiring etc as you do and included emergency lighting and fire alarm so he could fully sign the job off

however he has been told by the landlord to only put the building back to how it was so no emergency lighting or fire alarm , this may be becuase the insurers refused to pay for these 'upgrades' we dont know

my question is am i legally required to have emergency lighting ? if so where do i find out the requirements so i can at least meet the minimum requirement ? if the building is being rewired and its a legal requirement who is liable , the insurers as they are now covering the job , the landlord as he should not have a commercail property for rent without the required lighting in place or us as the tenants responsible for our employees

any help appreciated

thankyou

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You do require a fire alarm and emergency exit lighting, if required, if the building is subject to the Building Regulations. The guidance can be found in Approved Document Part B Fire Safety Vol 2 at http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/buildingregulations/approveddocuments/partb/bcapproveddocumentsb/

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Guest

Related to this , i cant seem to find definitive guidance on the recommendations for e lighting for premises not routinely occupied in hours of darkness - ie small factories / workshops that close at 4.30pm (for example) .  Aprreciating that darkness can be from 3 pm in winter  months, would it be deemed reasonable to have  no provision to cover the 3pm - 4.30 hours. I am talking ground floor occupied , small units here with less than  staff . Any thoughts.?

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If a premises is occupied during a time when it is possible the normal lighting could fail as the result of a fire, plunging the premises in darkness and relevant person cannot find their way out of the building safely then you need emergency escape lighting (EEL). The length of time this could happen is irrelevant and in your case you could need EEL, this will depend if there is borrowed light outside that would illuminate inside the premises allowing the relevant person to escape safely.

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The schools one is quite an anomaly. Having been a surveyor for schools I had asked the question of people in higher authority and always received the same response, which was. As a school is only occupied during the hours of daylight, emergency lighting is not therefore required. However, should the school be used out of hours, in the hall for example, then emergency lighting should be installed in the hall and the exit routes from it.

 

I strongly disagree with this view. Virtually all Schools have open evenings and some catering for older kids will have evening productions and events. Whilst these events may be very occasional - which of course lowers the risk - the vulnerability of large groups of schoolchildren surely make EL a must for 99.9% of educational premises.

Then there's the cleaners, teachers and assistants working late (or early!) and perhaps maintenance staff/contractors - all of which are relevant persons.

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Guest Matt Elec

Yes schools need emergency lightning under building regulations part B, all the schools I've worked on have been defined as places of assembly and recreation by the building control officer on the project, (multiple different projects from primary schools to secondary and collages with multiple different building control officers) and under table 9 reg 5.36 of part B v2, you will find it states "All escape routes, and accommodation"

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Existing schools that are older builds may not have emergency lighting as it wasn't required at the time.Schools used to be exempt from Building Regulations and their own guidance (BB7) didn't usually require it using the then accepted principle of daytime usage with borrowed natural light. Often only the main hall would have emergency lighting because it was used for performance, music, etc and required a license from the local council (in the decades prior to 2006 licenses could set fire safety requirements).

Building Regulations only apply to new builds or refurbishments/alterations. An existing unaltered school would determine it's lighting requirements under a Fire Risk Assessment. The assessment would probably indicate retrofitting of at least some emergency lighting as schools are often now used for a range of activities including evening usage, including by third parties and also early mornings (breakfast clubs) and the current trend is to rely less on borrowed light generally

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Guest 1990s 4 flat

Hi there, we live in a 4 story, 4 flat residential building with a communal stairwell/escape route.  We have recently had an inspection by an electrician and he says our lights no longer meet the requirements.  Do residential buildings need to have their emergency lights updated to meet new regulations?  His view is that the existing "normal" lights on the return of the stairs should also be emergency lights, at present we have emergency lights on every leve, but not on the return, there are approx 10 steps on the stair case, a return, and a further 4 steps to the top of each level.  

There is also some degree of borrowed light  from outside street lights and there is plenty of light IMHO without turning the retun lights into emergency  lights.

 

 

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As the Responsible Person reviewed fire risk assessment and decided the emergency lighting needs modifying or is it just the opinion of the electrician. If it is the RP then you need to discuss it with the RP, if it is only the electrician then it sounds he/she is touting for business. There has been a revision of BS 5266.1 2016 but you do not need to upgrade to the latest standard unless necessary.

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Guest Guest

Is it a legal requirement to have emergency lighting in a vacant commercial property?  if already installed is the owner compelled to carry out the usual testing?

 

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vacant commercial property England or Wales is subject to The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and the owner or his representative will be the Responsible Person. The RP will be required to conduct a fire risk assessment and if this FRA decides emergence lighting is required, then it needs installing, if already installed, then it will need maintaining. 

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