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Emergency light pollution in HMO

Guest Chai

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I'm desperately trying to find out where I can get advice on the required lighting for fire safety in my flat. Here's the situation. I live in a shared flat with seven separate lockable rooms. The main space is where the rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and the entrance and fire exit all lead from. There is no marking on or above the closet door which leads to the fire escape to indicate that it is a fire escape (this is incidental and doesn't concern me though I don't know it it goes against requirements) The large main space (with dining area and living area, couches TV etc.) has extremely bright LED arrays (I assume) under circular covers about 9 inch in diameter. There are a half dozen of these on the ceiling. They're illuminated all the time and it's infuriating not to be able to turn them off in the area where we dine and watch TV, in fact none of the residents use the space because of it's uninviting over-illumination. This is the largest space in the apartment, unused. So where does the balance between comfort of your home and the legal safety requirements that the property managers keep spouting at me every time I try to ask if we can have a switch to isolate these lights. Each light has a single green LED installed in it (is this the safety light which stays illuminated in the case of power failure? I'm not sure), which, in terms of the identical lights in the WC (which do have isolation switches) this green light is sufficient to illuminate the whole space. So do I have to simply put up with the owners/managers of the properties' interpretations of the legal safety requirements, or can I get information pertaining to the absolute minimum illumination requirements for fire safety regulations in the UK (London) and request that these main lights can be isolated by us residents in the flat for comfort and practical reasons? Thanks for taking time to read my rather convoluted problem. Chai

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Emergency escape lighting is a self-descriptive term and is lighting for an emergency situation when the main power supply fails. The loss of mains electricity could be the result of a fire or a power cut and the normal lighting supplies fail. This may lead to sudden darkness and a possible danger to the occupants, either through physical danger or panic. Emergency escape lighting is normally required to operate fully automatically and give illumination of a sufficiently high level to enable persons of all ages to evacuate the premises safely. The British Standard provides the emergency lighting designer with laid down guide lines which form the general basis for the designer to work to. British Standard BS 5266: Part 1 recommends the types and duration of emergency lighting systems relating to each category of premise it should be remembered that the standards are minimum safe standards for the types of premises and that a higher standard may be needed for a particular installation.

BS 5266 recommends the provision of a horizontal illumination at floor level on the centre line of a defined escape route (permanently unobstructed) not less than 0.2 lux and 0.5 lux minimum for anti-panic areas to exclude 0.5 metre border around the room. In addition, for escape routes of up to 2 m wide, 50% of the route width should be lit to a minimum of 0.1 lux. Wider escape routes can be treated as a number of 2 m wide bands. The actual degree of illumination should be closely related to the nature of both the premises and its occupants with special consideration being given to old person's homes, hospitals, crowded areas such as pubs, discos and supermarkets, and to whether or not the premises are residential.

The first question I would ask is EEL required, which may not if sufficient borrowed light is available from outside the premises and there are sufficient windows. If EEL is required then a non-maintained system should be installed not a maintained system which you seem to have. (Described above) Also the level of illumination appears to be excessive considering the recommendations of BS 5266. I cannot be definitive without much more information and the system you have fully explained.

The green lights are most probably the LEDS that indicate the batteries are charging.



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