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Self-test lighting on multiple circuits: testing requirements


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I am looking for some help regarding an emergency lighting system for the property in which I live.

The property consists of:

  • 5 self contained flats over 5 floors of a converted period building
  • 4 of which share a communal main entrance and hallway (including stairwell) leading to the individual flat entrances
  • 1 flat has its own external main entrance (basement flat) and does not share any of the communal space

A fire safety inspection was undertaken which identified the property as an HMO; one request of the fire safety report is for an emergency lighting system to be installed.

The property is listed, therefore approval for any modification needs to be sought from the council. For this reason we are trying to minimise the impact to the building and its historic features.

Our current lighting consists of:

  • Individual lighting units on each floor of the communal hallway
  • Each lighting unit is powered by a separate circuit, fed from the light's adjacent flat
  • The lighting units react to movement to become illuminated for day-to-day use

The system we wish to install consists of:

  • Directly replacing existing units i.e. retaining the separate power circuits for each light fed from the adjacent flats
  • Replacement units will include:
    • 3 hour battery backed emergency lighting
    • Switchable emergency lighting:
      • Permanent live to charge battery and indicate failure of local circuit (adjacent flat) or entire building power, resulting in illumination
      • Switchable circuit to provide motion based illumination for everyday use
    • Self-test feature:
      • Monthly test Duration - 2 minutes - Tests on battery, inverter and lamp
      • Six monthly test Duration - 1 hour - Tests on battery capacity, inverter and lamp
      • Annual test Duration - 3 hours - Tests on battery capacity, inverter and lamp

FYI: The lighting unit is similar to this but with LED lighting: http://www.safelincs.co.uk/decorative-slimline-circular-emergency-bulkhead-light-with-self-test-xl-st/

The questions I have are as follows:

  • Each unit is powered by a separate circuit which runs from its adjacent flat; if the power fails in a single flat the related emergency lighting will illuminate while other lighting units will remain unlit. Is this OK?
  • There are no switches available to switch off each light i.e. we cannot easily cut power to the permanent supply for each unit. The self test feature will perform monthly, six monthly and annual automated tests without intervention. Is this sufficient?
  • Each flat has its own fuse board, residents in each flat will be able to cut power to their local light via the fuse board causing the single light to illuminate. Is this OK?

Any help would be gratefully received.

Thanks in advance!





Edited by Dean
Added additional question
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I believe your proposals are fully acceptable and you will not have to do any manual tests as the self test facility is fully automatic and all you will need to do is record the six monthly and annually test in your log book.

Check ou http://www.safelincs.co.uk/emergency-lighting-guide/ and take advantage of theit reminder service.

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Thank you for responding, Tom. I see you are very active on this forum and always provide sound advice, I am glad you have taken the time to review my questions.

I expected the automated system to fulfil the test requirements, I suppose my concerns were more with the method of supplying permanent power to each light and the fact that tenants in each flat could kill the power to the associated light by playing with their fuse box 

In reality, they would not play around with fuse boxes to intentionally kill the power to a light and in any case we would be made aware of this by the indicators on the light itself. However, I wondered if regulations state that this should not be possible.

I have a follow on question which I hope you can help with.

I believe an emergency lighting system must receive a number of certifications to ensure it is compliant:

  • Installation quality
  • Photometric performance
  • Declaration of satisfactory test of operation

I believe the electrician performing the installation should supply evidence of the installation quality, they should also provide instructions on how to test the system.

However, the system has been designed by myself based on advice from various electricians, suppliers of emergency lighting and through my own learning using on-line resources.

I am unable to provide evidence of compliance with light levels, nor am I able to confirm that the system will comply with all requirements imposed by the various regulations. Therefore, I would assume I need to hire a professional to perform such work.

Apologies for my ignorance, but do you have any advice on locating a professional who may review the design, check it ticks all the right boxes and also test the system for photometric performance?

Additionally, are you aware of any other certificates or evidence we must collate?


Thanks again for your time.

Edited by Dean
Updated detail on concerns for permanent live feed
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What you are proposing I believe would be acceptable providing it provides the correct level of illumination for the emergency escape route. If the supply to the emergency lighting luminaire, is part of of a circuit providing lighting the the flat, then it is unlikely to be left isolated for very long,if the circuit breaker should trip. A problem could be if a flat is left empty and mains supply is switch off.

If you require Emergency Lighting you should use a BAFE Emergency Lighting SP203-4 registered company. Search for one using internet and ensure that they are certified in the area that you require,System Design, Installation, Commissioning and Handover/Maintenance. 

Because you are not qualified you should employ a qualified SP203-4 person and instruct him/her of your proposals and if you have missed anything he/she would be able to discuss it with you.


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With self testing systems all we look for for compliance is monthly inspection of the testing lights to identify faulted units - you can't record a traditional annual drain as often the fittings test at different times.

Whilst the lack of a common lighting circuit is a problem, your set up would still work on local circuit failure as per the BS so should suffice.

If you install the fittings off the tenant's lighting circuit as per the BS it shouldn't be turned off for any length of time and your monthly check would reveal a unit with no power.

Long term vacant flats could be an issue as stated.

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