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Escape Lighting Not Required in 2-Storey Flats

Brad Parker

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I have been advised, by a Senior Property Manager, the following “Emergency lighting is only required for buildings larger than two storeys.  Smaller buildings do not require emergency lighting if the escape route is short and ‘borrowed’ lighting is shining into the building from the outside”. 

I have reviewed The Building Regs 2010 Approved Doc B V2 and in Table 9 (page 60) point 1 states - Residential _ all common escape routes, except in 2-storey flats. 

Can anyone advise reference ‘except in 2-storey flats’.  Is this terminology for a maisonette? i.e main front door – open into a lobby whereby the ‘old lounge door’ is now a front door (flat 1) – stairs directly ahead – top of stairs, another flat door (flat 2).


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It is usually in reference to purpose built blocks of flats consisting of two communal floors - e.g. ground floor with flats off it and first floor with flats off it; or where the ground floor is a separate car park level a first floor with flats off and a second with flats off. Maisonettes are what is now termed as Duplex flats where each flat has two floors with it's own internal staircase.

Building Regulation compliance isn't a 100% guarantee of Fire Safety compliance and the current guidance for purpose built flats recommends that EL should be considered even in 2 storey blocks- after all the risks from a dark stairway don't vanish just because it's a single flight....


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In most cases ADB is for new build and Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats is for existing blocks of flats.

In FIRE SAFETY Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing which is the guidance for existing housing, which states in buildings of up to two storeys conventional lighting arrangements, will usually be adequate, subject to the above conditions.

The subject to the above condition is "Some buildings will, in addition, require emergency escape lighting in the escape route. These will include:

• large buildings with long escape routes;

• buildings with a complex layout;

buildings with no natural or borrowed lighting along the escape route; and

• buildings with vulnerable occupiers or those posing a specific risk."


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Guest Frank J

I own a two storey building with 4 ground floor studio flats and 4 first floor built in the 1980's

Do I need to put a FD30 door on each flat or just replace with a conventional UPVC type door. I appreciate that it would be good practise to do so but is it a legal requirement ?

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  • 7 months later...
Guest Charles A

I live in block of flats

ground floor has 1 flat , first floor has 1 flat & the second floor has 1 flat

the Managing agent installed pushbutton light switches for the lights in the communal areas so at night there is no light  and there is no emergency facility on this 

and I think there should be, as you cannot be expected when exiting a buildings filling with smoke to find the light switches 

can somebody tell me

A.  if the block counts as a three story block

B.   what agency to contact to enforce this with the with the managing agents 

location: essex uk


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Emergency lights do not come on when smoke is present, they only come on when the lighting supply fails.

The legal requirement is that non domestic premises must be safe at all times, the premises should have had a fire risk assessment which also covers emergency lighting requirements.

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