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Emergency lighting hell

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I am in the process of opening a bed and breakfast, converting a single storey cottage, into two separate rooms.

Both rooms are completely open plan, measuring apx 300 square foot each, with just one entrance and exit - with the beds located less than 1.3 meters from the entrance (patios doors) which exit into my large drive way. The property has been completely renovated with interlinked smoke alarms etc. We have been told by building regs that we needed emergency lighting as people would be 'unfamiliar' with the room, and the electrician has installed a bright green LED light in both the rooms, which stays green and turns white if the power fails. 

We were told that the light might be a bit annoying, but when we went to check it for the first time last night after it got dark-(we are not yet open) the light is extremely bright, piercing in fact, and it bathes the ENTIRE bedroom area in a green glow even though the LED is located at the other end of the room. Essentially the whole room is illuminated, and if you stand outside in the car park area the window also glows green from the outside! The glow from the window could also be seen from our bedroom window in the main house when we went to bed, some 15-20 meters away.

There is no question that this lighting will draw complaints from guests and will certainly disturb sleep. In all the hotels we have stayed in, we have never seen anything like this before! The light is so bright. 

We wonder what our options are for challenging this situation, could consideration be given to torches etc, that can be plugged into the wall next to the beds. It is a single room - with one exit and entrance. Certainly, looking at HMV gov risk assessment, the premises (3.4.4) would be described as simple, (not even over two floors), what are our other options as the electrician is adament the lights have to stay??

Are there emergency lights that are less bright, are there lights that do not emit a bright glow but turn on in an emergency ? 

Help is much appreciated 



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It's very unusual to need emergency lighting in the actual bedrooms you will not find it required in any of the guidance or standard for emergency lighting or the approved documents to the Building Regulations. You would normally only require it on escape routes.

I'd challenge Building Control as you don't see hotel bedrooms in new builds with emergency lighting!

Plug in Combined nightlight/torches that illuminate on mains failure and either motion detection/darkness (switchable) are widely available and would be more sensible.

If necessary leave them there, get signed off, then the Fire Safety Order takes over from Building Regulations, do an FRA, determine they aren't needed, take them out and if appropriate put the plug in torches in place - would be a quicker way around it!

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  • 7 months later...

I'm having a similar issue. I'm working on a barn converted into a 4 bedroom self-catering holiday let. The 3 downstairs bedrooms have emergency exit doors leading to the outside with an emergency exit light unit above them - each light has a single bright green LED that is on all the time and a strip of white LEDs which I believe come on when the fire alarm is activated. At night the bedrooms glow green, all night, and it's horrendously bright in the smallest room which is only 2m x 3m big. I know that I wouldn't be able to sleep in a room like that, and if I was I would complain, ask to be moved or tape something over the light to hide it - this is not what we want for our paying guests.

Is the green LED simply an indication that the light unit is working? Or is it meant to be showing the location of the emergency exit in lieu of the alarm being triggered and the white LEDs coming on? Are we allowed to partially cover or dim the green LED so it is still visible but doesn't fill the whole room with horrible bright light?

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The lighting will come on upon power failure not alarm activation. You don't normally have to put emergency lighting in bedrooms, obviously someone has applied the recommendations prescriptively even though there is flexibility with mitigation. These doors are unlikely to even need to be designated fire exits based on the size and layout of the premises so wouldn't need the lighting at all. A fire risk assessment could look at the situation and decide if they need to be actually retained.

The green light is to show that the fitting is receiving mains power and charging (but does not guarantee it will work hence the maintenance regime for the lighting).

As long as you aren't obstructing the light output of the unit I can't see any reason why dimming the green LED would be an issue.

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Thank you AnthonyB.

The building was originally meant to accommodate groups of children for educational trips and the fire safety precautions have been followed to the extreme. There are four exit doors in the main living area, one door in each of the 3 downstairs bedrooms and there are emergency exit signs/lights everywhere - whole building glows green inside and outside!  It is now going to be used for a general holiday rental so we are having to work around the features designed for the original usage.

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I'd be loathe to reduce the existing cover as it's handy to have - power failures or the consumer unit tripping (say if a bulb blows) are more common than fires so extra EL is always handy.

I'd try to dim the LED in some way. If they are illuminated emergency exit signs in the bedrooms not emergency light fittings I may be tempted to remove those if I can't dim the glow enough

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You could try a piece of obscure plastic over the LED which would reduce the glow considerable but would still visible which is all that is needed.

Recently I purchased a automatic wireless light switch which had a red and green indicator and was covered by the cover with no vision holes, but it still allowed you to see the indicators through the plastic cover. 

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  • 1 year later...

Hi there. Hopefully someone can help me. 

We live in a quiet residential area and have noticed the green led lights appearing above the doors of houses, including the property next door.  These lights immediately identify the properties as either flats, businesses or care homes. 

To the rear of our property is a large home being used as a Family Centre that is unoccupied at night.  It has recently installed a fire system with green led lights in a first floor office and by the rear fire escape. These lights are painfully bright, causing us to actually wince when they catch our eye despite our house being at least 50ft away.  In addition to these green lights is a strip of white led external lights by the fire escape which is shining 24 hours a day and illuminates the first floor and conservatory in our home. 

Is there official guidance regarding these types of lights in residential areas, in particular to the brightness levels?  Any advice would be gratefully received. 


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The green lights are tiny little LEDs in the emergency light fittings indicating a mains supply is entering the unit's battery charger. They are brighter than the red LEDs that used to be used for the same purpose in the past, but it's an integral part of the fitting and not optional.

The external lights are 'maintained' emergency light units (i.e. always lit even if the mains supply is working) and I would assume that they have been installed to ensure the stair is lit for use in an emergency without having to mess around looking for a light switch.

Minimum light levels are given in BS5266-1 and for escape routes would usually be 1 lux along the centre line of the route (2.5lux if elderly, infirm or otherwise needing a higher light level)

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