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does emergency lighting require annual certification

Guest Mike Morris

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Guest Mike Morris

Hi Guys I really do hope you can help me out on this one.

I am the maintenance manager of a residential home and responsible for the emergency lighting within the building. I delegate a competent operative  on a monthly basis to complete a flicker test on our system and annually our fire alarm service contractor does a full test (3hr) and service and certifies. The reason it is done this way is that 5 years ago we had a visit from the local council on an inspection and they stated that we required the system to be serviced yearly and by a qualified engineer as previously we did it in house. obviously this comes at a cost to the home.

We have just had another visit from an independent health and safety officer who has stated that there is no legal requirement for us to bring in an outside engineer we can do it ourselves (competent Person ) in house and doesn't need certifying as long as a record is kept that it has been done.

My dilemma is that I cannot find any BS regulation or any other form of clarification on who can and who should complete this task.

So my question is :- is there a rule/regulation clearly stating either way that a qualified engineer is required yearly to service the lighting or the service can be completed by a competent person ? or in fact that the emergency lighting requires annual certification at all.

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The British Standard allows for the user to carry out all the routine tests and the installer should have instructed the user on handover accordingly.

"Routine inspections and tests
Emergency lighting systems should be inspected and tested at regular intervals in accordance with BS EN 50172.
NOTE 1 The testing may be performed manually, but if the responsible person is unable to ensure that this will be done, it is advisable to use an automatic test
system to perform the tests at the required intervals.
NOTE 2 Provision of a periodic inspection and test certificate is specified in BS EN 50172:2004, 6.2. An example of a suitable inspection and test certificate,
which can be used for all new installations, major alterations and existing premises, is given in Annex M.
Functional operation should be checked at least every month (see 13.1).
Testing for full rated duration should be performed on each luminaire at least annually. One of the following precautions should be taken during the full rated
duration tests:
a) perform the test while the building is empty or at times of minimal risk; or
b) only test alternate luminaires at any one time, so that the building has a charged luminaire next to the unit under test.
A visual inspection should be performed on each luminaire at least annually.
NOTE 3 These precautions are needed because as the full rated duration tests require discharging the batteries, the emergency lighting system is not fully
functional until the batteries have had time to recharge.
NOTE 4 The minimum duration periods of the system are given in 6.7.3.
In the event of failure of any parts of the system, a competent person should be used to repair the fault. Alternative safety procedures should be introduced
until the repair is complete and the system has been retested satisfactorily. The responsible person for the building should decide on the appropriate action to
be taken for their premises to maintain occupants’ safety during this time.
NOTE 5 Examples of possible actions include:
• warning occupants to be extra vigilant until the system is rectified;
• initiating extra safety patrols;
• issuing torches as a temporary measure;
• in a high risk situation, limiting use of all or part of the building.
The results of tests and any repair action should be recorded in the log book.
If safety patrols are likely to be needed to assist evacuation in the event of equipment failure, suitable rechargeable portable hand lamps should be
provided, such as those conforming to BS EN 60598-2-22:2014, Annex E.
NOTE 6 It is expected that advice on conducting routine tests will have been given to the user as part of the handover procedure given in 10.7.
NOTE 7 Routine inspections and tests are specified in BS EN 50172:2004, 7.2.
An automatic test system for battery powered systems is specified in BS EN 62034."

The user can complete the BS annual duration test certificate, a competent person is only required for repairs according to the BS

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