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Emergency Lighting - Annual Test


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I am the resident of a small residential development and I also look after the communal areas on behalf of the owners - i.e. I look after the management company.

Last year, an electrician installed new LED emergency lamps across the our development (which is comprised of three small blocks). These replaced a series of old fluorescent emergency lamps. He also installed a test switch in each area.

I’ve been running and recording the required monthly checks as required and we have just reached our 12 month anniversary of the new lamps, so the annual test is now due. I have read through this forum several times, and I still cannot seem to understand whether we definitely need a professional organisation to carry out the three hour test or whether I can do it myself? Of course, if there are any faults found over the course of the annual test then I would bring-in the electrician to make the necessary adjustments and repairs.

Please can you advise me whether I am able to carry out the annual test myself without professional intervention?

Additionally, we have a smoke ventilation system (AOV) in the each of the three small blocks. I check that the vent opens and closes via the manual switch every month, at the same time I test the emergency lights, but I presume I need to test the smoke sensor on an annual basis using a smoke generating machine. I cannot find any information about the formal necessary testing of this system, so would be grateful if somebody can guide me towards the necessary legislation.

Thank you, in advance, for any help you can offer with these matters.


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The smoke ventilation system needs to be tested annually by a competent person as per Article 17 of the fire safety order so it is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. There is a lot more to this than just testing it operates and requires a specialist contractor (many electricians and fire alarm companies don't maintain them properly either, a smoke vent specialist is recommended)

The same Article applies to the emergency lighting however as the annual duration test only differs in duration to the monthly you could argue that you are competent to do the basic test with other competent persons brought in for repairs. 

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Thank you very much for your reply, Anthony.

This seems like good news as I can carry out the 3 hour test in the exact same way as the monthly on/off test, and I’m happy to bring experts in to carry out repairs.

I’ve looked at the Fire Safety Order, Article 17, and I’m interested in how are you interpreted this document to provide your response, just so I can clearly explain this to my fellow residents...


Thanks, once again,


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If you mean not testing the smoke control yourself it's because you are unlikely to have the equipment and competency to ensure it is subject to a
suitable system of maintenance and be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair based on the required maintenance regime in British Standards (which the Enforcers’ Guidance published by the National Fire Chiefs Council advises enforcement officers to use as a benchmark).

With the Emergency Lighting you will be able to follow the BS and demonstrate competency as well as having the right equipment for the job.

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