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Is emergency lighting necessary in a small block of flats?

Guest Lucy Cowley

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Guest Lucy Cowley

Hello everyone, our block of flats which consists of 5 units (2 on ground floor, 2 on 1st floor and 1 on 2nd floor) has just been fitted with 4 emergency lights that are permanently on. We have ceiling to floor windows in our entrance on all floors with lots of light. In the evening our outside lighting shines in. Did we need this lighting? What are the regulations? We were not consulted and we are all not very happy as we know costs are involved in not only the installation but the amount of electricity they will use and at a time when we are trying to reduce costs!  Any help much appreciated. Lucy 

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Yes, it's in the official guidance (which with the Fire Safety Act will have statutory backing in residential properties) and borrowed external lighting isn't always reliable and sometimes has to be discounted in assessments.

In small blocks the retrofit of EL is considered a very low priority compared to other issues such as fire doors etc which are the main priority so you would only expect it actioned once all other issues are completed. 

It can, however, be what is called 'non maintained' which means that the lights are not lit (other than a small green LED showing the power is on to the unit) except when the mains supply fails - it sounds like your units are installed as 'maintained', in other words always lit. With many modern fittings you can set them for either mode as required so the existing units could in theory be altered rather than replaced.

To be fair as EL fittings are almost invariably LED the electricity usage is minimal compared to the old fluorescent tube units.

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