Emergency Lighting System Guidance

Emergency Lighting System Guidance

Premises may be required to install and maintain a suitable emergency lighting system under the appropriate fire safety legislation across the UK. The British Standard for emergency lighting (BS 5266-1) states that “if a risk assessment shows that emergency safety lighting is needed, it should meet the recommendations given in 5.3.2 [minimum illuminance] and 5.3.3 [safety signs].” - BS 5266-1, Section 5 Illumination for emergency lighting considerations: 5.3.1 General

The four stages of establishing and maintaining a suitable emergency lighting system (i.e. design, installation, commissioning and maintenance) are outlined below:

Emergency Lighting System Design

There are different classifications for emergency lighting systems which an appropriately Third Party Certificated provider will be able to determine following a site visit. With this information, a suitable system design can then be established.

The classification of the emergency lighting system required will be part of the design process. British Standard 5266-1 (BS 5266-1 Emergency lighting - Part 1: Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises) states: “The type, mode of operation, facilities and duration of the system to be used should be selected on the basis of the size, function and risk assessment of the premises.” - BS 5266-1, Section 6 Emergency Lighting Design: 6.7.2 Classification of system

BS 5266-1 documents the different areas that should be considered in the design process:

  • System integrity – “to ensure that emergency lighting will be provided when required.”
  • Failure of standard “normal” lighting
  • Failure of emergency lighting luminaire – to avoid being caught in “total darkness”
  • Mounting height of luminaires
  • Spacing between luminaires
  • Classification of operation of emergency lighting systems
  • Selection of appropriate emergency lighting systems
  • Duration of emergency lighting

The BAFE SP203-4 Emergency Lighting Systems Scheme stipulates that providers Third Party Certificated to the Design module must be competent to provide this service with Named Designers having evidence of “successful completion of a recognised emergency lighting course”. The attributed Guidance Document (SG1) for the BAFE SP203-4 Scheme stipulates that “the audit [of the Named Designer] should include both an office based assessment and an on-site assessment of sample completed installations” amongst other requirements to determine competency.

Emergency Lighting System Installation

BS 5266-1 The installation of any emergency lighting system should follow the thorough design plan to confirm the system is appropriate for the building. “The designer should include the preparation of instructions on the installation, operation and maintenance of the system in the design schedule. The instructions should preferably be in the form of a manual for retention by the occupier” - BS 5266-1, Section 10: Emergency lighting design procedure, 10.6 Installation, operating and commissioning instructions

The BAFE SP203-4 Emergency Lighting Systems Scheme stipulates that providers Third Party Certificated to the Installation module must deliver installation services “in accordance with the agreed specified design” with the attributed SG1 Guidance demanding “evidence that the organization has the ability to successfully interpret system design requirements provided by the System Designer”.

Emergency Lighting System Commissioning

BS 5266-1 states that “the competent person handing over the system to the responsible person(s) should train that person or persons on the regular monthly tests and inspections... and how to use the test facilities, or to check the automatic test facilities.” - BS 5266-1, Section 10: Emergency lighting design procedure, 10.7 Handover

It stresses the “importance of keeping the documents up to date” (i.e. logbook) and the storing of relevant documents in a safe place for reference if required.

The BAFE SP203-4 Emergency Lighting Systems Scheme stipulates that providers Third Party Certificated to the Commissioning module must “demonstrate its competence to initially test, commission, and handover the installed emergency lighting system and shall understand the Specified Requirements”. This is vital as this is the final sign off to determine the system is ready to use and is handed over to the appropriate person appointed responsible for the premises.

Emergency Lighting System Maintenance

The functional operation of the emergency lighting system falls onto the responsibility of the user (i.e. the appropriate person appointed responsible for the premises).

BS 5266-1, Section 12 outlines the recommended routine testing of the system. These include (but is not definitive to):

  • Checking functional operation “at least every month”
  • Full rated duration test (on each luminaire) “at least annually” (full discharge of batteries to check all working as required)
  • Logging of failures to any part of the system and introducing alternate safety procedures until this is repaired
  • Recording all testing and repair information in a logbook

Your chosen Third Party Certificated emergency lighting system provider will be able to advise further on all recommended responsibilities. This will demonstrate ongoing due diligence to fire safety legislation for the system in place.

The standard comments that “In the event of failure of any parts of the system, a competent person should be used to repair the fault.” - BS 5266-1, Section 12: Routine inspections and tests

The BAFE SP203-4 Emergency Lighting Systems Scheme stipulates that providers Third Party Certificated to the Maintenance module must “demonstrate its competence to maintain the installed equipment and shall understand the Specified Requirements.” The SG1 Guidance adds the provider should be able to demonstrate “a comprehensive understanding of electrical and other safety issues relating to the maintenance of electrical systems [and] an ability to successfully interpret system design requirements provided by the System Designer and to be able to apply these when assessing a system’s ongoing suitability.”

Every effort is made to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up to date.

No legal responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions.