Emergency lighting

One of the most important design aspects to take into consideration for any type of building is the provision of emergency lighting.

Emergency lighting is a very important element in the design of a building

What needs to be considered

Building designers need to consider many factors including the exit route, signage visibility and adequate illuminance for general and high risk areas. Luminaire construction, light output in emergency mode and maintaining records are also very important.

Who is responsible for emergency lighting?

The safety and well-being of people using a building is paramount. The maintenance and means of testing an emergency lighting system, whether manual or automatic, needs to be clearly defined.

The Regulatory Reform Order of 2005 places the legal responsibility for the provision of regular testing, and on-going maintenance of emergency lighting, with the most senior person in the business. In emergency lighting terms they are known as the responsible person.

Testing and maintenance

BS5266-1 outlines the requirements for a monthly function test and an annual duration test. The responsible person must ensure regular testing and record the results. Any action required for any device failure needs to be noted together with the corrective action taken.

Manual testing involves the disconnection of a permanent electrical supply to an emergency luminaire by utilising a test switch. This can cause disruption to a building’s operation and may not be the most cost effective solution.

Self-test luminaires will initiate testing and provide a visual indication of the result, using a bi-colour LED to show status. Green indicates all is healthy and red flags a problem e.g. a charging issue.

Self-test luminaires can initiate a quick function test, by interrupting the permanent power supply within the fitting. After the function test, the emergency luminaire will return to its original operational state. If the emergency components are fully operational, the bi-colour LED indicator will be green.

A duration test is a full power-down of an emergency luminaire, typically for a 3-hour time period, to ensure that the fitting will be providing an adequate output during this time. The battery should return to full charge within a 24-hour period.

The use of self-test emergency luminaires can reduce engineering time on-site. However, attendance will still be required for a monthly visual check and to record test results of each emergency device for compliance purposes.

The use of an automated self-test system will save you time and money as tests can be scheduled, fault reports logged, and compliance reports created.

Emergency lighting test systems

Designplan have a range of automated self-test systems that can ensure your emergency luminaires are at peak operational readiness. An emergency self-test system will initiate the function and duration tests at pre-defined times to minimise any site disruption. The results of the tests are recorded and saved, enabling the responsible person to comply with their legal obligations and reduce costs.

Designpath

Designpath is a DALI emergency testing and reporting system. It is suitable for most types of applications including transport, healthcare and social housing. Designpath provides automated testing, fault reporting and a record of test results for compliance. This information is stored on site and can also be emailed.

Designmesh

Designmesh is a cloud based wireless control system with remote monitoring for both standard and emergency fittings, providing fault reporting and energy data. Designmesh can be programmed to save energy using presence and daylight sensors, with remote reporting via the cloud.

Further reading

Find out more about lighting control