Emergency lighting design: 5 things you need to know

Do you know the rules and regulations when it comes to emergency lighting? Design experts and bimstore manufacturers Mount Lighting have shared their handy guide.

Find Mount Lighting's products on bimstore here. 

1) There are five types of emergency lighting 

Emergency lighting is designed to ensure safe evacuation of a building

  • Maintained - This type of fitting is designed to work as a usual light fitting and usually features in theatres, cinemas and shopping centres.
  • Non-maintained -  These are most commonly style of lighting these are part of are is emergency exit signs. They are most often used in offices and factories where escape familiarity with the building is practised.
  • DALI emergency -  DALI stands for Digital Addressable Lighting Interface. This allows for better control alongside detailed monitoring and reporting of emergency lighting. 
  • Central battery - This is where the battery power for emergency lighting is situated at one central point and fed to all relevant luminaires in the event of a power failure, whether they are maintained or non-maintained.
  • Sustained  - This is where a lamp separate to the main lamp provides the emergency light source. The purpose here is to minimise any possibility of emergency lamp failure, as the ‘sustained’ lamp is only used in emergency mode.

2) Where emergency lighting should be installed 

Emergency lighting is designed to ensure safe evacuation of a building, reduce panic and confusion and safely manage high-risk tasks in the event of a mains power failure. As a result, emergency lighting can be split into three sections: escape routes, open areas and high-risk task.

The lighting design in these specific specified areas improves the function and has purpose whether that’s to guide, direct or provide light to complete important tasks.

escape Routes 

Emergency exits and escape routes should be provided with signs. They should be illuminated to clearly indicate the escape route. 

open areas 

Areas larger than 60m², open areas with an escape route passing through them, or hazards identified by the building risk assessment all require emergency lighting. These areas are usually offices, washrooms, receptions and conference suites.

high risk task 

In many emergency situations, workers or members of the public will just be able to stop what they’re doing, whether it’s using a computer, making a phone call or having a meeting, and evacuate the building.

However, some employees could be in the middle of a high-risk task such as working with machinery or dangerous substances. In these situations, the person involved must be able to see adequately to safely shut down the equipment.

Areas of high physical risk include plant control rooms and production lines. In these areas, there may not be a clear escape route and well-placed emergency lighting will be necessary for highlighting large obstacles or hazards.

3) Be aware of emergency light regulations 

Being aware of the regulations concerned with emergency lighting design will help you when it comes to choosing the correct design and placement for your fixtures.

Whereas ‘normal’ everyday lighting does have a purpose and must be compliant with its own set of regulations, emergency lighting is also determined by how it assists people and improves difficult situations.

escape signs 

Illuminated Escape signs may be either externally illuminated or internally illuminated to ensure they are clear and legible. Externally illuminated signs should be illuminated 5 lux minimum on any part.

Both photoluminescent and self-adhesive or perspex signs must now be illuminated to 100 lux when the mains are in service.

The viewing distances specified in BS 5266 outline that signs should preferably be clearly visible, face on to where people will be looking, not on the ceiling or at an oblique angle.

4) Risk assessments are essential 

The first priority is to establish the requirements for the particular installation, taking into account the building licensing requirements. It is important to undertake a site-specific risk assessment to ensure that all aspects of the requirements for emergency lighting within the building are catered for.

Emergency lighting assessments must be done in compliance with BS 5266-1:2016 which supports the building licensing requirements. All installations and the information outlined below must be part of the emergency lighting design process.

Emergency lighting is also determined by how it assists people and improves difficult situations

5) Lighting project design service 

Mount Lighting's team of experienced lighting designers are always looking for ways to bring their clients’ projects to life. They analyse the project from design to installation and ensure nothing is overlooked, making the process seamless and complaint with all the regulations mentioned in this article. 

Mount Lighting also offer a lighting conversions service which enables clients to reduce lead times and offer standard products with emergency or dimming capabilities. The service is also great when existing luminaires on-site require adapting.

To find out more, visit the Mount Lighting website, email sales@mountlighting.co.uk or call 01727 836 695 . 

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