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Emergency lighting - British standard code of compliance

Part 1: 1990 code of practice for residential buildings

  1. Adequate artificial lighting should be provided in all common escape routes and should be of a sufficient standard to enable persons to see to escape.
  2. In addition to the system of artificial lighting, escape lighting should be provided within:
    1. windowless accommodation normally accessible to the occupants,
    2. windowless common stairs,
    3. internal common corridors exceeding 30m in length,
    4. common stairs in buildings higher than 18m,
    5. all common escape routes in sheltered housing,
    6. common escape routes across a flat roof.
  3. Escape lighting systems should conform to the appropriate recommendations of BS 5266: Part 1.
  4. The lighting circuits of common escape routes not provided with escape lighting should be protected circuits.

Part 2: 1985 code of practice for shops

  1. Adequate artificial lighting should be provided in all escape routes and should be of a sufficient standard to enable persons to escape.
  2. In addition to the system of artificial lighting, escape lighting should be provided within:
    1. underground or windowless accommodation,
    2. stairways in a central core,
    3. internal corridors exceeding 30m in length without borrowed light,
    4. stairways in buildings of height (see 2.10) greater that 18m,
    5. those parts of the building used by members of the public except that such lighting need not be provided in the following situations:
      1. within a ground storey sales floor not exceeding 280m2 in area provided that the travel distance to a final exit does not exceed 15m,
      2. to staircases which are lighted naturally and provided with a satisfactory degree of borrowed artificial street lighting within a building not exceeding two storeys above the ground level with no sales floor exceeding 280m2 in area,
      3. in a ground storey only restaurant, banqueting room, public house, bar or premises used for a similar purpose, accommodating less than one hundred persons and from which there are a sufficient number of final exits.
  3. Escape lighting should conform to the appropriate recommendations of BS 5266: Part 1.

Part 6: 1991 code of practice for places of assembly

  1. Adequate artificial lighting should be provided throughout the premises and should be of sufficient standard to enable people to escape.
  2. In addition to the system of artificial lighting, escape lighting should be provided throughout the building except that such lighting need not be provided in toilets, store rooms and similar areas, not exceeding 10m2 in area, intended for use by staff only.
  3. Escape lighting systems should comply with BS 5266: Part 1 or CP 1007.

Part 10: 1991 code of practice for shopping complexes

  1. Adequate artificial lighting should be provided in all common areas and escape routes and should be of a sufficient standard to enable persons to see to escape.
  2. In addition to the system of artificial lighting, escape lighting should be provided within:
    1. all common areas,
    2. underground or windowless accommodation,
    3. all escape routes,
    4. all units (other than in kiosks)
      Note 1: In malls consideration should be given to siting escape lighting luminaries below the design base of the smoke layer.
      Note 2: Additional escape lighting luminaries may be required in a densely occupied mall.
  3. Escape lighting should comply with the appropriate recommendations of BS 5266: Part 1.

Emergency lighting options

There are basically two types of emergency lighting systems: Maintained and Non maintained. In maintained systems, individual luminaries each incorporate a battery that is charged from the mains lighting supply. For example, when the mains power is fully restored following an interruption, the luminaries emergency lighting battery is fully recharged from the mains power supply. In a non-maintained system individual luminaries incorporate a power back up supply independent of the mains supply.

At present, maintained luminaries are only required in areas where the lighting is dimmed, for example cinemas and theatres and where alcohol is served.

The above lighting categories are categorised as follows:

The prefix "M/" for maintained and "NM/" for non maintained systems followed by the number of hours duration.

  • For example: M/1 is a Maintained 1 hour duration system
  • NM/3 is a Non maintained 3 hour duration system.

Defined escape routes BS 5266: Part 1: 1988

Current UK regulations require the provision of a horizontal illuminance at floor level on the centre line of a defined escape route not less than 0.2 lux. In addition, for escape routes of up to 2m wide, 50% of the route width should be lit to a minimum of 0.1 lux. Wider escape routes can be treated as a number of 2m wide bands.

Completion certificate

On completion of the work of installation of an emergency lighting system, or part thereof, a completion certificate should be supplied by the installer to the occupier/owner of the premises. The Building Control Department should insist upon a copy of this certificate which should be retained with the Building Regulations application.