Emergency Lighting Frequently Asked Questions

Ian Watts, Emergency Lighting Expert for KOHLER Uninterruptible Power has recently presented a webinar “Introducing Compliant Emergency Lighting” with CIBSE.

The webinar demonstrated the importance of being compliant, outlined the relevant legislation and how it is applied, and explained the requirements of luminaire product standards.

We received a lot of questions from the webinar so to help tackle any confusion on the subject we have put together a few frequently asked questions.

The answers to the questions below is to assist you with understanding compliancy and Emergency Lighting:

1. How do I assess my existing equipment for suitability?

You need support from a competent engineer to gauge the products.  The ideal is to have certified approved products then performance and quality are third party verified.  The danger of non-approved kit is that you are left to assess its suitability, and this can only really be achieved by more frequent testing.

2. When should I consider using a central battery system over self-contained solutions?

Maintenance is so much more achievable on a CBU with one place to look after the batteries.  Commercial life cycle costing benefits will result from small medium and large-scale sites so in reality I see a place for them everywhere.

3. I have a real mixture of products on site and need to achieve compliance where do I start on my path to this?

The auditable documents at the back of BS 5266 part 1 2016 are there to support this.  There are certs K1 & K2 that offer a snapshot in time for your site asking all the relevant questions enabling the responsible person to highlight potential “deviations” from the standard for all interested parties to buy into.  (Fire authorities, insurers)

4. The completion design document; Annex H of BS 5266 part 1 2016, details a specific luminaire can we substitute a different fitting?

The original design would have defined the type and performance of the luminaires this is needed by the user to verify to the fire inspecting authority that an adequate system is installed.

If the installer either at the initial installation or during maintenance uses different fittings, they have taken responsibility from the designer and taken it upon themselves.

In some cases, a design of fitting may be no longer available in which case they should inform the user /responsible person who should get a competent person to confirm that the substitution still meets the safety requirements of the building. We all know in practice this rarely happens but the installer and user are taking an unnecessary risk if they don’t check it.

Likely problems with unchecked replacement of fittings

  • The product quality may not be to BS EN 60598-2-22
  • The illumination performance may not be equivalent (total light output or distribution)
  • It may have different lamp and battery types incurring additional future testing/maintenance problems.

5. Could you please tell me the significance of the phrase ‘Code of Practice’ on the front page of BS 5266 part 1 2016, as it does not appear on other BS’s such as 5266 Pt 8 .Is BS 5266 Pt 2005 a legal document and should we be treating it as a fully fledged BS.

BS 5266-1 2016 is the Code of practice and details how emergency lighting should be provided, it is the full current issue of the standard.  BS standards only acquire legal status when they are called up by legislation.  This document is called up in this manner and because the references are undated this means the last issue applies.

(BS 5839 is the equivalent Code of practice for fire alarms and has similar standing)

Further information:

Ian Watts is an Emergency Lighting Specialist for KOHLER Uninterruptible Power with +27 years’ experience in emergency lighting and fire systems. A part-time CIBSE lecturer and FIA trainer, as a recognised industry expert Ian participated in the revision of BS 5266 part 1 (2016) and BS 7273 part 6 and, giving him European insight, sits on CEN 169 Working Group 3.

If you would like to watch the CIBSE and KOHLER Uninterruptible webinar on “Introducing Complaint Emergency Lighting” visit our website to download the FREE on-demand version: Watch Now

If you need any further assistance or have any other questions on Emergency Lighting please do get in touch: [email protected] or phone 01256 386700.

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