The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Emergency Lighting – Part 2

December 22, 2016 12:37 pm

In today’s fire engineering design and risk assessment blog for architects and those who work in building planning, we will continue to discuss Emergency Lighting. In part 1, we established that Emergency Lighting was an essential safety provision for commercial buildings over 60m2 which were not exempt as per the Building Regulations.


Today we’re going to continue by reviewing the planning of such an installation from the point of view of those who should have an input into the design – building architect, building owner, a Fire Officer and a building control officer, as well as the requirements of the building’s insurers.


Simply, the aim of the design will be to place lighting in those areas which may cause specific hazards and to also highlight any areas which may provide assistance – such as fire safety equipment and safety signs providing important information and to lead the building occupants to a place of safety outside of the building.


Stairways, corridors, ramps, escalators, passageways which are a part of the escape route should be suitably lit to allow safe egress from the building. It is important that each exit door is highlighted to avoid confusion along the route.

When a change in direction is required, such as an intersection in a corridor, a staircase or a change in floor level, this too must be adequately illuminated.


The lack of regular lighting sources should not preclude the building occupants from accessing firefighting equipment, reaching a fire alarm call point, accessing first aid equipment or from reading important exit or safety signs, so these points must be adequately lit too.


The design of the emergency lighting along an escape route will be able to take into account features such as vision panels in doors which open onto escape routes, if they are able to provide the levels of illumination within the adjacent room. It should be noted that while sources of natural light can compensate for artificial light at some times of day or some times of year, if they cannot be relied upon to provide light at any point in time that the building might be in use, then the design must assume no natural light is available and illuminate those areas too.


Light which enters the building from street lighting should also not be taken into account, in case the power failure affects those too.


Appropriate legislation and guidance must be taken into consideration in the design and installation of an emergency lighting system and in our next blog we will provide a list of such resources before looking at specific areas outside those already mentioned where emergency lighting may be required.


In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.


Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact Peter Gyere on 020 8668 8663.


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