The LWF Blog

Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment – Emergency Lighting – Part 3

January 5, 2017 2:55 pm

In this Fire Engineering Design and Risk Assessment blog series for architects and those involved in building planning, we have been looking recently at Emergency Lighting. We have discussed why it is necessary and where it should be found.


Today we’re going to give you details of the documents which relate to the need for emergency lighting for premises in the UK.


All of those listed below are current as of December 2016.


The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (England and Wales)

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Subordinate Provisions Order 2006

BS 9999: 2008: Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings

BS 5266-1:2016 Emergency lighting. Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises

Building Regulations Approved Document B: Fire safety (England and Wales)

Scottish Building Standards, Section 2: Fire

Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel Technical Booklet E: 2012

The first of those listed, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (England and Wales), places an obligation on the owner or user of any premises to undertake a risk assessment which may indicate the need for emergency lighting, if a lack of it would cause risk to building occupants.


In the last blog, part 2, we discussed the need for emergency lighting to be placed along the escape route, particularly in certain areas where confusion might arise such as junctions of corridors and exits, but after consideration has been given to the safety of the escape route, the installation of additional luminaires at specific sites should be reviewed.


The inside of lift carriages is one such place; occupants of a lift could be stuck in total darkness if a power failure were to occur. In addition, moving stairs and walkways, toilets where the area exceeds 8m2 and those areas immediately outside an external exit are also potentially required.


So, if we assume that emergency lighting has been considered for all relevant areas of the building including the exit route, then any person within the building if there is a power failure and/or fire can find their way out safely. However, not all building occupants may be simply waiting to evacuate. Some may be undertaking tasks which can be considered high risk.


Those areas which can be considered high risk include plant rooms, lift motor rooms, electrical switch rooms and any other area in which there is a safety hazard. Sudden darkness in one of these situations can be dangerous and so the addition of emergency lighting should be provided.


In next week’s blog we will finalise our discussion on emergency lighting by looking at the illumination exit signs and exploring lighting levels of escape routes. 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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