Understandably, there are a lot of reports and articles in the media at the moment about the safety of buildings in the event of a fire. In a recent discussion with Dave Tilley of Lightology, this is what he had to say about fire escape routes and the part that emergency lighting plays.
"Research has suggested that over 50% of emergency lighting installations would not operate in accordance with the regulations when required.
This is even more shocking when you consider recent events in London.
Emergency lighting design is not an isolated process; the integration with the fire risk assessment is an essential part of any emergency lighting installation. The fire risk assessment, amongst other things, examines evacuation policy, escape routes and key risk factors, for example, concentration of inflammable materials, paper, cardboard, wood etc.
Even emergency signage has to be managed to ensure consistency of the sign style and the location, so as not to cause confusion.
Whilst most people understand the concept of 1 lux average, this should not be regarded as the primary design requirement; change of direction and height (intersections) must be reviewed along with important features - fire extinguishers, call points and fire panels - all of which require higher minimum lux levels.
Consideration of the emergency services point of entry and main congregation points must be incorporated within the fire risk assessment and emergency lighting design.
Even the use of street lighting to illuminate exit points have to be qualified; what is the Council's maintenance regime and has the Council introduced a switch off scheme?
Ultimately, the emergency lighting system is the responsibility of the client, however designers, installers and maintenance teams have an essential part to play in the safety of building occupants."