UK legislation around emergency lighting

Did you know UK legislation around emergency lighting is stronger in the UK than some other European countries?

Why is this?

In the UK we call for a minimum duration of three hours for emergency lighting if premises are not expected to be evacuated immediately, under the UK guidance document BS 5266-1 Emergency lighting –Part 1: Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises. In Europe they call for a minimum duration of one hour under the European Standards BS EN 1838:2013, lighting application – emergency lighting.

The UK Guidance document states the following:

‘A minimum duration of three hours should be used for emergency lighting if premises are not expected to be evacuated immediately in the event of a supply failure, such as sleeping accommodation or places of entertainment, or if the premises are expected to be reoccupied when the supply is restored without waiting for batteries to recharge.

A minimum duration of one hour should be used only if the premises are expected to be evacuated immediately on supply failure and not reoccupied until full capacity has been restored to the batteries.’

It is imperative that as a UK company you comply with the UK Guidelines set out above. By doing so, it means a building can be re-entered after there has been some kind of mains failure as there is still significant emergency lighting in place to meet the minimum requirements. The European standards mean that even if there is a five minute failure the building can not be re-entered as you would not meet the one hour minimum requirement.