Emergency lighting: The future is compliance

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Matthew Jones, UK & Ireland Head of Sales at Advanced discusses current and future trends in emergency lighting

The fire safety landscape has transformed since the Grenfell tragedy as the Government rolls out a raft of changes to make buildings safer.

These measures range from the updated Part B of the Building Regulations to the introduction of the Building Safety Regulator, with yet further policy changes on the horizon.

As a result, the fire and life safety sectors are being affected across the board, including emergency lighting where current and future trends are focusing on both compliance and connectivity.

With these new challenges ahead building owners, specifiers and facilities managers (FMs) need to stay up-to-date to ensure compliance.

Fortunately, manufacturers, like Advanced, with a pedigree in both the fire and the life safety sectors, are experts in the field and can explain exactly how to comply with new regulations and guidance.

Dynamic safety signage

One emergency lighting area which looks set for compliance changes soon is dynamic safety signage (DSS).

In the next 12 months we are set to see the publication of the amended EN 1838 Emergency Lighting which the industry hopes will include a technical specification on adaptive emergency lighting systems.

This should consolidate the importance of dynamic safety signage in fire evacuations, improving safety for building occupants.

In emergencies, dynamic safety signage is vital since the lack of information and confusion means people often make poor decisions.

Occupants unaware of standard escape signage tend to leave via their known, proven route – often the main entrance – which causes slower evacuation times and potentially dangerous bottlenecking; this is especially dangerous if the main entrance is blocked in an incident.

Advanced’s range of dynamic safety signage has been developed following research into human behaviour during fire incidents.

By directing building occupants to the closest, safest exits in emergencies, DSS measurably reduces evacuation time, congestion, and threat to life.

DSS is a vital life safety system helping enable safe evacuations when a fire takes place and therefore is an essential addition to Advanced’s fire protection range.

Ideal for settings where large numbers of people may be unfamiliar with emergency escape routes, e.g.

university campuses, hospitals, stadiums and transport hubs, Advanced’s DSS range provides different tiers of functionality making it very versatile in meeting requirements across a wide range of sites and scenarios.

DSS gives clarity on the best exit routes, proven to make building evacuations faster and safer.

In many fatal fires, the most familiar exit is also the most dangerous – DSS enables better decision-making and quicker escape.

It complies with visibility standards, is self-testing and fully monitored for peace of mind.

Cause and effect can be programmed, allowing DSS to be used adaptively, ensuring as evacuation situations evolve only the safest escape routes are highlighted while unviable exits are clearly marked as no-go areas.

Symbols instead of words ensure clarity for all nationalities, especially useful in airports.

While DSS is compatible with multiple fire systems, we recommend using it with the likes of Advanced’s MxPro 5 addressable fire system to make use of our world class cause and effect programming.

To guarantee compliance with the BS 5266 Code of Practice for the Emergency Lighting of Premises, DSS can also be used alongside our LuxIntelligent system, which actively tests and monitors the signage.

Remote connectivity

To be compliant with BS 5266, it is vital to consistently test that emergency lighting is functioning correctly.

 A common pitfall is not testing emergency lighting frequently enough.

With emergency lighting a short function test should be completed each month.

 Then once a year a full duration test is required which normally takes 180 minutes.

Test results must be recorded, and any remedial work performed within an appropriate timeframe.

However, conducting tests across multiple sites or large systems presents logistical challenges.

Although manual system testing is still common, as budgets shrink the cost of engineers spending significant amounts of time on manual testing is increasingly hard to justify.

To address this challenge, at Advanced we developed LuxIntelligent, an addressable, cloud-ready, automatic emergency lighting test system.

The system automatically, routinely tests a building’s emergency lighting to check for faults, test failures or advisories to prove the system is compliant and functioning.

Testing can be completed without human intervention and the system can be set at the beginning of the year and then will trigger testing throughout the year automatically, delivering prompt and accurate reporting of test results, as well as providing definitive work instructions for any necessary maintenance, representing significant long-term time and cost reductions for FMs.

The LuxIntelligent emergency light testing system makes compliance with emergency lighting guidelines easy and cost effective.

It is quick to install and simple for technical engineers and security staff to operate, providing a robust solution that will take care of your emergency light testing for the next 15 years or more.

LuxIntelligent offers a standalone portal that engineers can log into to view all the testing and compliance data allowing them to produce reports and replace a manual logbook as required in BS 5266.

Cloud-storage functionality eliminates the task of having to record test results by hand and the hassle associated with filing such records – a particularly useful feature when managing a large portfolio of buildings and sites that require secure storage of test and maintenance reports.

The control panel has a dynamic event log of 1000 events as well as a separate log for recording test results.

Records of all automatic (and manual) tests are generated and data can be accessed from the panel, a connected laptop or remote PC.

Plus, LuxIntelligent makes maintenance simple, since it will automatically tell an engineer exactly which device has an issue, what the issue is and where in the building it is.

LuxIntelligent provides Cloud monitoring and system management via mobile and web apps.

This makes routine tasks now possible to do remotely.

With data stored securely in the Cloud, those responsible for the emergency lighting system can access live details on status, test and maintenance reports from a smartphone, tablet or via a web browser.

Integrating emergency lighting control panel data with portable technology in this way, enables users to monitor all their sites, anywhere in the world.

LuxIntelligent is not only suitable for new installations.

Whether an engineer is working on an existing site or a new one it is possible to monitor the emergency lighting system from anywhere across the installation from anywhere in the world, using its local area network via an ethernet port or WiFi connection; via the 4G connectivity option.

A 4G router is available in a wall-mounted panel and can be particularly useful for external fire safety engineers to gain direct access to Luxintelligent to monitor testing and maintenance needs.


Finally, if a building has not already moved from fluorescent lighting to LED, now is the time to do so with a ban on the sale of mercury containing lamps, like fluorescent lamps, set to come in.

This change forms part of the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) Directive.

As a result, many common fluorescent light fittings will become obsolete on 1st February 2024.

Concerns around disruption, inconvenience and cost are often cited as reasons to delay swapping old for new technology.

However, LuxIntelligent LED luminaires are quick and easy to install and deliver demonstrable long-term cost-saving benefits.

At Advanced we pride ourselves in providing support and advice to our clients through the whole lifecycle of our products from the first enquiry, to training, offering installation guidance, ensuring customers use the correct software tools, and finally helping with commissioning to ensure a system operates as designed.

As building safety compliance becomes ever more stringent as Government tightens regulations, at Advanced we are here to offer advice and support on how to comply to ensure peace of mind.

To find out more please contact us for further information or guidance on emergency lighting or fire safety systems.

We also run CPDs including Your Best Route to Compliance for Emergency Lighting: https://www.advancedco.com/product/luxintelligent-emergency-lighting-system/the-best-route-to-compliance-for-your-emergency-lighting/

This article was originally published in the October 2023 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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