WHERE IS EMERGENCY LIGHTING REQUIRED?

 

The National Construction Code (NCC) in Australia and the New Zealand Building codes F6 & F8 determine the classes of buildings and areas within them where exit and emergency lighting is required.

 

To put it simply, any government or commercial building that is occupied by employees, customers or the general public will require emergency lighting, also the common areas of multi-residential buildings.

 

Some key examples are:-

Office Buildings

Shopping Centres

Car Parks

Sporting Venues

Schools

Hospitals

Hotels

Bars & Restaurants

Industrial Facilities

Warehouses

Foyers & Hallways

Multi-Residential


A licenced electrician with an understanding of the AS2293.1 standard will provide guidance on installation requirements.

Exit signs need to be clearly visible to the occupants of a building and illuminated at all times. They will be installed directly above exit doors, at the top of staircases and at any change of direction along the way to directing people along the “Egress path” escape route to a final exit or evacuation point.

Emergency lights are installed at regular intervals around a building to illuminate the egress paths out of the building. The type of light, building shape and ceiling height will determine where they are required to be installed. 

WHAT TYPES OF EXIT AND EMERGENCY LIGHTS ARE THERE?

There are many types of exit signs and emergency lights on the market, each type is targeted to a specific application within a building environment.  

Exit Sign Options

Emergency Lighting Options

TESTING FITTINGS

There are several ways to test an exit and emergency lighting installation, it all depends on the type of fittings installed and the testing system used in the building design.

All exits and emergency lights must be tested every 6 months to ensure they run for 90 minutes on battery by simulating a loss of power. The results of the duration test, any defects/non-conformances and maintenance history shall be recorded in a paper or digital log book.

A manually tested system has exit and emergency lights wired to a test timer.* Activation of the test timer should not disrupt the power to the normal lighting. A testing contractor should first walk the site and check that the fittings have power (check the charge light status) and replace any blackened fluorescent tubes. The next step is to activate the test timer to cut the power to the emergency lighting then wait 90 mins and inspect each fitting to see if it is still running.

PROS

  • Ability to buy the cheapest fittings available from any brand.

CONS

  • Can be very expensive and labour intensive to test – Requires someone to initiate and monitor the test (involves multiple laps of the site)
  • Results are often inaccurate – It can be difficult to stand under every light on a premises at exactly 90 mins and tester must determine the cause of any failures which often leads to complete fitting replacements instead of cheaper repairs such as replacing a battery.

Self-testing exits and emergency lights

Self-testing Emergency fittings have an in-built timer that automatically puts them into duration test mode every 6 months. Following the test each fitting will display a pass/fail result on the LED status indicator. A tester will only need to do an initial walk through if there are Fluorescent tube emergency fittings on site. Otherwise only one walk around is required to view and record a duration test result.

PROS

  • Faster and cheaper to test (by more than 50%), easy to determine the cause of faults leading to cheaper maintenance costs. Easier and more professional *test reporting. Remote access to test reports.

CONS

  • Physical inspection of each fitting to collect a duration test result. Slightly Increased purchase cost if upgrading to a premium fitting (Approx. 10-15%) over the cheapest available (this is offset though by a longer lasting fitting).

Computer Monitored System

Large sites benefit from having a centrally monitored system to manage the testing and maintenance of the Emergency lighting. This eliminates the need for a person to be present to physically inspect fittings when conducting duration testing on a site.

  • A Monitored system is run via a computer (Server) located either on site or by using a virtual cloud-based server.
  • The Server conducts automatic testing of the Emergency lights, these can be scheduled remotely.
  • The Emergency fittings relay information via a router or controller back to some form of head end Management software. In the market leading monitored system software, live status data on Individual fittings can be viewed for detailed system visibility.
  • The Server compiles electronic test reports.

PROS

  • No physical need for a person to be on site to initiate a test or collect duration test data
  • Remote access to detailed site information and test reports
  • Full control over time and date of testing
  • Lifetime support program and dedicated point of contact and service (Clevertronics) 

CONS

  • Many Companies offer monitored systems, some such as DALI can be costly to install and maintain
  • Higher cost for individual fittings
  • Emergency fittings must be of a brand and model compatible with the installed system

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

An appropriately qualified person such as a licensed electrician should be used to test and inspect the components of any style of emergency lighting system. The AS/NZS2293 standard includes requirements for testing of circuits and sensing of supply to the test facility which can only be performed by someone with the suitable qualifications.

Costs vary for emergency light duration testing depending on the products and system used.

For a single point/manually tested site (see Manual Duration Testing) a contractor may either charge a call out fee followed by an hourly rate or charge a flat fee determined by the number of fittings on the site. Fees can vary dramatically so it is recommended to choose a reputable contractor that can provide references. Keep in mind that the testing itself is one cost, fitting maintenance or complete product replacements will incur additional costs.

Every exit sign and emergency light will have a visible LED Charge indicator in either a red or green colour.

If this indicator light is on it means that there is power to the fitting and that the battery is being charged. If the charge light is not illuminated it means that either there is no power to the fitting or it has suffered a battery charging failure.

Each fitting will also have a test button next to the indicator, holding this button down will momentarily put the fitting into emergency mode.

Ideally steps should be taken to ensure an emergency lighting system is in perfect health and all fittings are operational at all times.

If you notice any fittings that are not working and pose a risk to occupant safety, you should report them to the maintenance contractor or other responsible party.

That being said the twice-yearly scheduled duration tests will identify faults and list any defects or non-conformances for corrective action. Demonstrating proof that the required repairs identified during the duration test have been carried out is necessary to demonstrate compliance.

Emergency and exit lights products can be purchased from electrical wholesale branches.

Generally, an electrical contractor will quote to supply, install and maintain the log book for your site. 

It is important that all parties responsible for the ongoing service, maintenance and compliance of this emergency lighting installation obtain copies of and are familiar with the Australian and New Zealand Standards AS/NZS2293 – Exit and emergency lighting for buildings in order to understand the full range of checks and procedures outside duration testing that are required for building compliance.

AS/NZS2293.2 outlines the Routine Service and Maintenance tasks that must be undertaken and recorded on a 6 monthly, 12 monthly and 10 yearly basis in order to ensure that the system operates correctly as per the installed design.

These additional tasks include but are not limited to:

– Cleaning of exit signs and luminaire diffusers to remove dirt and insects

– Visual inspection of fittings for damage or obstructions

– Inspection of the duration test facility for correct operation

– Inspect that replacement fittings installed during maintenance match the classification and spacing requirements of the original design

– Check directional arrows on exit signs are labelled as per the original design

– Review of the maintenance and service records to ensure any defects or non-conformance recorded during the previous tests and inspections have been rectified.

EMERGENCY LIGHTING FOR
BUILDING OWNERS AND TENANTS

Ultimately it is the building owner or tenant that is responsible for ensuring compliance of the emergency and exit lighting within their building 

Emergency and exit lights must be installed, wired and tested by a licensed electrician with an understanding of the AS2293.1 standard and National Construction Code.

The ongoing testing and maintenance can then be managed by the electrician or a compliance or facility management company with knowledge in emergency lighting. It is important that the company engaged to manage the emergency lighting understands the system that is installed in the building the building has an automatic or computerised system that all replacement fittings match the system requirements.   

All exits and emergency lights must be inspected and tested every 6 months to ensure they run for 90 minutes on battery by simulating a loss of power. The results of the duration test, any defects/non-conformances and maintenance history shall be recorded in a paper or digital log book.  

There are three types of testing methods depending on the installation in your building 

  • Manual Testing Method – Power is removed from the fittings and a walk through the site is completed at 90 minutes to ensure all lights are still illuminated. 
  • Self Test Method – Fittings automatically test every six months and results are recorded via LED indicator. A walk through is completed within 7 days to check the LED indicators on each fitting. 
  • Computerised Automatic System – Fittings automatically test every six months or on demand and a report is produced to show the status of each fitting. 
A log book is either a hard copy book or digital version that contains all the information bout the emergency and exit lighting in your building.

It contains information about the type of lights, when they were installed, tested, replaced and who completed the work. With products like the CleverSparky App, which is a free digital logbook you can now compile all this information online in the cloud and update and access information when you need it. 

Emergency and exit lighting is an essential life safety device and the non-compliance with regulations regarding its correct installation and maintenance jeopardises the safety of building occupants. There is a legal requirement to comply with NCC and AS/NZS 2293 and the WH&S legislation (OH&S in Victoria and WA) treats a serious breach as an indictable offence and carries a maximum penalty of $3 million for a corporation and significant and a significant financial penalty and up to 5 years imprisonment for individuals. 

Every exit sign and emergency light will have a visible LED Charge indicator in either a red or green colour.  

If this indicator light is on it means that there is power to the fitting and that the battery is being charged. If the charge light is not illuminated it means that either there is no power to the fitting or it has suffered a control gear failure. Each fitting will also have a test button next to the indicator, holding this button down will momentarily put the fitting into battery mode.  

Ideally steps should be taken to ensure an emergency lighting system is in perfect health an all fittings are in operation at all times.

If you notice any fittings that are not working and pose a risk to occupant safety, you should report them to the maintenance contractor or other responsible party. 

That being said the twice-yearly scheduled duration tests will identify faults and list any defects or non-conformances for corrective action. Demonstrating proof that the required repairs identified during the duration test have been carried out is enough to demonstrate compliance. 

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT EMERGENCY AND EXIT LIGHTING?

The market leader in emergency and exit lighting in Australia and New Zealand is Clevertronics

You can visit the Clevertronics website to find out about the different products, systems and applications for Emergency lightings. If you would like to discuss your requirements further you can contact one of their branches to get specialised advice or organise a site audit by one of the team members. 

Clevertronics’ range of Emergency Lighting is arguably the most comprehensive in Australia, and with the expertise in personnel built up over the years they can offer solutions to situations others may avoid.