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.
- Ability to buy the cheapest fittings available from any brand.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.