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Compliance and regulation for emergency and exit lighting

Compliance and regulation for emergency and exit lighting

29th May 2023

The lighting industry understandably has many regulations because the risk of injury or electrocution is high if you get it wrong. The area of emergency and exit lighting also has many regulations and compliance requirements because these lights are used to help save people’s lives in emergencies.

For emergency and exit lighting there are compliance requirements for the system design, installation, and maintenance. But there are also compliance requirements for companies like Lawell Lighting’s sister organisation Goodwin Lighting which manufactures the lights.

In simple terms, any building that is occupied by employees, customers or the general public requires emergency lighting, as well the common areas of multi-residential buildings.

Just to refresh, exit lights are the ones you see above building exits that are permanently illuminated. They must be clearly visible to indicate the “egress path” or escape route to an exit or evacuation point.

Emergency lights are the ones that come on when the power goes out and illuminate commercial buildings at regular intervals so people can find their way to an exit in an emergency. The type of light, building shape and ceiling height will determine where they are required to be installed.

The National Construction Code (NCC) determines the classes of buildings and areas within them where exit and emergency lighting are required.

What do I need to do to ensure my emergency and exit lights are compliant?

The Australian Standard AS/NZS 2293 series covers the system design, installation, operation, service, maintenance, and production of emergency lights and exit signs.

Due to the complexities, it is best to consult experts in emergency and exit lighting to discuss your requirements. Lawell Lighting works with industry experts and business partners to keep across any changes that occur in this area.

There are requirements around lux levels, light distribution, location, and much more. For example, the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2293.1:2018 specifies a minimum light level of 0.2 lux with a minimum average of 0.5 lux at floor level under emergency lighting conditions, and for stairwells, this should be a minimum of 1 lux.

There are also requirements around running times after power failure. All emergency lights must be maintained for a minimum of 90 minutes when the power supply to the normal lighting fails.

The Australian Standard AS/NZS 2293.1:2018 mentions two approaches for emergency layout design – spacing rules and illuminance calculations. In our experience, the spacing rules method is more popular because it is pre-validated by Standards Australia for maximum allowable distances between emergency lights. The illuminance calculations method is more complex and relies on variables like the software used, the experience of the lighting designer and the correct application of the standard.

It is for these reasons that as industry experts, Lawell Lighting strongly recommends working with industry specialists when planning and installing emergency and exit lights.

What do I need to do to test my emergency and exit lights to ensure they are compliant?

The regulations state that all exit and emergency lights must be tested every six months to ensure they run for 90 minutes on battery power. This is done by specialists who simulate a loss of power, who then record the results usually in a digital log book.

There are different ways to test exit and emergency lights which depends on the types of fittings and the testing system used.

Like the installation requirements, the testing needs are set out in the Australian Standard AS/NZS2293. The standard outlines the routine service and maintenance tasks that need to be undertaken and recorded on a six and 12-monthly basis, as well as every 10 years to ensure compliance.

What do manufacturers of emergency and exit lighting need to undertake to be compliant?

Not only do exit and emergency lights have many installation and maintenance requirements, but manufacturers like Lawell’s sister company Goodwin Lighting also have to adhere to regulations.

For example, all Lawell emergency light fittings are independently tested for thermal and optical performance in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2293.3:2018.

Lawell Lighting also goes beyond the requirements. The regulations state that all emergency lights must run for 90 minutes after the power fails, but Lawell’s range of emergency lights last for up to four hours.

Of course, all lighting equipment offered for sale in Australia must comply with relevant electrical safety standards, but not all are high quality or made to last. Lawell works with industry partners to create solutions that suit Australian requirements including harsh environments.

Why choose Lawell Lighting emergency and exit lights?

Lawell Lighting has a wide range of emergency and exit lighting solutions to suit many applications in Australia. Lawell’s R&D team is constantly improving the range and ensuring the latest technology is incorporated in the product range, and the company works closely with its distributors to ensure they meet the needs of the industry.

Contact our team or call us on (02) 8740 8936 to learn more.