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CA452001EN - March 2015


Emergency Lighting Design Guide

Legal Requirements

The main reason for installing an emergency lighting system

is to enable the building to meet fire safety legislation in a way

that is visually acceptable and meets the user’s needs for ease

of operation and maintenance. Consequently it is important to

establish all the relevant legal requirements for emergency lighting

and fire alarm systems before commencing the design. These

should ideally be agreed between the “responsible person” and

the system designer.

The main legislative requirements are:

The Fire Safety Order 2005

The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and Fire and Rescue Services

(Northern Ireland) Order 2006 No.1254, reforms the law relating

to fire safety in non-domestic premises, and specifically replaces

the Fire Precautions (workplace) regulation 1997 and the Fire

Precautions Act 1971. It imposes a general duty to take such

fire precautions as may be reasonably required to ensure that

premises are safe for the occupants and those in the immediate


By virtue of the order, the Responsible Person (for Scotland the

Duty Holder) is required to carry out a fire risk assessment of

their premises. If not trained themselves, the Responsible Person

must appoint, or contract, a ‘Competent Person’ to carry out a risk

assessment. This must be a suitable and sufficient assessment of

the risk to which relevant persons are exposed for the purpose of

identifying the general fire precautions they need to take to comply

with the requirements of the order.

This legislation requires that all premises must be safeguarded

from fire by appropriate fire safety precautions.

• This must be demonstrated by the responsible person for the

premises (normally the employer) conducting a fire safety risk

assessment. If the site has 5 or more employees then the risk

assessment must be kept as a formal record for inspection by

the Fire Authority.

• The assessment replaces fire certificates which are now no

longer valid.

Main points in the guide are:

• That the law now covers all premises that have employees or

are visited by members of the public. (Previously, fire

certificates did not cover small premises).

• Emergency lighting should be upgraded to meet the current

standards. (Previously premises did not have to be upgraded

when standards improved, now those engineered to previous

issues need to be brought up to date).

The building regulations detail the design and construction

characteristics of a building. Approved Document B details the fire

safety requirements for new buildings and the major refurbishment

of existing premises. Table 9 of this document shows the locations

that must be provided with emergency lighting. This list should

be used as a starting point and BS5266-1:2011 should be referred

to as the main source of information. This provides information

for areas requiring emergency lighting but also best practice for

the lighting of a selection of high risk tasks. It also clarifies that

emergency lighting is needed for all parts of schools that either do

not have natural light or are used outside normal school hours. The

regulations require that systems comply with BS 5266-1:2011 the

code of practice for emergency lighting.

In order for greater clarity, it is now split into two separate

volumes: Volume 1 for Dwellings and Volume 2 for Buildings Other

Than Dwelling Houses.

Emergency Design Process Chart