If you own or manage a non-domestic property, including common areas of a building with multiple occupancies – then you are legally required to provide emergency lighting provisions in the event of a power outage. The principal fire safety legislation in England and Wales is The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and there are other fire safety legislations that cover specific situations. In addition British Standards, Codes of Practice and other documents offer guidance. More information regarding the legislation can be found at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/1541/contents
The Responsible Person
You are responsible for fire safety in business or other non-domestic premises if you’re:
anyone else with control of the premises, for example a facilities manager, building manager or managing agent.
You’re known as the ‘responsible person’. If there’s more than one responsible person, you have to work together to meet your responsibilities.
Non-domestic premises are:
all workplaces and commercial premises
all premises the public have access to
the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings
Legal Obligations of the Responsible Person
A Fire Risk Assessment of the building should be carried out at prescribed intervals and all recommendations contained in them implemented. All escape routes, emergency routes and exits requiring illumination need to be provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in case of failure of their normal lighting, and are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. The responsible person has to keep records as proof that they have carried out their duty of care. The responsible person must appoint one or more competent persons to assist them in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
Third Party Certification is the best assurance of quality when looking for a provider to help meet your fire safety requirements. It offers independent verification and evidence that a company is competent and working to the appropriate standards and best practice for the specific service you require.
Existing Emergency Lighting Systems
When initially installed to BS5266-1 (2016) the emergency lighting system should come with a Log Book, installer's guarantee, and manufacturer's guarantees for individual components, but these will eventually expire and a program of periodic maintenance is the only way to ensure that the system remains operating as originally intended.
Older systems which may have been diligently installed and maintained and work correctly may not have a Log Book or indeed any records of the design and equipment selection process and it is also unlikely that a full Risk Assessment history will be available. In this case discussion with the owner of the premises (or his agent) is required to determine the way forward. It is not intended that a system which operates correctly but lacks records be condemned and replaced rather the way forward would be retrospective Risk Assessment and information gathering on component parts and design information (where this is still available) to show correct design.
At each maintenance visit the first step is to obtain the Log Book from the owner of the premises (or his agent) to familiarise yourself with the system, its design parameters, any problems, practical or technical, that have occurred since the last visit (or since handover if this is the first maintenance visit), any modifications made to the system or the environment in which it is working, and any proposed works which may affect the system so that advice can be given. It may be necessary to discuss Log Book entries with the owner of the premises or his agent to obtain a clear understanding.
Where alterations to the system have been made or components replaced (particularly where failed components are obsolete and have been replaced with current components) Log Book information may not have been updated and this should be done as part of the maintenance visit.
NOTE:- Where alterations have been made to the system, or where damage to the system has been repaired, the owner of the system may have sought the best cost option. Whilst this may maintain full functionality of the system peripheral items like updating the Log Book may not have been included in the price. Alternatively, the owner, knowing a maintenance visit was due, may have deliberately chosen to delay updating to minimise costs.
The first step is to carry out a visual inspection of the system to ensure that the original design is compliant and still valid, and that there is no damage to the system.
The object is to determined what has physically changed since the system was designed, what effect it has on performance of the system (if any) and what needs to be done to restore the system to its intended functionality. This may be as simple as relocation hanging signs, relocation or reorientation of items of furniture, or relocation of test switches away from trucking routes, but in some cases additional luminaires may be required. Where a system has not been regularly maintained or where no Log Book data is available it may be necessary to carry out a survey and issue a Verification of Existing Installation certificate and prepare a Log Book.
The next step is to carry out electrical and functionality tests in accordance with other parts of this document and the latest edition of BS7671 and issue the appropriate documentation including updating of the Log Book.