This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.


Lighting the Way to Safety

LED technology aids compliance to legislation, reduces costs and is green, says Stuart Davies of Illuminex.

Introduced in 2006, BS 5266-1:2005, requires the owner or occupier of public buildings and commercial premises to ensure the continued operation of an emergency lighting system in the event of the failure of mains power. Escape lighting is required to: indicate clearly and unambiguously the escape routes, provide illumination along such routes to allow safe movement towards and through the exits provided and it must
ensure that fire alarm call points, fire fighting equipment and first aid posts provided along escape routes can be readily located. In addition, depending upon the classification of the system, a regime of daily, monthly and annual testing of every luminaire in the system is required, with accurate records being kept.

Maintained luminaires and exit signs must be checked daily, and both maintained and non-maintained operated for 10 minutes every month and run for one or three hours every year. For the user this is obviously labour intensive, therefore, if all of this routine testing could be carried automatically it could have significant cost and operational benefits for the end user.

From the contractor’s point of view, the strengthening of the regulations in this area means there is a lot of upgrade business to be gained because the investment case is compelling. The capital investment in a modern system will have a short payback time as on-going maintenance labour costs and energy consumption can be dramatically reduced. Contracting companies who are already actively involved in the design and installation of fire systems will find that emergency lighting installation is very familiar territory.

New manufacturers are harnessing the power of modern electronics to make life for the installer and user simpler. For the contractor, modular designs reduce stock holding and simplify installation. Ease of installation is important in driving costs down; the luminaires can be installed in a two-stage process, with a common flush fitting or surface mounting base units wired and installed at first fix; the light unit then push-fitted into the base when required. The latest flush fitting base units are a selfsecuring design that pushes up through the suspended ceiling, so top access is not required to fit either the base or the light unit. Luminaires are required in both open areas and corridors; to simplify the installation process, a push-fit
rotatable lens converts one type to the other, reducing stock-holding. For the user, the replacement of the traditional fluorescent lamp by high intensity solid- state light sources and advanced battery technology, dramatically reduces the lifetime cost of ownership.

Once installed, the critical elements of the system are continuously monitored; an alarm is initiated if any parameter drifts outside its operating limits. The daily, monthly and annual test requirements are carried out
automatically and stored in local memory for later recovery by using a “Walk-by” data capture capability of an
infrared hand-held unit when the units are installed in stand-alone mode. Alternatively the luminaires can be given a unique address and be wired on loops from a central control panel to which the information is automatically transferred, from where it can be downloaded to a PC. In such a system, each luminaire has
a unique address, so when it is connected to a central monitoring panel, the location of every luminaire in the system is identified with a label. Each unit can also incorporate red and green LEDs and a sounder, providing local audible and visual indication. A typical panel will support up to five loops with each loop consisting of up to 250 luminaires, blade signs or bulkhead fittings. For operational convenience each loop can be broken down into test areas to ensure that the standards are met whereby all of the luminaires within the same section of the build have different test schedules. Thirty-two panels can be networked, giving a potential 40,000-point installation controlled, monitored and managed from a single point.

Contact Details and Archive...

Related Articles...

Print this page | E-mail this page

Electrical Products