Emergency Lighting

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    Emergency Lighting

    I live in a flat in a block with 4 floors. I pay a service charge and have a long lease.

    Recently, the management company has changed the lighting in the communal areas to light switches that you have to push in and last for a few minutes before they pop out. There are 3 switches on my floor, but none outside my flat. Therefore, it is pitch black when I leave my flat most of the time. There is no window on the ground floor where I am.

    There doesn't seem to be any emergency lighting either and no emergency exit sign. Is this illegal?


    What does the fire risk assessment say? The way the law works is that you have to have a fire risk assessment and comply with it. They law is not prescriptive as to how you make the building safe, so it is not possible to give a definitive answer to your question without having some do a risk assessment on the actual building.

    It seems to be acceptable to have some horizontal travel before reaching a light switch, e.g. my block has a about 3m, on a level landing, to the push switch. However if there was a major refurbishment, I would have expected the switches t be replaced by motion detectors. However, I cannot find any guidance document on this. Note that the the corridor should be completely obstruction free anyway, so there should be nothing to bump into.

    You probably do need emergency lighting, but are you sure that you don't have it. Unless you operate a test switch or there is a power failure, you may not be able to tell.

    Emergency exit signs are only needed on alternative exits, so whether there is a need for one will depend on whether there is more than one safe exit route. People are expected to remember how they normally enter the building.


      Your FRA, under the fire safety order should cover emergency lighting, however your concern seems to be about walking in the now darkened communal area.
      perhaps the Health and Safety RA may be more appropriate as that must consider trips and falls and should include adequate lighting to prevent. Additionally i would be concerned regarding the presence of intruders.

      You dont say how far you must travel to reach a light switch and whether that route is level?



        Thats really a backwards step, you can get decent LED lights each with its own built in microwave sensor which will turn the light on when it notices movement.
        This would do away with all the push switches as all the lights will be powered but only on when someone is in the area
        you also get ones with built in emergency kits as well as a movement sensor built in


          Guidance does indicate that emergency escape lighting is expected in a 4 storey building. Push lighting can be used as primary lighting, but as others have said there are better alternatives. When I assess buildings with this type of lighting I would expect that the timer last sufficiently for me to press the switch furthest from the exit and reach the final exit without being plunged into darkness.

          The FRA does need to consider both primary and emergency escape lighting.


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