Your basic guidebook to emergency lighting installation

Is the approach to hire electricians for emergency light installations correct? The question is pretty common and pops up frequently. As a matter of fact there is no legislative binding that you have to hire the service from a professional installer but there are strict rules and bindings that you have to follow carefully. If you fail to satisfy those rules you will wind up in jail; however, if you are lucky you have to pay a considerable sum of money as fine without going to jail.

But before getting into those details, let us go through an introductory note about emergency lights.

Emergency lights – what are those and what are the uses?

The main purpose of emergency lights is to provide key lighting whenever required. One of the commonest examples of this category of lighting is the illuminated EXIT sign that we see above a fire escape. The light is expected to continue illuminating even when power supply to the building is completely cut out. Inspite of the reigning darkness people inside the building can find the exit easily and find their way to safety.  

There are more examples of this category of lighting. As a mean to ensure safety low power lighting starts glowing when the power supply to a building gets cut. This low power lighting is yet another example of emergency lighting. In this example the lighting is much more powerful than regular lighting and offers sufficient illumination to get around smoothly although it is independent of the regular power supply.

This type of lighting is utmost useful for buildings that have no source of natural light like underground space. In a power cut situation the interior will be completely dark. 

Installation of emergency lighting may vary from building to building. But as a thumb rule common areas like a lobby in an apartment building, large open spaces and obviously escape routes should better have emergency lighting installed.

Is emergency lighting important for me?

The examples cited above deal with public buildings like apartment blocks. The regulations for emergency lighting obviously differ from region to region. But as a general rule, any non domestic building must be safe for occupants all the time even during power cuts. Therefore it is essential for both commercial and public buildings to have emergency lighting installed. 

But what about residential ones – the place we call home? The UK has no regulation on emergency lighting for domestic properties. So you can go the way you want to. However the regulations bind you to replace your fuse box only by a certified electrician and really it is thus far and no further. A typical residential property is never too sprawling. Thus a torch or two is considered enough to keep in the homes. 

But considering the practical scenario if you want to have emergency lighting installed in your residential property then obviously you can do that. If you feel like you can install emergency lighting everywhere around your building. But if you want to be sensible with the installation follow the rules practiced in public and commercial buildings. 

  • Does your house have large open spaces?
  • Is there any area in your residential property that is completely sealed off from natural light?
  • Is there any area in your residential property that has no direct exit (like a basement room)?

Consider these points before moving on to your next steps. Consider your house as a non domestic building. Then you consider the locations where installation of emergency lighting is necessary. This way you make a practical approach to deal with the matter.

Let us clarify the basics once more. There is no government regulation that ties your hand down. So you can go innovative with the installation as well both in terms of placement and design.

But hiring an unaccredited electrician for emergency lighting installation is by all means a bad move although you save some cash that way. It involves a lot of risk.

The majority of electricians are completely unaware about the legislations related to emergency lighting. Since it involves a lot of technicalities, non compliance issues are sure to arise at some point of time or the other when wrong people are entrusted to do the job.

A skilled and knowledgeable electrician will surely deliver a high standard electrical job to such projects. But the other aspect – which is emergency lighting – is likely to stay grossly overlooked. The common non compliance problems include the following –

  • When all the regular lighting is switched off, emergency lighting will not glow.
  • Illumination at the illuminated exit signs when detected by light meter would show a much lower intensity than required by legislation.

There are several other issues as well and on the whole the emergency lighting installation project gets unnecessarily stretched to rectify all the defects when you hire a non accredited electrician. It also spirals up the project cost. 

Correcting mistakes once the original installation is over often prove cumbersome if not only inconvenient. And if all the issues go unnoticed and there is an incident of fire, the responsible person may easily wind up behind bar or may have to part with a hefty penalty. Either way the pain proves to be severe. In addition to that there is also the issue of conscience to deal with. 

Thankfully you are the one who can avoid all the horror stories and you can do that easily. How? Here are some basic tips.

  • Never be tempted to accept the more reasonable quote while installing emergency lighting in your home or property. 
  • Always rely on the expertise and skills of an accredited electrician for such projects.
  • Remember a short term saving is appealing but it may finally lead you to spending more along with claiming the peace of your mind.

A reliable electrician in Hammersmith suggests keeping one thing in the mind. Emergency lighting is never actually meant to be as bright as typical lighting. This is because emergency lighting is designed to last as longer as possible feeding on stored power in unusual circumstances of power outage

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