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How to Comply with BS 5266-1:2016 for Emergency Lighting of Premises: Free Download and Tips


This part of BS 5266 gives recommendations and guidance on the factors that need to be considered in the design of and the installation and wiring of the electrical emergency lighting systems specified in BS EN 50172/BS 5266-8 in order to provide the lighting parameters specified in BS EN 1838/BS 5266-7.




bs 5266 part 1 2016 free download


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Guidance on the illumination needed for safe movement and recommendations for lighting in areas with fixed seating are also given. This part of BS 5266 is not applicable to dwellings; its provisions however are applicable to common access routes within multi-storey dwellings.


The British Standard provides the emergency lighting designer with clear guidelines to work to. BS 5266-1 relates not only to hotels, clubs, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and colleges, licensed premises, offices, museums, shops but also multi-storey dwellings. Although the standard recommends the types and backup durations for each category of premises, it should be remembered that standards define a minimum requirement and that a higher specification may be required for a particular application.


This part of BS 5266 has been prepared by Technical Committee CPL/34/9. Togetherwith BS EN 1838, it supersedes BS 5266-1:1988, which is withdrawn. This new editionof BS 5266-1 has been produced to take into account the requirements of, and removeany requirements which conflict with, BS EN 1838. The other parts of this standard are:


1 ScopeThis part of BS 5266 relates to the provision ofelectric emergency lighting in most types ofpremises, other than private domestic premises,cinemas and existing premises to which theprovisions of CP 1007, covering maintained lightingfor cinemas, have been applied by the enforcingauthority. Premises not covered are those usedprimarily as:


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I/We hereby certify that the emergency lighting installation, or part thereof, at the above premises has beendesigned by me/us and to the best of my/our knowledge and belief, the system complies with the appropriaterecommendations given in BS EN 1838 and BS 5266 `Emergency Lighting' Part 1:1999 `Code of practice for theemergency lighting of premises other than cinemas and certain other specified premises used for entertainment',published by BSI, for a category ...........................................* installation, except as stated below. Photometricdesign data is appended to this certificate.


I/We hereby certify that the emergency lighting installation, or part thereof, at the above premises has beeninstalled by me/us in accordance with the system designer's specification and to the best of my/our knowledgeand belief, the installation complies with the appropriate recommendations given in BS EN 1838 and BS 5266`Emergency Lighting' Part 1:1999 `Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises other than cinemasand certain other specified premises used for entertainment', published by BSI, for a category .........................................................................* installation, except as stated below.


I/We hereby certify that the emergency lighting installation, or part thereof, at the above premises has beeninspected and tested by me/us and to the best of my/our knowledge and belief, the installation complies at thetime of my/our test with the recommendations given in BS EN 1838 and BS 5266 `Emergency Lighting'Part 1:1999 `Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises other than cinemas and certain otherspecified premises used for entertainment', published by BSI, for a category ........................................... *installation, except as stated below. Photometric verification data is appended, including light loss factors onphotometric design, or the test data obtained from either authenticated data (see BS EN 1838) or themeasurements carried out in accordance with annex A of BS 5266-1:1999.


This part of BS 5266 gives recommendations and guidance on the factors that need to be taken into account in the design, installation and wiring of electrical emergency lighting systems, in order to provide the lighting performance needed for safety of people in the building in the event of failure of the supply to the normal lighting.


It should be recognised that in earlier editions of BS 5266-1, a reduced level of illumination of 0.2 lx was permitted in escape routes, provided they were kept unobstructed at all times. However, in practice, ensuring corridors and stairways (that formed part of an escape route) were clear and hazard free at all times proved difficult to manage, mainly because items such as photocopiers, display cabinets, and seating were often located in such locations. As a result, where such locations are found to have a reduced level of emergency lighting it must be confirmed that this provision remains suitable for the application.


Emergency Lighting is essential for the safety of occupants in all buildings where people meet. Under the Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety) 2005 it is a legal requirement and should be installed and tested in line with BS 5266:1 2016. In the event of a mains failure the emergency lighting system, including signage, should provide adequate lighting levels and directional indication to allow the occupant to move safely around the building, and exit if necessary, without accident or injury. Emergency Lighting is an essential part of a building safety system and is the responsibility of the building owner, occupier or manager to ensure compliance.


BS 5266 recommends the provision of horizontal illumination at floor level along the centre line of a defined escape route up to 2 metres in width should be not less than 1 lux. Note that the previous minimum was 0.2 lux along the centre line of an escape routes, and therefore systems installed prior to 2016 may not comply.


Care needs to be taken not to compromise the efficacy of the existing system. At the same time an LED upgrade affords an opportunity to achieve compliance with the updated standard BS 5266 (updated in 2016). We see many systems that do not fully comply.


The site manager asked us to provide a quotation to design, supply and install a fully compliant emergency lighting system. One which would meet the BS 5266-1:2016 standards. And to repair the external lighting.


For more information on the installation and maintenance of emergency lighting systems, download our free fire safety eBook. Need to discuss your requirements with one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff? Contact us today.


The legal requirements for emergency lighting testing under the British Standards Code of Practices for Emergency Lighting (BS 5266-1:2016) are that all emergency lights should be checked monthly by the responsible person and serviced at least once a year by a trained technician.


There are a number of methods that can be used and this depends on the nature of the job, therefore there is no specific right or wrong way. If we look at Clause 8.3.3 of BS5266-1 (Test facility) it states, 'The test device should not interrupt power to any other electrical equipment that could cause a hazard'. In practice if the switch isolates all the lights on the circuit, you should have sufficient light from the emergency lighting, and this method ensures that the emergency lights are reinstated upon completion of the test, however the test would have to be undertaken at a suitable time, perhaps out of hours. If the switch only isolates the emergency lights of the associated circuit, the test could be done at most time intervals. However this method often results in the emergency lights being left off, therefore the batteries are fully discharged in the event of an emergency. (if latter method is used, its good practice to install a neon light to the key switch, to indicate its position. This method used to form part of the AM2 practical exam for electricians).


If we refer to BS EN 50172 Clause 7.2.3 (Monthly) the NOTE states 'The period of simulated failure should be sufficient for the purpose of this clause whilst minimising damage to the system components e.g. lamps'. We therefore need to check with the manufacturer of the luminaires to verify this, and in practice this value is around 15 mins, therefore not as the term flick test suggests. Its important that this time is sufficient for the particular site and luminaires fitted. We also have to consider if the building may be subjected to extended periods of power outages, than the luminaire is designed for (i.e. annual black building test), as deep discharge can permanently damage the batteries. Again consultation with the manufacturer would be required. BS5266-1 Clause 8.3.3 (Test facility) repeats this for clarity.


The emergency lighting standards including BS 5266-1 are guides to good practice for standardized applications, therefore a particular site may have a valid reason for deviating from the standards. We need to remember that compliance with the standards, will deem to comply with your legal obligations, therefore the reasoning must demonstrate that the safety of the building will not be impaired by this, and should be documented in the associated risk assessment. All relevant parties must be notified and the details must be recorded in the completion certificate.


BS5266-1 states within Clause 8.2.6 (Segregation) The wiring of emergency lighting installations should be exclusive to the installation and separate from the wiring of any other circuits. This is in order to avoid the risk of mechanical damage to the emergency lighting cables. Where cables for emergency lighting circuits are installed in a common containment system such as trunking, ducting, cable basket or cable tray as you have suggested, this is fine, but they should not be shared with any other services unless they are segregated from each other by a partition meeting the requirements of this Clause (i.e. same base material as the common containment system, is rigid, mechanically strong, and continuous, without perforation and the same height as the sides of the common containment system).


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