Landlord Responsibilities for Emergency Light Testing

Safety Lights Regulations

Are you unsure about the landlord’s responsibility around emergency lighting? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

If you are a landlord or owner of any domestic or commercial property, it is your responsibility to ensure emergency light testing procedures and tests are carried out efficiently and correctly under the law. These are necessary to establish legal emergency lighting systems under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

We have put together a guide regarding the rules for emergency lights and testing regulations, based on type of accommodation, so read on to find out more.

What is the Emergency Lights Test Process? 

Emergency lights is lighting that provides illumination to your building if there were ever to be loss of power in your main system as well as giving reliable light to escape routes and fire equipment. As a landlord, it is important to ensure all your escape routes in corridors, stairways and lobbies are lit well and visible to people living in the building.

If you own a house, HMO, or flats, the amount of emergency lighting varies depending on how many storeys there are, how complex the layout is and how much daylight and street lighting you have. 

If you’re unaware of the processes regarding emergency light testing, be sure to book in time with a qualified emergency lighting engineer to make it easier!  

  • If you already have emergency lighting, the engineer will check the quality of the lighting. Any necessary battery changes or charging will be undertaken. 
  • Any faults that are discovered during the testing will be discussed with the customer and quotes for any necessary repairs will be given. 
  • Training can be made available for anyone who will need to have the responsibility of checking the lighting and conducting monthly tests. Annual tests should also be carried out to make sure emergency lights are working and creating the expected light level. 
  • Emergency lighting certifications should be made available to you, to verify your lighting complies with the law. 

What Emergency Lighting is Needed in Houses? 

If you are a landlord and own one or more houses, it is important to know what emergency light testing is needed for different types. With houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), if there are only two storeys, conventional lighting is only necessary. With HMOs up to three or four storeys, conventional and emergency lighting is again needed, especially if the route is difficult to navigate and there is no natural light. Finally, HMOs with five or six stories require emergency escape lighting as well as conventional lighting. It is important to take into consideration these emergency lighting regulations when the HMOs have shared cooking facilities too. 

Even in non-shared households, emergency lighting is needed. However, conventional lighting is only necessary in two storey houses. Although, for three to six storey houses, the combination of conventional lighting and emergency lighting is needed. Especially if the route is complex and there is no natural lighting. 

What Emergency Lighting is Needed in Flats? 

Emergency lighting is also required if you are a landlord who owns one or more flats, whether this be in self-contained or flats in multiple occupations (FMO). If you own a single storey or more of a building with FMO, conventional lighting as well as emergency escape lighting if needed is required. If there needs to be a fire or general emergency escape route, it will also be necessary to have this. For landlords who own self-contained flats, two to six storey buildings will need conventional lighting and emergency escape lighting too. 

Where is Emergency Lighting Needed?

So you know you need emergency lighting, but you also need to know what is needed and where it needs to be situated. Luminaries in lighting fitted altogether where necessary, containing one or more lamps with individual lights. For emergency lighting, the luminaries can be fitted in individual units or part of a system within the flat or house you own. Luminaries can be obtained in many variations, for example bulkhead, recessed louvres as well as illuminated fire escape signs for exits. However, LED lamps are becoming popular for conventional and emergency lighting, due to it’s longer life span (so no constant battery changing or charging). Furthermore, it releases less heat when lit, increasing its safety and efficiency in comparison to conventional lights.  

When positioning emergency lighting you should bear in mind there is a two metre rule, where possible. This would need to be done two metres from the ground or as close as possible and no lower than that. Moreover, the emergency lighting should be equally lit. It must also be 2 metres below:

  • Stairways and changes in floor levels
  • Exit doors and secondary escape exits where borrowed light and street lights may be poor
  • Change of directions
  • Corridor intersections
  • Alarm call points and fire fighting equipment 

To have emergency lights tested and installed, be sure to hire a lighting engineer who will ensure all these regulations are adhered to and carried out!

Need to know more? 

If you require more guidance on emergency light testing and the practices, be sure to refer to the British Standards Institution and Fire Safety orders. Below is a list of all the relevant information:  

BS 5266-1: 2016 Code of practice for emergency lighting of premises – gives general rules and guidance on the provision and operation of emergency lighting in most premises other than dwelling houses

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

BS EN 1838: 2013 Lighting applications – emergency lighting – specifies the illumination to be provided by emergency lighting (including luminance, duration and colour)

BS EN 50172: 2004/BS 5266-8: 2004 Emergency escape lighting systems – specifies the minimum provision and testing of emergency lighting for different premises

BS EN 60598-1: 2015 Luminaires.  General requirements and tests – see the 60598 series for particular requirements

BS EN 62034: 2013 Automatic test systems for battery powered emergency escape lighting-  specifies a test system for battery powered emergency lighting

BS EN 50171: 2001 Central power supply systems – specifies central power supply systems for emergency lighting luminaires.

If you are a landlord and need emergency light testing, UK Safety Management offers free quotes to carry out this service for you! We have specialist engineers who will find any emergency lights that need to be re-serviced and rectified. Fill out the following request form to receive a free no obligation quote from us, to keep your commercial property safe from asbestos.

About UKSM

With a decade of experience in the electrical and fire safety sector, we have firmly established ourselves as a trusted name in the industry. Our commitment to excellence has allowed us to serve a diverse clientele, including landlords, architects, developers, consultants, local authorities, and housing associations, overseeing a staggering 85,000 sites.

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