Initial design is conducted by situating luminaires to reveal specific hazards and highlight safety equipment and signs, in addition to providing illumination to assist safe travel along the escape route. This should be performed regardless of whether it is an emergency escape route or an open (anti-panic) area. Only when this is accomplished should the type of luminaire or its light output be considered. BS5266 Pt 7: 1999 requires that the luminaires sited at points of emphasis must comply with BS EN 60 598-2-22.

Specific locations where a luminaire must be provided are:

1a 1b 1c
At each door All safety exit signs Outside and near each exit
2a 2b 2c
Near stairs so that each tread receives direct light At each change of direction Near each first aid point
3a 3b 3c
Near any other change of floor level At each intersection of corridors At each piece of fire fighting equipment and call point

Note: the term near means within 2 metres measured horizontally


Section 4.1 of BS5266 Pt 7 states that “Signs which are provided at all exits intended to be used in an emergency and along escape routes shall be illuminated to indicate unambiguously the route of escape to a point of safety”. Where direct sight of an emergency exit is not possible, an illuminated directional sign (or series of signs) shall be provided to assist progression towards the emergency exit.

• Sign formats should not be mixed

exit1 BS2560: 1975
Old-style signs now obsolete. Should have been replaced by December 1998

exit2 BS 5499 Pt 1
Signs are still acceptable, if they are already in the building

exit3 European Signs Directive Format
This came into force on 1st April 1996, under The Signs Directive

If there is any doubt as to the most appropriate format of sign, guidance should be obtained from the local Fire Authority.


Locate luminaires at the following essential areas in the buildings. These locations are not part of the escape route but because of their risk they require protection by emergency lighting.

a) Lift cars – although only in exceptional circumstances will they be part of the escape route, do present a problem in that the public may be trapped in them in the event of a supply failure b) Toilets – all toilets for the disabled    and facilities exceeding 8m2 floor area or without borrowed lights. c) Escalators – to enable users to get off them safely.
4a 4b 4c
d) Motor generator, control or plant rooms – require battery supplied emergency lighting to assist any maintenance or operating personnel in the event of failure. e) Covered car parks – the normal pedestrian routes should be provided with non-maintained luminaires of at least 1 hour duration.



6aWhen the points of emphasis have been covered, it is essential to provide any additional luminaires to ensure that minimum illuminance levels are met to enable the routes to be used safely. In addition,  every compartment on the escape route must have at least two luminaires, to provide some light in the event of luminaire failure.





Areas larger than 60m², open areas with an escape route passing through them, or hazards identified by the building risk assessment all require emergency lighting. The current standard is easy to design for and to verify, promoting systems that provide good uniformity rather than ones that use a few large output luminaires.

• Light Level Requirements

BS5266 Pt 7/EN1838 – 4.3 calls for 0.5 lux minimum of the empty core area, which excludes a border of 0.5m of the perimeter of the area. Spacing tables or a suitable computer program provide simple and accurate data that can easily be used. The spacing tables for 0.5 lux are de-rated on the same basis as those for escape routes


BS5266 Part 10: 2008 provides guidance on the method of assessing the requirements for emergency lighting to High Risk  areas, with recommendations for a number of selective examples such as kitchens, Plant Rooms Refuges, First Aid Rooms and fire control equipment. Typically the recommended illumination level is 15 Lux on to the task either horizontal or vertical.

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