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emergency lighting in communal areas


binky

Question

Have been looking at a new build site (still under construction in parts) consisting of various small blocks of flats mostly 3 stories high with 6 to 8 flats directly off stairs. Now contractors seem to have fitted emergency back-up lighting in communal stairwells to flats, but no key switches for isolation to test. Landlord supply is next to front door to each stairwell in locked cupboard, so could be argued that it isn't hard to open cupboard, switch off supply to stairs and perform test that way, but I understood it that key switch should be adjacent to each fitting - I am right in thinking this????

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As Andy has already said the mcb could be used to test emergency lighting.

However when local lighting circuits are used as supply for the emergencies it is often far easier to put test switches in local area's, this aids testing as you only isolate the ones on say that floor.

I feel it is always good practice to put in a dedicated key switch for emergency lighting.

MCB means all lights out for duration of testing for 3 hour backup! not good I would say and probably illegal in staircases where permanant lighting is required as per H&S guidlines.

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Binky mate,

It`s made by "ACT meters" (01744 886660), and is called a "luminaire battery tester"

It was featured in "connections" magazine (NICEIC publication)- issue 167 (Autumn `08), on page 65

HTH

Martyn

here is the website

here are the instructions

:D

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As said, there should be a test switch for all emergency lights, doesn't have to be at each fitting, the origin of the circuit is fine. Perhaps your job was altered and there is a key switch in the electric cupboard.

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after a quick read of the instructions it could take you longer to test if you had more than 4 units to test

its takes 18min to test

then you got to wait 5 minutes for the tester to cool downbefore you can test another battery.

than let the unit recharge for 15minutes

seems alot of work to me

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On the last block of flats I did I fitted a test switch that you could turn to do a 15 minute test, 1 hour test, or 3 hour tester off completely. it would then reset set it self.

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Link works :D

How much? Where did you get it from?

Denmans stock CP gear, and trhey are about

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after a quick read of the instructions it could take you longer to test if you had more than 4 units to test

its takes 18min to test

then you got to wait 5 minutes for the tester to cool downbefore you can test another battery.

than let the unit recharge for 15minutes

seems alot of work to me

Shame you can't do a circuit with multiple units - its a great idea but by the time you've opened up 4 or more lights it would take ages.

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However when local lighting circuits are used as supply for the emergencies it is often far easier to put test switches in local area's, this aids testing as you only isolate the ones on say that floor.

I feel it is always good practice to put in a dedicated key switch for emergency lighting.

MCB means all lights out for duration of testing for 3 hour backup! not good I would say and probably illegal in staircases where permanant lighting is required as per H&S guidlines.

This is what I am concerned about, apart from being good practice, I thought it was a requirement to fit key switches, but its trying to find a directive that states this with regards to H&S. In these particular premises the stairwells only have 6-8 light fittings and all are emergency back-up, so if leccy is off you would expect all lights to be maintained, with perhaps a few duff units, so minimum light levels should be maintained regardless, plus there is plenty of natural daylight on the stairs anyway.

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Perhaps your job was altered and there is a key switch in the electric cupboard.

Definetly not.

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On the last block of flats I did I fitted a test switch that you could turn to do a 15 minute test, 1 hour test, or 3 hour tester off completely. it would then reset set it self.

Sounds like a really good retrofit idea - are these switches expensive??

If I'm right its 15min test weekly, 1 hour monthly, and 3 hour test yearly.

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Yes, but don`t forget.........

After the 3 hr test, systems must be in place to protect against EM failure during the charging period, as the batteries would be depleted, and not provide 3 hr light output as required by BS.......

There is a new piece of kit on the market which will test EM batteries to the 3 hr point in 6 seconds, without draining them. If you`ve got a lot of these units to do, it may be worth looking into?......

HTH

KME

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...

There is a new piece of kit on the market which will test EM batteries to the 3 hr point in 6 seconds, without draining them. If you`ve got a lot of these units to do, it may be worth looking into?......

HTH

KME

Sounds interesting - any clues as to what its called or where to find one KME?

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Stand by mate - it was featured in an old copy of PE - I`ve got it around here somewhere............../.

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Agreed; but you haven`t drained the cells; which increases their lifespan :)

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This is what I am concerned about, apart from being good practice, I thought it was a requirement to fit key switches, but its trying to find a directive that states this with regards to H&S. In these particular premises the stairwells only have 6-8 light fittings and all are emergency back-up, so if leccy is off you would expect all lights to be maintained, with perhaps a few duff units, so minimum light levels should be maintained regardless, plus there is plenty of natural daylight on the stairs anyway.

All I go by is the emergency lighting regulations, all the lighting I have done conforms to all regs apart from I have to put a deviation if I do not measure the lux levels lol as if!

On the certificates it mentions suitable testing and maintenance, and requires a log book to be issued before any certificate is acceptable.

The log book requires the responsible person to test at regular intervals and make a note of these tests in the log book.

I would think that most of these tests, especially in corridoors and stairwells would be against all H&S regulations, unless a dedicated key test switch was available.

Having no lighting for a three hour test would leave most people open to a public liability sue.

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Binky mate,

It`s made by "ACT meters" (01744 886660), and is called a "luminaire battery tester"

It was featured in "connections" magazine (NICEIC publication)- issue 167 (Autumn `08), on page 65

HTH

Martyn

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the MCB can be used.

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the MCB can be used.

Fair enough - funny thing is that test points were obviously planned originally as there are surface pattress boxes next to the fittings with blank plates but no key switch fitted. Stairs are also all glass fronted so its not exactly dark if tested during daytime

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they probably wired it wrong so change it

either that, or elf n safety says they cant put the test point in because there not disabled access enough, or the caretakers isnt capable or using steps to reach it

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suspect wired it wrong, plus site work coincided with building crash so suspect cutting corners is a strong candidate.

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