New Standards Set For Emergency & Exit Lighting Legislation

Standards Australia has set new building regulations for emergency and exit lighting requirements. Effective January 2016, the new legislation includes the mandatory installation of a new test switch when an existing emergency or exit light is being changed over by an electrician, to a fitting that is not the same type, in the same location and same wattage as the current one; this falls under clause 1.7 of AS2293.1.

AS/NZS 2293 Emergency Lighting for Buildings covers three parts:

Part (i) Installation
Part (ii) Maintenance
Part (iii) Performance of Luminaires

Changes to any part of the emergency and exit lighting standards (AS2293.1) must be implemented by Facility and Property Managers, for building compliance.

Although the changes are substantial, in this article we are covering only manually tested Single Point Systems (the most common type).

Single Point Emergency and Exit Lighting Systems were implemented in the 1990’s. In 2012, emergency and exit lighting became a national standard, following the publication of the AS/NZS 3000:2007 Amendment 2 and AS 2293.1.

What are the changes associated with Emergency & Exit Lighting for Property Managers?

For properties under your management, there are four main changes that will impact the cost of replacing, or installing additional emergency and exit lights. These changes don’t need to be implemented during the six monthly testing, these changes need only apply when:

(i) a new fitting is added, or
(ii) an existing fitting is replaced with a new fitting, that is different from the current one

1. Circuit Monitoring

Circuit monitoring must be applied to an added circuit, or when a fitting is replaced. The intent is to provide lighting when there is a loss of general lighting, to allow a person to vacate a section of the building.

How it works
Upon failure of the electrical supply to any lighting circuit within a building, circuit monitoring will detect that a lighting circuit has been de-energised and will automatically activate the emergency and exit lighting. Once the lighting circuit has re-energised, the emergency and exit lighting will de-activate and return to charging state.

2. Emergency Test Switch

An emergency test switch must be applied to an added circuit, or when a fitting is replaced.

How it works
An emergency test switch is used as a manual test facility. The buttons on the test switch are used for testing purposes (i.e. enable/disable prolong, set duration time, enable/disable monitoring lines). For six month scheduled testing, the test switch is used to control the emergency and exit lighting without affecting any other part of the electrical installation.

3. Dedicated Emergency & Exit Circuits

Any emergency or exit fitting added or replaced to a circuit, must be on a dedicated circuit for emergency and exit lighting only. If this existing circuit is mixed (e.g. the same circuit as general lighting or power) it must be rewired on a dedicated circuit, back to an emergency test switch.

4. RCD’s for Emergency & Exit Circuits

RCD’s are no longer a mandatory requirement for emergency and exit lighting circuits. In the past if an emergency or exit light was replaced and the circuit was not RCD protected, there were additional costs for installing an RCD.

To avoid the occurrence of a faulty tube or globe, faulty switch, battery or charging unit it’s important to perform routine electrical maintenance of exit and emergency lighting and equipment.


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