Exit Signs & Exit Lights – The regulations Building Managers need to know

On May 1st, 2014 an amendment to E4.8 of the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC) was implemented, permitting the use of photoluminescent (PL) exit lights and signs. All PL exit signs must now have a dedicated, uninterrupted light source and emergency luminaire backup. An escape or exit sign luminaire maintained in operation does comply with the current regulations and is the preferred option for this purpose.

How should PL exit signs be used?
This has been an area of concern amongst electricians, building owners and building managers, as to how PL exit signs may be used. When installing a PL exit sign, it also requires the installation of two additional luminaires. It firstly stipulates that a PL exit sign must have a dedicated, uninterrupted light source continuously illuminating 100 lux onto the face of the sign and secondly, that an emergency luminaire must be installed within 2 metres of an exit door or where there is a dedicated point of entry/exit. Unlike electrically powered exit signs, PL material cannot achieve a light output to be classified as an emergency luminaire, so the additional emergency luminaire is essential for it to stay well lit and for the required duration of 60 minutes following a power failure.

What are the safety and legal regulations?
Exit and emergency lighting, or escape lights are an essential occupational health and safety device. Therefore, there are legal requirements which must be complied with; the NCC and AS/NZS 2293.1 and the WH&S legislation. In Victoria the maximum penalties for a corporation are $1.3 million dollars and $625,000 respectively, and significant financial penalties and possible imprisonment are imposed for serious breaches by an individual.

What are the costs associated with Luminaire LED and PL exit signs?
The installation costs associated with the two additional luminaires does have a significant price impact. The supply and installation cost of a standard LED exit sign is approximately $250, with the ongoing energy costs of $3.16 per year. The supply and installation cost of a PL exit sign, accompanying emergency light and separate luminating light source is approximately $550, with the ongoing energy costs of around $21.56 per year. In addition to these costs, there are the expenses associated with the ongoing maintenance. (A detailed breakdown is available from Lighting Council of Australia.)

*Lighting Council Australia

Call Prolux Electrical Contractors on 1800 800 880 for a no obligation discussion on how we can provide you with programmed electrical maintenance for the buildings you manage.

I think I’ve tripped the safety switch, what do I do?

What is a safety switch?

Safety switches are devices connected to electrical cables within a home, factory or alike and they have the ability to detect the loss of a current from a particular circuit and cut off power to the affected electrical device in as little as 25 milliseconds. Safety switches are designed to save lives; they prevent electric shock and electrocution. They have become mandatory on power outlet circuits of new homes since 1992 and on light power circuits in most Australian states since 2000. Many older homes and business residences don’t have safety switches installed which means things like air-conditioning, hot water systems and kitchen stoves aren’t protected. As of 2008, all residential rental properties were required to have safety switches installed. Workplace supervisors have a responsibility to make sure that RCDs (residual current devices) are installed within their workplace and fitted to electrical circuits wherever hand-held electrical tools are to be used. RCDs are to be installed by a licensed electrician only.

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