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
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