Blake Fire and Security Systems

When Firemen & Electricians Get Emergency Lighting Regulations Wrong!

Date: 2 May 2017
Categories:

It's so easy for the Responsible Person to be tempted by the less expensive quote. But buying cheap may not get the compliance you crave... And you could end up buying twice!

It's a false economy and the perfect way to fall foul of emergency lighting regulations and the Fire Safety Inspector!

Surely Cheap Can Cover Emergency Lighting Regulations Adequately?

Sadly, equipment that will save the day if the worst happens isn't cheap. It needs to be built properly to hold up in a fire.

We do understand that the cost of emergency lighting coupled to the fire detection system and signage, extinguishers etc. can mount up. But cutting corners is rarely the right option because your emergency lighting requirements will not be properly met. And that means you are not complying with the Law.

That cheaper quote is so tempting...

Okay, here are some assumptions and misunderstandings that make the less expensive quote so alluring:

  • the cheaper equipment looks the same so it is the same
  • the full price is a lot cheaper
  • the electrician you've used for years is qualified and insured
  • surely, the fireman understands the Fire Safety Order (FSO) well enough for your school or commercial building to comply with emergency lighting regulations

Errr, we're afraid not. Read on and all will be revealed...

Emergency Lighting Regulations

Who understands Emergency Lighting Regulations?

Emergency Lighting Regulations are not understood by the vast majority of electricians, nor firemen for that matter, because they simply haven't had the specialist training.

The wise choice is to use an expert to design and install your emergency lighting system. Someone who understands emergency lighting requirements and regulations, so your school or commercial building complies with the Law.

Five things your electrician could easily get wrong when designing and installing your emergency lighting:

  1. Colour of the environment - dark walls and carpet reflect less light than light walls and laminate. This affects the number of emergency lights required in a given room.
  2. Emergency lights have specific spacing data - there's huge scope for error. Some lights are fine spaced 15m apart but if you choose ones that only illuminate to 6m, you're not complying with regulations.
  3. Direction of the light - turn the light 90 degrees, i.e. think moving from portrait to landscape, and you only get 3.5m coverage! That's not the 6m coverage promised on the packaging. Again you won't comply.
  4. Professionals fit ICEL approved equipment - electricians or firemen may choose cheaper products, but will they hold up in a fire? Who knows, but ICEL approved products will!
  5. Professionals confirm their design with specialist software - this ensures the design complies with legislation e.g. 1 lux illumination in corridors

Choosing a professional who understands Emergency Lighting Regulations is easy...

To ensure your system is designed, installed and maintained by someone who knows the Law just ask this one simple question.

"Do you have NSI accreditation for Emergency Lighting?"

How easy is that?

Then you will need to check on the NSI website, this post explains how. Look for:

NSI Gold accreditation covering BAFE SP203-4 Emergency Lighting Scheme The Design, Installation, Commissioning and Handover, Verification and Maintenance of Emergency Lighting Systems to the British Standard.

Blake Fire & Security Systems are one of only a handful of Essex-based BAFE SP203-4 and NSI Gold approved Fire and Security Companies who can make sure you fulfil your duty of care to the latest standards.

Remember, cheap means non-compliance and increased RISK! The following cautionary tale of an Essex school that choose the cheap option exemplifies both!

Buy Cheap Buy Twice!!!

Compliance with legislation does not go hand in hand with cutting corners. If compliance with the Law is important to you, and you want to keep your school and its users safe, the cheap option really isn't the best choice. It can even end up costing MORE than the higher quote!

Case in point, Simon Blake, Emergency Lighting Manager, designed a system for a school in North Essex, which had neglected fire safety for some time. Unsurprisingly, a lot of work needed to be done to bring fire safety up to the required standard.

The total quote came to about £14,000. It sounds like a lot of money but, because Blake Fire & Security Systems are accredited and fully qualified to design and install emergency lighting, compliance is assured!

The school sent the quote out to other suppliers and eventually found someone who installed a system for £7,000. Sadly, on inspection, the entire job was completely unsatisfactory - even the basics weren't right, i.e. emergency lights didn't come on when required!

It turns out that the school had employed a fireman to do the work. Suddenly, he wasn't answering the phone or emails and, without accreditation, had no-one to answer to! He wasn't even a qualified electrician. Clearly, the wrong choice of installer!

The entire job will need to be started again from scratch. That less expensive quote doesn't look so enticing now, does it!

There's more to Fire Safety than you think

Choosing the right company to design and install your emergency lighting is just one obligation the Responsible Person needs to get right. There's much more to consider.

Click the image below to download your free fire safety guide so you and your school don't make the mistake of choosing the cheap option over the right option!

10 things the responsible person must know

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