Emergency lighting and in particular, escape route lighting and markings are perhaps the most neglected aspect in adherence to regulatory requirements in buildings.
Research over the past two years on a national basis clearly illustrates the majority of installations falling short of complying to compulsory National Building Regulations. More worrying, is the lack or misunderstanding of the requirements of the Regulations. This being the case in both the private and public sectors.
Many building owners seem to be under the impression that they are compliant, which is mostly not the case. Neither are Regulatory Authorities executing their duties to do inspections and insist on corrective action to improve the status quo. The respective insurance entities that we have thus far engaged seem to be more property and asset focused and less concerned on the safe evacuation of people from a building experiencing an emergency.
After intensive engagement with various municipal EMS Services, we are in agreement as to the specifications of both product and installation practices in respect of Emergency Escape Route Lighting.
The primary specification being SANS 10400-T: Fire Protection, to be read in conjunction with SANS 10114-2, VC8055 & SANS1464-2.
VC8055 is a compulsory product specification meant to be strictly enforced by the NRCS. Sadly, there is no evidence of this being the case.
Recent happenings where fires occurred clearly illustrate that emergency and escape route lighting and signage were either not working or non-existent! People's lives are being placed at risk because of those that are custodians of ensuring compliance whom, for whatever reason, are not fulfilling their responsibilities to the levels required.
Below is a set of pictograms illustrating the important aspect of escape route identification and lighting:
Mandatory Emergency Escape Lighting
Emergency Escape route lighting is mandatory as per the requirements for emergency lighting set out in SANS 10400-T: Fire Protection. Sections 4.29 & 4.30 of SANS10400-T give emphasis to signage and emergency lighting requirements. Special mention is made in SANS 10400-T section 4.30 that emergency escape route lighting must comply to SANS 10114-2 and SANS 1464-22 in respect to emergency light sources, the minimum lighting levels and the emergency lighting design.
VC8055 is a compulsory specification of which SANS 1464-22 is part of, therefore all emergency lighting luminaires have to have SANS 1464-22 certification to be compliant.
SANS 1464-22 compliant and approved emergency escape route lighting must be positioned as shown in the pictures below:
Note: The term 'near' means within 2 meters horizontally
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