Skip to main content


Hi, my name is
and I’d like to request a call-back on the following number




4 Devonshire Street


London, W1W 5DT


UK: +44 (0)20 3858 0604


[email protected]

North America



600 Third Avenue

New York



NY: +1 407 926 0260


[email protected]

Is your emergency lighting compliant?

Ask yourself three simple questions:

  • If I had to leave this building in an emergency situation, can I do it safely?
  • How many other occupiers in the building can do the same?
  • If we’ve had a refurbishment, does it comply with British Standards?

If the answer is no, or you aren’t sure, to any of these then your business or building may not be compliant and you and your colleagues may not be able to evacuate safely.

What do you need to know?

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, UK law and EU Directive was designed to harmonise signs across Europe. Under this, all signs should have been replaced by the end of 1998, however, there is still non-compliant emergency signage in use across Europe.

To ensure your emergency lighting scheme is compliant, risk assessments and site surveys should be carried out, identifying which areas require emergency lighting and whether the signs already in place need to be updated.

Key Requirements

  • Emergency exits and escape routes must have illuminated signs indicating clear route of escape to a point of safety
  • Where direct sight of an emergency exit isn’t possible, illuminated directional signs must be provided pointing towards the emergency exit
  • Emergency lighting must be sited near first-aid equipment, fire alarm call points, fire extinguishers, fire alarm panels and electrical distribution boards
  • Emergency lighting must enable safe exit in the event of a full power or lighting failure
  • Every change of direction leading to an escape door must be illuminated
  • Escape lighting signs must clearly highlight all exit routes. Particular attention should be paid to potential danger areas (changes of level, flights of stairs etc.)

Duration of battery back-up

The building use and evacuation strategy dictates the battery back-up required for specific emergency lighting systems. For instance, any building used as sleeping accommodation, including hospitals, requires a minimum of three hours battery back-up.

Maintenance of your scheme and energy efficiency

Regular testing and maintenance of emergency lighting systems must be carried out making sure the system is fully operational. In addition, spares for consumable items, such as lamps, must always be readily available.  Significant cost and energy savings can be made with the installation of an energy efficient emergency lighting scheme, achieved through detailed site surveys and analysis.

We’re happy to assist in reviewing what you have, and each requirement, based on your specific asset database.

“We’re a specialist technical asset management consultancy, providing innovative technical and digital solutions to clients across the built environment.

Our ELIAS technology provides clients across the globe with wholistic and dynamic asset management and compliance solutions.”

Keep up to date with industry best practice and legislative changes via our website. Alternatively, you can contact one of our technical team members who will be happy to help you further.

Further reading


Those undertaking works on emergency lighting schemes must have achieved the following specific standards:

  • BS 5266-1:2016 Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises
  • BS EN 60598-2-22 British and European standard for emergency luminaires
  • BS 5499-10:2014 Guidance for the selection and use of safety signs and fire safety notices
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 became Law on the 1 October 2006, providing a minimum fire safety standard in all non-domestic premises. This order replaced all previous laws in England and Wales meaning that many schemes installed prior to 2005 are likely to be non-compliant

Emergency lighting


The above guidelines are relevant with UK legislation and intended to steer building owners, operators, occupiers and maintenance providers with greater levels of knowledge of the obligations placed upon them.