The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, familiarly known as ‘the RRO’, started in 2006. Replacing the fire certification system, the RRO placed the responsibility of fire safety of all buildings firmly in the hands of the occupier.
James Thorpe, business development manager at Thorlux Lighting, suggests that there are three key points which building designers and building managers should not ignore when it comes to lighting safety and the RRO:
1. Know your emergency lighting
The RRO hands over liability to the building owner who is legally obliged to ensure that necessary fire measures are in place. That includes the provision of emergency escape lighting.
As always, emergency lighting will have been installed into the building where needed but you can’t just ‘fit and forget’. There is a legal obligation to ensure that all emergency lighting is maintained in accordance with the regulations using regular maintenance and testing schedules, as set out in BS 5266.
However, in a complex building, such as a university campus with multiple locations, the testing regime is quite onerous. Every month a ‘function’ test must be carried out to ensure that every emergency light comes on when needed. This can be a costly exercise for a busy facilities manager. Along with this, there is also a requirement for a full-duration, annual test. This involves the whole emergency lighting system being turned on and running for its full-rated duration. In the UK this is usually three hours.
2. The Emergency Lighting Log Book
As a rule of thumb, large buildings have bigger problems and can often cause difficulties in scheduling testing regimes. This can lead to the annual test falling by the wayside.
You cannot quietly overlook testing. The regulations dictate that every test is recorded in the building’s own Emergency Lighting Log Book. The log book provides an audit trail of testing and maintenance.
3. Smart lighting solution
Automatic testing systems can greatly reduce the work load, saving time and money. SmartScan merges Thorlux’s Smart energy efficient indoor lighting controls - which are designed with group presence detection and individual daylight-based switching and dimming - with energy-saving Smart External lighting controls. It also incorporates Scanlight AT web-based emergency lighting testing and monitoring systems, combining all three into one wireless control system.
Emergency lighting test timings are set by the user on the SmartScan website to minimise inconvenience to users by testing during hours of low occupancy. The test results are saved and uploaded to a cloud-based server where they can be viewed online using any web enabled device.
Another easily overlooked but key requirement of the RRO, is keeping a maintenance log for emergency lighting. Cloud-based platforms store data off site in a secure manner.
Failure to comply with the RRO means the person responsible would face penalties including a potential prison term. So why take the risk? Especially when it can be easy to get on top of your emergency lighting regime.
For further information, please visit: www.thorlux.com.
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