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Topic Title: Emergency lighting installation
Topic Summary: Looking for solution to a plonker
Created On: 04 November 2012 03:36 PM
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 04 November 2012 03:36 PM
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Zs

Posts: 2863
Joined: 20 July 2006

Hello, and how is your Sunday?

Come with me to a London Theatre at which a few of us found more code 1s than you could shake a voltsick at.

Amongst other things just the most out of date and unfit for purpose emergency lighting system.

So it is in the process of being replaced. RCD protection is being added gradually, not all of it RCBO.

They elected not to have a formal design prepared for them, which, fortunately, I advocated in my report.

This morning I received a call from them, for advice. It appears that last night someone plugged an appliance into a socket and it tripped a board. The theatre was full and was plunged into darkness. None of the new emergency lights came on.

I now find that the installer has reconfigured the emergency lighting onto it's own distribution board. Er, Hello.

So here I am on a Sunday afternoon quoting a bit of Paul Cook at you;

'Emergency escape lighting is required to operate in the event of failure of any part of the normal lighting supply....' 4.1.2 Electricians' Guide to Emergency Lighting.

From the descriptions on the phone, the new DB for emergencies is in the dimmer pack room just beside the stage and is remote from a great deal of the building. I have no idea of the mental process involved. I won't be there until 20th November, have been called in to advise.

I'm trying to think of solutions to this and my head is turning toward some kind of low lux-level sensor which would activate the lighting in the areas affected last night.

Now, I'll get back to you soon as....I have an electrician just called to say he is on his way here to discuss his installation and I don't want him to see me doing this post because I am about to tell him he is a plonker. So I'll check in later to expand but if you have any thoughts on alternative activators for emergency lighting, and if they are legal, I'd be interested to know of them.

Zs
 04 November 2012 04:18 PM
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sparkxelectrical

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Zs,

we must catch up soon - you still have my drill....

Have you considered creating some form of monitoring system using contactors? You could have one contactor from each lighting circuit controlling the supply to the EM lights?
 04 November 2012 04:21 PM
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slittle

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I'd agree. Contactors from the local lighting circuits.

Low lux sensors can't work because the EL would come on when it's dark me thinks


Stu
 04 November 2012 04:46 PM
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Zs

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That could be it. contactors. Still a whopping cable run to be seen to but not my problem unless they choose to commission me on this subject. I've just pulled out of giving advice pending something more concrete than a Sunday panic.

It appears he has prepared only for a power cut, which is what he thinks of as an emergency, and that this is the stage/auditorium area only. The issue was apparently surrounding lighting looked after by a stage lighting company but I'm not sure if I believe that. However, bad enough for all this to be going on today.

For now I've suggested he re-route his circuits into actual lighting circuits. Not well received but so be it for now.

I still believe that the emergency lighting at this theatre needs to be properly designed, drawn, risk assessed, lux level checked and so on.

Sparxx, yes, I have your drill safely tucked away under my desk. Texting you right now re Thai at the Queen's Head.

Zs
 04 November 2012 04:56 PM
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peteTLM

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phase loss relay on the proper lighting circuit, drops out a contactor feeding these stupid lights forcing them onto battery.............

-------------------------
----------------------------------------
Lack of planning on your part doesn't make it an emergency on mine....

Every man has to know his limitations- Dirty Harry
 04 November 2012 05:31 PM
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Cremeegg

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Just a thought but in the past I have found the Association of British Theatre Technicians very helpful and they also do a number of technical guides. Google may be your friend.

I'm presuming central London and also Westminster or Camden Council areas as a location. Again in my past I have dealt with those responsible for what used to be Entertainment Licensing now I believe a Premises Licence. The local authority guys there actually knew what they were talking about and had good technical knowledge unlike nearly all those I've found out in the sticks e.g. outer London and beyond.

May be worth getting their opinion as the Rules for such places used to be quite strict and peculiar to London.The old GLC Rules for Places for Public Entertainment used to take precedence over everything else and were quite strict not to say somewhat quirky. Nowadays not so sure as they seem to have (over) embraced the principles of risk assessment.

The client would be wise to check the fine print of any licence regarding changing safety systems or any alteration might turn round and bite him in the bum later on. The contractor should of course have checked this long ago.

Practically I'd agree with you on the design aspects for the whole theatre. I'd guess that many other areas will also show serious problems as well. Contactors sound a good option.
 04 November 2012 05:32 PM
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Zs

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Pete, the main bank of batteries providing back up (at about 3 volts after five minutes wasn't it?) is in the process of being decommissioned. Supposedly, these are new emergency lights.

It occurs to me not to become too involved. These people are taking short cuts and what has happened today, which is a kind of witch hunt leading to the installer, is inappropriate. I didn't call him a plonker. I find it most encouraging that the cry for help landed here though validating.

I reckon I'll not run with sparse information and shall wait for a walk. I've not been there for months so I have no idea on what has been done.

Ha, last time I was there I found a young sparky up a ladder with a di-log and a copy of my report sticking out of his pocket. Tasked with 'a certificate'.

Thank you. Common sense tells me to sit back and wait for the meeting. It is all covered in my report so I don't think I need be in this game until it becomes more formal.

Thank you though, I'll let you know what happens but for now I'm off down the road with a home cooked steak pie and a year's worth of catching up to do. Risking losing my friends this year on account of work and study. Code 1.

Zs
 04 November 2012 06:25 PM
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neilparsons

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Don't forget Theatres are licensed premises so there may be additional requirements from the local authorities, especially around the fire safety aspects of the emergency escape lighting and the signage. You may need to get a local fire officer involved if it is to be done correctly.

I would think a fully detailed design with all the relevant photometric data, lux levels etc. with inspection and test certificates for the install backed up by a proper risk assesment would be the bare minimum.

Be careful you don't iInherit a whole load of grief, especially if it has been done on the cheap in the first place.
 04 November 2012 06:40 PM
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John Peckham

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No doubt a look at the test certificates for the new work will be illuminating if your excuse the pun!

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 04 November 2012 09:41 PM
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Zs

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Originally posted by: neilparsons

Don't forget Theatres are licensed premises so there may be additional requirements from the local authorities, especially around the fire safety aspects of the emergency escape lighting and the signage. You may need to get a local fire officer involved if it is to be done correctly.


Yes. I read my report this afternoon and had mentioned failure to comply with BS5266 and 5839, and the regulatory fire reform, and the requirement for a specialist risk assessment. It has two bars which are rented out for functions between performances.

I would think a fully detailed design with all the relevant photometric data, lux levels etc. with inspection and test certificates for the install backed up by a proper risk assesment would be the bare minimum.


You're right Neil. I can do all of that for them, but not the risk assessment, provided that it is not a last minute request to bail them out.

Be careful you don't iInherit a whole load of grief, especially if it has been done on the cheap in the first place.


Good advice. I'll see how things go on Nov 20th. Bearing in mind the fact that they were so unhappy with my report that I practically got sacked without it being said out loud, until this morning. In the meantime I'm not hungry for work which means I am in a position to do it properly, or not at all. The emergency lighting for a place like that is two weeks solid at the desk and a huge bill for that and the installation. What worries me is a Theatre on a budget may shop elsewhere for a cheap option. They don't even have floor plans of the place so it would take even longer to put it through decent photometric analysis without getting the entire building modelled into CAD first. Going to be very careful with this one. Thanks
 05 November 2012 08:54 AM
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Zs

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My apologies, I just accidentally posted a thank you pm to cremegg as a reply. I hit delete really quick.

If it landed on yours, do me a favour and don't drag it into a quote box because it mentioned the name of the theatre and this site is heavily linked to google. Thanks.

Zs
 05 November 2012 02:41 PM
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OMS

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Sounds like a complete shambles to me.

BS 5266 will be quite clear on the requirements for the auditoria in terms of maintained signage and a preference for a background lighting level akin to the emergency illuminance level which must be maintained when the house lighting is dimmed or turned off. In short - a non maintained system is not allowed if the house lighting can be dimmed or turned off

I would forget all about relays, contactors, photocells and the like - they won't be type tested assemblies anyway (in this application) - the whole system is a complete non starter - ie it's non mainatained and doesn't give protection from local lighting circuit faliure.

Rip it out and start again is probably the simplest solution.

From there, if you are writing a report or undertaking a design then start with "DISTRICT SURVEYORS ASSSOCIATION/ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH THEATRE TECHNICIANS - Technical standards for places of entertainment. 2005)". You could also look back to "United Kingdom (SI No. 1129, SI No. 1125) - CP 1007:1955 Maintained lighting for cinemas" - this one is dated but gives you an idea of what the legal position is

From there work through 5266 Part 1, 7 and 8 - don't dismisss the value of a central battery system in this application - you need maintained systems anyway - they can be a cost effective solution to providing that, without the complexity of line failure relays etc. needed to hold off supplies when operating non maintained.

My advice - do a survey, write a report that doesn't spare peoples feelings but is factually accurate, charge a good sum for doing that. Put in a very high price for the system design - they are selling risk, don't buy it cheap - if you are lucky they'll get someone else to design it - offer to review that design at additional cost (sort of due diligence)

Good luck

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 06 November 2012 12:41 AM
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SKElectrical

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Originally posted by: OMS
forget about contactors and the like - the whole system is a complete non starter.
Rip it out and start again.


Yep, I agree here.
It was no good in the 1st place. It's no good the 2nd time. For heavens sake don't make it no good a 3rd time.
Get it right - wire from local lighting circuits.
Theatres are really hard places to navigate, a real nightmare to map out (varying levels). I implore you to label label label - and where bulkheads are to be used use LED bulkheads.
Besides I'm sure you have plenty more experience than me.
 06 November 2012 09:19 AM
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OMS

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Get it right - wire from local lighting circuits.


Get it right for sure - but you aren't reading my post. It's a theatre auditorium or similar.

BS EN 50172:2004/BS 5266-8:2004, Note to 4.2, recommends that a maintained mode of operation should be considered for illumination of emergency escape route signs in locations where occupants may be unfamiliar with the building.


If you've ever been to the pictures, theatre etc you must have noticed the signage is always illuminated with the auditoria occupied.

10.3.4 Non-residential premises used for recreation

This class includes such premises as theatres, cinemas, concert halls, exhibition halls, sports halls, public houses and restaurants.
The people using such premises can be expected to be unfamiliar with the layout. Also it may be desirable to reoccupy the premises once the normal lighting has been restored, or to delay evacuation after the initial failure of the normal supply, should this be permitted.
Based on these considerations, it is recommended that 3 h duration emergency lighting should be installed.
Where the normal lighting may be dimmed or turned off, a maintained emergency lighting system should be installed. However, it is not necessary for the full emergency lighting level to be provided when the normal lighting system is functioning.


Again, have you never noticed that when the house lights go down/off there is always a background lighting level present - it's not bright enough that you can't get up to mischief in the back seats of the movies - but it's there.

In maintained systems, local lighting circuit failure protection isn't required (obviously)

Emergency escape lighting shall operate, in the event of failure of any part of the normal lighting supply.Non-maintained and combined non-maintained emergency luminaires have to operate in the event of
failure of a normal lighting final circuit.
In all cases, arrangements shall be made to ensure that local
emergency escape lighting will operate in the event of failure of normal supply to the corresponding local
area.


Forget local lighting circuits - you need maintained systems - and small local central battery systems will be cost effective for the owner/operator based on whole life cost.

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 06 November 2012 11:19 AM
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leckie

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Im going show my ignorance (again) now of maintained systems.

So if in a pub or restaurant for instance, you had a maintained system how do you control the maintained lights? They dont stay on 24/7 in a restaurant do they? I presume they are on during times of occupation only.

Also I have noticed in my local pub that the exit emergency lights are on at all times but that the ones on the ceiling only come on during a power cut as I have been in when there was one. Presumably they are off a local circuit and are non-maintained.
 06 November 2012 12:02 PM
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OMS

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Originally posted by: leckie

Im going show my ignorance (again) now of maintained systems.

So if in a pub or restaurant for instance, you had a maintained system how do you control the maintained lights? They dont stay on 24/7 in a restaurant do they? I presume they are on during times of occupation only.

You can have them on switches - they just need to be illuminated at "material times" - if the lndlord forgets to put them on then that's a breach of his fire plan and as the responsible person he is liable to prosecution.


Also I have noticed in my local pub that the exit emergency lights are on at all times but that the ones on the ceiling only come on during a power cut as I have been in when there was one. Presumably they are off a local circuit and are non-maintained.

The exit signage needs to be maintained (and as such can be wired from any available cicuit) as people are likley to be unfamiliar with the premises. The escape lighting can be non maintained if the general lighting is not dimmed or turned off during occupancy (theatres and cinemas differ from pubs in that respect). Those "ceiling" lights are almost certainly wired off local circuits with probably a key switch for testing purposes



Zs mentioned a book by Paul Cook ( Electricians' Guide to Emergency Lighting.) - worth blagging a copy if you get involved in emergency lighting design, installation or servicing - or if you end up commenting on an installation in any professional capacity

Regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 06 November 2012 12:23 PM
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leckie

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Thanks for that info Oms

Funny enough I was just looking on the site at that very book. I imaginge it must be due for an update though as BS5266 has been updated since the books publication date. I have been holding off on the commentary on the regs by Paul Cook for the same reason.
 06 November 2012 01:15 PM
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OMS

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OK - much of the change is editorial to reflect changes in legislation. The design critera are the same except further requirements for external luminaires illuminating the route to safety rather than just outside and revocation of a few of the old UK annexes

Take a look here for some guidance from LIF

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 08 November 2012 11:48 PM
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Zs

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I have 5839 and the whole of 5266 in bookmarked sections open on the desk in front of me next to the IET Paul cook guide. And relux has been busy. Just making sure I am up to date and revised for this before any meeting. It is the Paul Cook guide which crystallises all the academic speak in the rest so I would recommend it as a first purchase.

I had a cancellation for next week so I have been able to pull the meeting forward the next Wednesday. I'm to go in alone (as requested by me) for a couple of hours before anyone else arrives. I am a solitary creature at my best that way and need to digest what is happening in there without being asked to explain. Hope it doesn't have a ghost cos I'm going to test the emergencies circuit by circuit. 's ok, someone will be there to let me in so not totally alone, just not one of the big-nobs.

My pms on this issue are so helpful. Thank you all. Cremegg went to a lighting show and spent time doing research on this for me. I've never met Cremegg but I send a public hug for that.

OMS, thank you for your email on the subject. Yes please, would you check my findings for me? I need to be very careful about what I put on here since making such a howler with the pm. However, I'll tell you what I can on here. I already know that the Sunday problem has been rectified, wait for it, with a line back to the new DB from the old one for each circuit, some kind of contactor arrangement and every single neutral borrowed, and every single cpc borrowed, and some kind of combination of breakers. We'll see. I have not made any comment and will stay on paper with them so OMS, you have become bigger than a Paul Cook book on this one and I thank you enormously.

I'm not worried about British Standard documents or required lux, those kinds of things are easy, obvious and right here on the desk. Black/White. I'm worried about not noticing some quirky wiring. If I am to say rip it out, then I have to be able to show them why. So this is going to involve opening things and looking inside them. Not to mention disclaimers.

I'm going to be asking for a few reviewers of the next report. Volunteers to read and check greatly appreciated.

Zs
 09 November 2012 09:40 AM
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OMS

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OMS, thank you for your email on the subject. Yes please, would you check my findings for me?


No drama, I'd be happy to

Hope it doesn't have a ghost cos I'm going to test the emergencies circuit by circuit. 's ok, someone will be there to let me in so not totally alone, just not one of the big-nobs


Take a big rechargeable torch or a couple of LED work lamps with you - you are a relevant person as far as the RRO is concerened and if the employer isn't too concerned about fire safety, you need to look after yourself.

I already know that the Sunday problem has been rectified, wait for it, with a line back to the new DB from the old one for each circuit, some kind of contactor arrangement and every single neutral borrowed, and every single cpc borrowed, and some kind of combination of breakers.


It hasn't been rectified - clearly it's operating as a non maintained system now with some attempt at local lighting circuit failure monitoring.

The standards are quite clear - the illuminated signage needs to be maintained - ie lit at all material times.

The standards go further - if you can dim or turn off the house lights (and if it's a theatre than that's almost certain) then again, the system needs to be maintained. It would be permissable to allow the emergency lighting to go off if the house lighting is on - what you cannot have is the auditoria in total darkness when occupied.

No amount of fiddling on site is going to address that - the "wrong" fittings are installed (and installed incorrectly)

I'm worried about not noticing some quirky wiring. If I am to say rip it out, then I have to be able to show them why


It's quite simple - the installation does not comply with the functional requirements of BS 5266 and as such cannot address the operators obligations to "relevant persons" under the RRO. Check the arrangement of those contactors, schematicaly - I'll bet good money that you may well find there is no monitoring of the control side and it won't be a rated cable - it is by no means gauranteed to "fail safe" for any number of permutations of fault scenarios.

This is a place of public assembly and serves alchohol - everyone from FRS to HSE via local authority licensing will have a view.

Wiring details etc are secondary to that - although it sounds like a bloody nightmare alteration carried out by someone with no real idea of the objective. Give them the fare for the greyhound would be the best idea.

Whilst you are rummaging about, see what damage has been caused to what remains of the existing system - I think you mentioned the existing central battery system is shot in terms of the battery capability - what are the circuits like and could they be re used in a smaller system serving the auditorium (sort of Phase 1 repairs as it were). There are plenty of LED area illuminators on the market that would be a more than adequate replacement for presumably existing pygmy lamps in seperate luminaires or combined with house luminaires. Looking at the existing will also give you a lot of information as to the design intent of the original system

best regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option

Edited: 09 November 2012 at 09:47 AM by OMS
IET » Wiring and the regulations » Emergency lighting installation

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