Lightning Protection, Emergency Lighting, Fire Signage Meeting 17-09-2021
GEORGE BIM4housing, which is this organisation but we've also got the Golden Thread initiative as well where I'm chairing the assets and the survey information working groups but there are nine other working groups looking at things like health and safety, processes, legislation. So we're all working together to try and basically provide the underlying information. So the outputs from these workshops (audio cuts out)…what we're also then going to be doing is taking this information and putting them into data templates, which can then be shared and used so that people can then use this maybe as a checklist for carrying out works.
RICHARD This is a slightly different format from the ones that we’ve used before. We've tried it with discussing a couple of asset types that are linked at the same time and with mixed results. Hence the three documents you've got which we've separated off in the hope that making it that bit more granular might actually make it a bit more straight forward. So I'm going straight forward on to the first one that we're going to consider which is emergency lighting. What are the component elements of an emergency lighting system? We’ve got Jim’s input in there: escape illumination, emergency illumination, emergency and task illumination, low proximity way guidance, way guidance escape signing. Has anybody got any thoughts on that?
CHRIS WATTS here, chairing 5266. No problems, but the first two there are minor changes. The .2 lux on the centre line that was the original light level. But that got superseded about six years ago with the last revision of the EN1838 and that now gave 1 lux on the centre line and that now is changed to being 1 lux on the width of the escape route, or it looks as though it's likely to be with the change. It's currently being revised.
GEORGE Is .2 lux how that emergency lighting needs to perform from an illumination perspective?
CHRIS WATTS Not anymore, no. It’s a minimum requirement up to about 6 years ago. Then the European standard changed and with the the change of our legislation, we could no longer have the A deviation that we had for .2 lux. So we've had to come up to the European standard, which is the 1 lux.
GEORGE We've got Joe Harris on the call as well from Sodexo who is also from CIBSE. I would say that that value there would be in the attributes, the information side of things for an emergency light. I’m asking as the intention of this particular question is to say what are the component bits that go to make up an emergency lighting system?
CHRIS WATTS I agree and you’re right, it’s the wrong place for it to be.
JIM CREAK Can I just tell you the basis of why I put this in because it's still a note in 5266, part one 2016 and yes, it does refer to a 1988 number where it was suitable and sufficient illumination for escape. Now there's a provenance for that. Lots of research and other research has still said that if you really wanted a minimum number for suitable and sufficient, which is the regulatory reform fire safety wording for this type of element or arrangement within a building, the .2 lux is still a very robust number for the purposes of escape. Now I’m not suggesting that there are not other risk elements that may want to increase that illumination, but I've I I've tended to not necessarily put in here everything that happens to be in code because there is a huge problem between what is currently in code and what is currently being done in practise. Bearing in mind that particularly purpose built flats, there's only just moved in to even the minimum of these requirements. So that's the background to .2 Lux.
JOANNE The question is about the components of the lighting system, not the design of the lighting system. So this information is not what’s required here.
RICHARD So as George said, more about attributes rather than actual components.
PETER I wouldn't put them specifically somewhere because those are the design criteria, but the thing that I did know was missing, there was nowhere to put the design itself. And if you're going to keep checking that it’s still working to design, the design's got to be there somewhere. If you put those, if you put those 3 lines there, then if the actual standards change you'll get stuffed. But if you put the design in there, then you can actually check it against the current regulation.
CHRIS WATTS I think perhaps centrally powered units, so central battery systems. We've got luminaires in under the product standard for central batteries as well if we need those and they’re a component.
PETER The only thing I wasn’t sure was, technically batteries are in self-contained and CBS. Starter motor is the gear that goes between the main supply and the light source to make sure that you give it the correct supply. But it's also the gear. It's the control part that switches over when the mains fails, so it detects the mains is disappeared and switches across to the batteries.
GEORGE So one of the things here is also remember that this needs to be suitable. It needs to be used for probably emergency lighting systems that have already been installed for 10 years. So it's not all new at all. It's for existing buildings. So are there other component elements that you're aware of that maybe a maintenance organisation might come across that they would need to replace? (The response is generators, transformers, test switches, UPS, cables, connectors).
RICHARD Are there any dependencies on other systems? We've got smoke control testing and maintenance, battery regeneration and perhaps links to fire alarm systems.
CHRIS WATTS I don't know whether you meant fire alarms by smoke control, but I suspect you mean other things. So we need a fire alarm to initiate the warning. There is another element of emergency lighting and that's apart from just evacuation it's to provide illumination in high risk areas. So if you're standing next to a piece of rotating machinery, apart from being able to get out of the building, you want not to touch the rotating machinery. So we need to look at the high risk areas. Oh, if we’ve got task lighting in, that’s great.
The mains lighting so we know what to initiate it. So the emergency lighting should come on a failure of supply to the mains lighting system. So we need to know what the mains lighting system is and does. And you can have weird things like discharge lamps which can have a 5 minute restrike time that needs to be compensated for by the emergency lighting.
PETER Lighting control system because the lighting control system can initiate the lighting and can also initiate the tests.
RICHARD Lets move down to question 1a, what risks does an emergency lighting system mitigate? We've got trips, slips and falls, loss of way under the power loss, orientation within the building for location of safety equipment, operation of panic hardware and security override, evacuation in the event of power failure, evacuation situation, signage and direction remains live mode, and illumination in case of a stay put strategy.
CHRIS WATTS For protection of safety systems like, for instance, the lift alarm. So if someone is stuck in a lift, they need to be able to see the emergency call button and you need emergency lighting where that's received so someone can go and get them out of the lift. So it's illumination of relatives of other related safety systems. PETER I would include in that things like call points for emergency services. CHRIS Warning of refuge when people are stuck in a refuge, disabled people in a refuge. It's to give an illumination so people know where they are and that they can be safe until someone comes and evacuates them.
GEORGE Part of the working group, we’ve got somebody looking at this from the point of view of tying this back to Uniclass so that we can then standardise them…these can also become part of the standard risk assessments that are that we can then have solutions against the risk assessments.
JIM CREAK You can illuminate related safety systems by other methods than an electrical system, and I'm worried that we're gonna get caught into our old bugbear here that we're going to assume that we have to need a luminaire over absolutely everything in the built environment because just to locate some of these things, it can be done with non-electrical systems. I won't say the fateful word to Chris because I know it gets his hackles up. But photoluminescence is being used worldwide to do huge amounts of away guidance and…
RICHARD We've got within the document, apart from the answer to these questions, we're having an appendix which will have your comments adjacently, if you like, things that don't directly answer the question but give us some side information that's of value.
PETER Sort of related to that you do have portable battery systems such as torches. JIM Exactly what I'm saying in terms of stay put strategy, if we're going to have in purpose built flats a case of putting emergency lighting within the residential environment we’re putting a huge onus on…PETER I was thinking it's actually a a component element. GEORGE That’s what I was just thinking. I think that's something that we ought to add into components. A torch is a component of emergency lighting.
GORDON ROLF About torches, I used to work for Capita and one of the things that came up after Grenfell was that captor Simmons? did a report on Grenfell Tower in 2005-2006 with emergency lighting and it was deemed so bad they recommended each tenant given 2 rechargeable torches when they interviewed tenants who were still in the block at the time of the fire and they were never issued with them. So torches in residential situations, I wouldn’t advocate.
CHRIS WATTS One of the things we're looking at is that the fire wardens who could be shepherding people out to the place of safety, then need to go back perhaps quite often and inspect to check the building is empty, so that would be useful.
RICHARD Question 1b, to what risks are emergency lighting systems susceptible? Smoke logging, vandalism, lack of effective testing and maintenance, poor maintenance, poor design, building churn without redesign.
Question 2: What information is needed about emergency lighting systems to ensure that they perform as required?
PETER Regarding maintenance it means when it was maintained, what was changed or who did it. JIM I think it’s also got to be dealt with here, the designer, the person who actually designed the system. GEORGE if you've got an emergency lighting system, what about the number of lamps? The number of luminaires? If you're doing maintenance, is it useful for a maintenance organisation to know how many are in a circuit?
CHRIS WATTS They need to check it against the original design. I'd suggest we need to make sure that we've got the log book and the records are kept up to date. Because that's the bit that anyone going in afterwards can actually go back and check any changes that were made or indeed whether or not it's there. To me the log book is actually vital as part of the maintenance schedule, but I think it would be worth…
JIM CREAK Without a doubt, I agree. How we get this into the document, Regulation 38 is going to become more and more and more as designed drawings and then variations to drawings are gonna be for this real holy grail lifetime of a building. Would they want to know what's gone on before. PETER For each individual product you need to know the circuit that it’s installed on. JIM Why it was changed from the design before, whether stuff has been superseded, whether it's gone through the same test regime as the previous ones. All the components where they need to be identified for change.
GEORGE The log book needs to be, what we need to do is we want all this to be digital so that you might produce a physical document, which is logical to have a PDF output, but we want all of the information to be machine readable. So what we really want to know is what information will go into that log book. So what is it that we're actually recording? Has anybody got an example that they could share with us of what that logbook would contain?
CHRIS WATTS 5266 gives the logbook but also says it's just as well that it can be recorded electronically. We pulled the log book and the test records out of the copyright, so I can happily circulate that round without any copyright worries for precisely this reason, which is so important. One of the changes that is currently underway within 50172 the EN on the application is that there is looking at being an integrity requirement on central battery systems of limiting the number of luminaires to each fused element to 20. So if you do have a fault, you can lose no more than 20 luminaires.
GEORGE That’s a really important bit of information, Chris, because if we can have that as a question as to how many are on this circuit or whatever the terminal that's using there. CHRIS The snag is that is something which is fine for a new installation, but existing ones, people are gonna have a hell of a job trying to find that out. GEORGE But if it’s important information, it might be something that's captured gradually, maybe when people are doing inspections or maybe basements. The idea of this is not that we're saying all of this has got to be ready now, but it's something that people can sort of navigate towards, maybe over a 3 year.
JACK WHITE From an asset manager side, when you’ve got manufacturer model number etc that looks nice but if the manufacturer goes bust we don’t actually have the information there. You’d want to know what type of thing it is, is it an LED, what’s the voltage, what’s the wattage, so that when we’re replacing it we can go out and replace it first time rather than having something sitting there not working because someone needed to go out, inspect it, find out what they needed, go out come back and fit it. RICHARD So more granular asset information? JACK Yes.
GEORGE Would we need to know that, Jack, for each of the component elements? JACK WHITE It depends. Quite a bit of that might come together, so obviously…control batteries self contained could all be in one system. What we’re missing there is battery illumination length, so you need 24 hrs, 72 hrs, there are design specifications we’d want to know that are not included there and in terms of asset management.
GEORGE We definitely would want the technical specification sheet, which is probably PDF. But what we want to do is with this expert group is to be able to identify, from that specification sheet which is maybe got 20 or 30 attributes on it, are there three or four absolutely key ones that we need to have as machine readable data. And that don't need interpreting. So that's what we're trying to get to, so that we can automatically also test to see if that information has been provided because what we find is that different manufacturers have got data sheets lined up or presented in quite different ways. The same information might be described in a different way and it then becomes very difficult to validate to see if it's been provided. Jack, you just off the top of your head gave some examples of parameters. Would you be able to type those into the chat or let us have those because we can add those to the requirements?
JACK WHITE Yes. I would also say in terms of setting this out as emergency lighting. I think when you're looking at this I want it to be considered as lighting as a whole and emergency lighting being a function of that. If you, again talking about asset management, I don't want to be looking at something seeing I've got three emergency lights in there and not knowing how many other lights. If you're managing a building it’s part of something more and understanding that is very useful.
GEORGE Absolutely. That's a really important point. I think I think to some extent we've captured part of that earlier and said that we need to know the lighting. But I think from an asset management point of view that's absolutely right. It’s a matter of being able to group elements in a way that is against a logical function really, I suppose is what you're saying. JACK WHITE Yeah. I would just have lighting as one thing and then I would say that lighting either has its own backup power supply in form of battery or is connected to something else that provides it, and that is what identifies it to the asset manager as being emergency lighting rather than having it set alone as a separate thing.
GEORGE What about life cycle replacement? Would these things wear out after a period? Should they have expected life? JACK WHITE It depends. Different types will perform differently, so some would be according to how many hours they used, some to how many times they’re switched on and off. So it's not, I would hesitate against having something like that. GEORGE All I’m saying is if we have expected life then that can be described as maybe the number of initiations or it could be a period of time. JACK WHITE But in terms of actual time it could be a bit meaningless, we don’t know how often the light is going to be on. We don't know how many times it's gonna be switched on and off. So in the same building, on a different floor, one could need to be replaced after two years, one after 12 years. CHRIS WATTS But perhaps the biggest problem is the effect of dirt and whether the signs or the luminaires have been cleaned. You and I know in the real world I don’t think light fittings ever get cleaned, but we all assume that they’re going to be.
RICHARD Question 3: What tasks are required to ensure emergency lighting systems are installed, commissioned, inspected and maintained properly?
GEORGE We're trying to follow the example that SFG 20 do very well on standardising maintenance and do the same for installation, commissioning and maybe recycling. So to have an explicit set of tasks that can act as a prompt for the qualified and competent installer o actually carry out work. Now, I don't think we're going to be able to do that now, but as an expert in emergency lighting could you come up with a task list, a checklist, for want of a better term, to say what we should be doing with emergency lighting? Is that something that maybe we're not going to be able to do it in this meeting, but is there somebody within that this group that would be able to contribute to that?
CHRIS WATTS Yeah, most of that is covered in the log test records and certainly the important ones all other. So the stuff I’ll be circulating round will cover most of those points. It covers the system at the end so if it's been incorrectly installed then that that would have been identified that they're not performing their function. Where we get a problem is where you get user interfaces like them drawing a curtain over an exit sign or a call point. And that’s a sort of idiotic thing which is difficult to guard against but at least it should be reported on.
GEORGE So, when somebody's installing an emergency lighting system, presumably each manufacturer has got their own instructions as to how that should be done. So they would train people and then they would have some level of steps as to what should be done. Is that right? CHRIS WATTS Well, the actual light fittings, there's not really any difference between those and the mains lighting luminaire. So people who've got the competence to install a mains luminaire have got the competence to install an emergency luminaire. But the problem all the time it is making sure it's done in accordance with the design engineers work. And as Jim said that then in the life of the system that people don't replace it with a totally inadequate replacement product.
JIM CREAK Positioning is so vitally important. Positioning of a one foot in either direction just absolutely messes the system up completely. GEORGE Well, that's fascinating. So what that means is that we need…I come from the BIM world and what we're supposed to be doing is making sure that that information is properly communicated, and certainly particularly electrical installers seldom follow what’s actually been modelled. And often it's not modelled correctly.
JIM CREAK Well, yeah, but then it goes back also to the fire safety strategy, who’s actually identified an escape route. Because if the escape route is not identified, what chance has the engineer got to position the luminaire? CHRIS WATTS Certainly the commissioning section of these notes I'm going to send through do cover are the exit signs located in the correct place and visible? JIM CREAK Forgetting the exit signs, bearing in mind that in 5266 even a first aid box has got to be illuminated, so unless one follows the other, then the likelihood is that you're moving the first aid box to a luminaire. If that's OK, that's OK, but if one is separate contractor to the other then you’ve got a problem.
CHRIS WATTS Absolutely. The other one, which is equally important, is extinguishers. People just put an extinguisher in and the person fitting the extinguisher and the person fitting the emergency lighting often don't know each other, don't talk. And certainly you don't find extinguishers marked on design engineers plans by and large. JIM CREAK Same with low level disability call points. Everything is about how that design is and how that drawing is then implemented into the building.
RICHARD It seems to me that virtually everything you said in the last five or 10 minutes is all about following the design closely. So that is the task, to make sure that the design is followed closely.
GORDON ROLF? Following the design is Ok until the contractor turns up with LED lights and the design specification was for normal lights or other than LEDs and Led's cast a different pool of light on the ground and therefore they’ve got to be closer together. RICHARD That comes down to not following the design then. CHRIS WATTS And in that case the installer is taking on design responsibility. PETER I’m not sure that’s the problem with LED per se, and of the things I’d put in the list of things you need to know is the photometric characteristics, but I couldn't work out how on Earth you were gonna do that without the table. Because effectively you need to know the light distribution. JIM CREAK I’ve just had exactly that, because the colours of the walls are really important when you’re dealing with light levels. It's about the total building management.
GEORGE What you just said there Jim, is a light bulb moment for me actually. The colour of the walls, the finish and things like that. I've come across this before actually with lighting but that's absolutely right, we need to have that in the information don't we? CHRIS WATTS The lighting level requirements ignore reflection so…the reflection should be on top. JIM CREAK This is to do with luminance qualities more than anything else, specifically for trips, slips and falls on staircases. It's to do with luminance, it’s not necessary to do with reflective light. RICHARD So in the information question two, we need to put in there the the luminance effect of wall covering? CHRIS WATTS That should be ignored in the design because we never know how someone could come in and change the decor.
GEORGE We we want it in. If people then want to disregard it, Peter, then they can do so. But there's obviously a view that it ought to be there. This is really a checklist, so it doesn't mean that we've got to use it, but it's the option. PETER Could you say wall/ceiling? because the only time that I would ever need it is if I'm doing an indirect emergency system and then I'm allowed to take into account the effect first. CHRIS WATTS I think our view generally is we need a minimum requirement and then things like reflectance which can add to it are a winning and we should take advantage of it when we possibly can. You'll find it is actually in the 5266 documents that I will be sending round.
RICHARD Let’s move down to question 4 which is about training and competence.
GEORGE So the point about this is obviously we want people to be competent to actually carry out the work, but what's become clear is that although there's great industry level accreditation and training there's also the need to have manufacturer specific information as well. So in terms of emergency lighting, is there an industry body that does training?
CHRIS WATTS There are three that I’m aware of, ISEL?, FIA and CIBSE. Effectively they are UKAS accredited, they’re part of degree systems that BAIF? are doing. (Re FRS and the alarm people getting involved) the fire side, yes they do So the FIA do fire alarms and emergency lighting, but there are some fire people who do fire alarms as well.
RICHARD Question 5 which is change management. We’ve already got a lot of learnings from other meetings but is there anything specific to emergency lighting that needs to go in there?
GEORGE Principally what we're saying is that as far as change management is concerned one of the big challenges is that design is done at an initial level up to stage 3. It then goes into detail design where change takes place and then when then contractors then procure things might get changed again. So what we're broadly saying is that what we want to do is have an adequately clear and specific set of requirements which can then be progressively updated as things are suggested through the technical submittal process. Or as one of our previous contributors called it, which I thought was a good one, was technical deviation. So in other words, where you're deviating from what the original design specification was. Now to an extent, what we're saying is that the design specification should not simply be…would something like NBS Chorus be used to do a specification for emergency lighting? Or would it be something else?
JIM CREAK Well, my experience with NBS is that it's woefully out of date. CHRIS WATTS I agree. The requirement in 5266 calls that evidence of the photometric performance has to be given as part of the completion documentation and handed over to the customer. So from then on when you've got that the replacement of any of the components can be done and checked against that information to make sure that that the photometry is the same and then in terms of the product standard, that will check that the change over time and the duration are the same and the specification are the same. So the facilities are there for people to do, but I would agree that it's woefully undone a lot of the time.
GEORGE So in that example Chris, where you say it's evidence of photometric performance, is that something that could be done when you're doing an initial relatively generic level of design, so maybe at stage 3? CHRIS WATTS Yes, typically they're done either from spacing tables which are relatively easy anyone could do, or from a computer design of the whole lighting installation, and that requires a fair bit more skill to be able to do. But in either case you would be able to replace a component and check that the performance was not eroded by the substitution you've done. GEORGE So the performance therefore can be related back to an individual component?
CHRIS WATTS Yes. The luminaires specifically. If we look at the light level, it's the luminaire and the performance of the luminaires are part of the product tests that are done by e.g. BSI test house. They come out with the photometric information that enabled you to check that the data is met. GEORGE So if I'm looking at something as a an asset manager and I want to know…one of the problems with the performance specifications that I've seen with product information is that they're testing against a test standard. So they're often testing against a set of criteria and they say, yes, I achieve that minimum level. Now that may not be the case with emergency lighting, but I've come across that before. Whereas what I think we need to do is if there are going to be 100 emergency lights in a in a building, we actually want to know of those 100 lights, how each one of them that’s been installed is expected to perform. So if I’m going to replace one of them I can replace it with a product that…so is it reasonable for us to ask at that level for that performance information?
CHRIS WATTS Yes, and there's a relatively simple way to do it, which is from a spacing table which gives you the distance apart. So while I don't believe many inspectors are competent to measure light level, most of them are perfectly competent to measure distance well.
RICHARD This information should be in question two, shouldn't it? If it's information we need, we should be talking in Question 5 about processes and methodology. How do we actually do that. GEORGE I think you’re right, Richard. JIM CREAK The one thing that you need to know before any enforcing authority puts any light metre on it is that who’s decided what light level should be on the floor,. now. RICHARD We're not actually talking about that in this question. This question is the methodology of how we measure change, it’s that the change management. JIM CREAK I know, but if we measure the luminaire, a particular luminaire may give you the 1 lux that was designed but now it’s changed to 5 lux. So unless someone gives you what the light level there is expected in that particular area as a function of the risk assessment, then you're testing against what? you’re testing something that was changed…it’s a variation. This is why you can't give a certificate to conform to 5266, part one, 2016, because automatically, you read page one, you're into the areas where the system is a variation as a function of the formal risk assessment. There's very few people that can actually work a lux metre properly.
CHRIS WATTS When the change is made really you need a design engineer to check whether that change in engineer is adequate, not specifically to a light level, but whether it's appropriate to the application and gives the safety that's needed on site and against the risk assessment. JIM CREAK And it's not the engineer, when he comes on site, is not dictated to check the rest. If he’s got a faulty luminaire that's his job, just to do that one luminaire. But he should be looking at the whole interaction including the distance between luminaires to do his job properly.
JACK WHITE Yeah I can understand that and it's nice to say, but in in practical terms we're looking at fire safety for a whole building here and all the different elements. The costs for asset management are going through the roof if every time you're going to change a light you're getting an engineer to look at the whole thing. I agree with what George is saying, what we need is a specification that someone can pass over to a contractor to say this is it, whether it's setting out that kind of minimum design criteria in a simple way. Otherwise people just won't follow it because it's too hard and it's too much or it's too expensive. So it's good to ask for all of these things but there's a risk of going too far in that direction and then people just not following at all which is the situation we’re in at the moment.
RICHARD So in terms of the question which is how do we manage change. Not what the change is, but how do we manage it. GEORGE Reinforcing what Jack’s saying there, that's once the building's been done. So what we need to do, exactly what Jack said there. We need to know is what was the final decision that the designer made for that particular product, that product or that product performance. JACK WHITE Also George, we’ve got what is it 80% of the buildings in 2050 are already up. The main part of this work will be fore existing assets.
PETER One of the things you’re gonna have to consider in terms of data management is if you change something effectively for the original product you probably need something like a photometric file. Now if you change that original product you need information on that new product with its photometry, but you need to keep the original one until you change the design because that is the product that was used for the design. So you always have a historical element in it until you do a complete redesign.
GEORGE Just to pick up on what you were saying, Jim, what we're saying is that when you're actually doing a new build, or you’re actually changing it for something else, then that would be going through a technical submittal process. And in the technical submittal process, normally the design consultant would be brought into that equation. So if you're swapping from one solution that was the design solution, if the contractor comes along and says I've got a cheaper or more available product, then that would necessarily have to go back through the technical submittal process and therefore there should be due consideration by the designer.
LJIM CREAK That's also about the time cycle and time life of these arrangements. Let's just take purpose built flats because we've still got to unravel the needs for people with disabilities. Well that system can change on a daily basis and those needs are either local or global and so from that perspective it is a changing and a moving…
RICHARD Absolutely. And the change management system has got to change itself. Moving on, what are the component element of a fire sign? Mandatory instruction hazard location identification, prohibition instruction, escape route identification, location, fire-fighting equipment and alarm location, life-saving appliance, emergency egress and panic security device ID, Fire and Rescue deployment information and flat location, low proximity flat and floor number identification.
GEORGE Can I just roll back? Is that actually right? So the fire sign…it might be a fire sign that’s a standard one or a fire sign that’s illuminated. Are there any other types of fire signs? JIM CREAK Well, I don't know this definition fire sign anywhere. I don't know where it's come from. CHRIS WATTS Neither do I. If you put safety signs that would be a lot more relevant, perhaps. JIM Well, specifically in this context, we do have a definition for fire safety sign. So that sits better with me. PETER My problem with this list is most of it is design. So most of these aren't components, they’re design. GEORGE I think that they do need to be moved. If you're going to buy a replacement…so if you buy a sign what I'm thinking of there, Jim, is that if you've got an illuminated sign, then you've probably got some bolts that bolt it to the wall, you’ve got a case, you’ve got some sort of lamp in it. That's what I was thinking of. JIM CREAK You're talking about one specific sign, but can I just say that every sign needs to be illuminated. It gets illumination from a variety of sources.
CHRIS WATTS I think actually there is a difference between what we recognise as being the fire exit signs and other signs that may require illumination, Jim, something like say an acid bath. Now that acid bath, depending on the situation may or not need to be illuminated in emergency and there should be a risk assessment to decide whether it is. But against that, the exit…JIM CREAK The words in the legislation say a trip hazard is still a trip hazard in sudden power failure, so all safety signs must be suitably and sufficiently illuminated so they can be seen under those circumstances. Whether you have that by emergency lighting or you have it by normal lighting, by reducing the risk that nobody's going to be there, then that's fine, but you need to carry that out. RICHARD Okay. Well, if you're gonna say it needs illuminating, let's see what the components are.
JIM CREAK There's no standard for any of those signs at all there's only guidance for those types of signs under 9999. So they don't sit in the legislation for the health and safety signs and signals. I don’t recognise any of the designs and so…RICHARD Don't worry about those as specifics, they’re somebody else's notes. They're just saying show some examples. In terms of fire safety signs that need illuminating, what are the component parts? JIM CREAK Let's just take the fire exit sign. The component parts are the directional arrow, the graphical symbol and the supplementary text. The illumination is either covered under power loss conditions by emergency lighting electrical system. It may be suitable and sufficient to use photo-luminescent materials for the illumination of these to, again, a degree of luminance performance, or it may be suitable to have them illuminated under borrowed lighting.
RICHARD Question 1a: What risks does Fire Signage mitigate? Unfamiliarity of built environment, orientation, loss of time. JIM CREAK Hazard. Obviously the prohibition of activities that would increase risk. CHRIS Location of safety refuges.
RICHARD Question 1b: To what risks are Fire Signs susceptible? Well, I'm going to add vandalism in there immediately. Smoke logging, incorrect application, incorrect design, vandalism. JIM back to question 1a, obviously there's the mandatory instruction under building regulations for a compartmentation. Fire door, keep shut, fire exit, keep clear. JIM In the last 5 years I've been doing so much work in social housing, I don't actually see as much vandalism on the safety signs as I see them on the emergency lighting. They're more likely to rip the bulk heads off on the walls than they are to take down a no smoking sign. PETER I would have said poor maintenance cause people, they either get dirty or people will go past.
JIM CREAK Another thing, Fire signs are susceptible to bad application and bad installation. I see signs that say do not use the lift and there's no lift in the premises. CHRIS WATTS And the big one is that people put a fire exit on the door which may well be open. JIM On the other hand, maximum height is 2 metres and I've seen illuminated signs stuck on the ceiling. Where have we put this location of safe safety refugees, again, I think that's vitally important, including the disability assistant call points.
RICHARD Question 2: What information do we need about fire signs to ensure they perform as required? GEORGE What we want that here’s for this to be as machine readable information if possible, so that we can then, just like we did earlier. So is there information, would the size of the… suppose you want to know, we've got the location there, the XYZ. Manufacturer model number installer. CHRIS WATTS The size of it is very important. JIM CREAK And it’s covered completely in the standards above. GEORGE The point is what we don’t want, Jim, is for people to have to read the standard to know what to do. What we want is an explicit set of information for that particular product that was installed.
JIM CREAK Well, then you just take the tables out of the standard with the illumination and then you can work out viewing distances for all of it. It’s a very comprehensive section as part of the standard, not an annex, as part of the standard. That gives viewing distance, whether it's internally illuminated, whether it's externally illuminated, whether it's a safety sign.
GEORGE Sorry, what you're talking about there is the information that somebody that's doing the design and the selection of that fire sign for that particular location. Now when all that's been done, the building's been handed over, the information about that particular selection, it’s gone through the process. What we want to know is when we then need to replace it, how would we replace it? So we'd want to know its dimensions, wouldn't we? We don't want somebody, as Jack was saying earlier, we don't want somebody to that's replacing one sign for an identical sign to have to go and read the standards to figure out what the size of it is, or indeed have to go to site to measure it.
JIM CREAK Well, it's on the drawings then, isn't it? Because it's a regulation 38 arrangement so all of that detail would be on the drawings. JACK WHITE You can’t just assume that that gets passed across perfectly and is maintained and everyone has access. JIM It has to be now,, it’s a lifetime building. It has to be. This is an arrangement, so how can it be maintained if the detailed specification is not handed over on completion? JACK So we are not dealing with purely buildings that are being handed over. There is a large amount of existing stock where we need to do this work. JIM Loads of people are doing it, recording it on asset registers, the size, all of those things, manufacturer, because there’s a world of choice between perspex, photoluminescence, engraved, all these other things have to be recorded somewhere.
RICHARD We’re trying to help simplify that process, like when we were talking about change management earlier, define what that process needs to be because at the moment loads of people aren’t doing it. A lot of people are doing it, but doing it under different methodologies. We're trying to give some sort of common standardisation to the process.
CHRIS WATTS Just one point on this. What happens when the building actually changes? So within the sizes of the signs, one of the other bits is the cosine of angle that you're looking at the sign. So if the escape route within a big open area changes, then effectively the sign size ought to change on a new installation. Are we saying once a new installation's been done that's it, or are we saying that any changes in the building result in updated changes in the sign sizes. I don't have a view…
GEORGE Just to reinforce that, Jim, the point you’re making about that information being collected, I can promise you that a lot of the people that are doing those surveys and those asset inspections that you've referred to, they're exactly the people that we need to give these data templates to because they don't know what they should be collecting. It's very variable. So what we really want to do is say for this fire sign what information should be collected. For a survey firm that's pricing up a job, and they're putting together a survey data template to capture asset data, they'll probably simply say how many signs are there?
JIM CREAK And that's currently how the quotations are being done. And it’s wrong. The illustrations of that stuff that you've shown me or Joanne's kindly posted is the one reason why all of that stuff is being procured in thousands and thousands and doesn't even conform to anything. GEORGE Is there an equivalent that is compliant. JIM Well, it may well be compliant with somebody's design because obviously someone's designed it, but it doesn't conform to any recognised guide or standard. and is. GEORGE Can you provide an alternative that does comply?
JIM CREAK Yes, but I'm not a manufacturer. So somebody can ask me to give them some advice about what they should do to tenants about instructions in respect to fire, but in purpose built flats it certainly wouldn't be putting these types of things up against fire alarms. And as for that showing different types of fire extinguisher, I mean that is just fire extinguishers companies wanted to sell some signs. That's not a system, is it? Why would you want to put up all that information when you've chosen one particular or two particular fire extinguishers within an environment where you know it's appropriate for the type of fire they're fighting? So this is my angst against an industry…
RICHARD In terms of question 2, What other information do we need to ensure that fire signs perform as required? JIM CREAK I’ve written what I feel is appropriate for any estates management because these are not products standards, they're how you do exactly what that question asks because it starts off with asking the simple question do we need any of them? And that’s what every building manager should be asking: do we need any of it? Can we do it another way? Yes we can, but do we want to? And then who we should engage, that’s why I put down the most important thing is the tenant engagement in this because this is a communication exercise and we need to communicate, we need to tell them about the emergency lighting, what's likely to happen in a stay put scenario.
GEORGE Are are there any other parameters we need to know about the fire sign? JACK WHITE Purpose and wording. PETER Effectively it should be called an ISO 7010. So it should have an icon identifier. JIM CREAK It’s not an icon, it’s a graphical symbol. And ISO BSEN 7010 is a directory of graphical symbols for which a known meaning has been assigned. So it's not how to use signs at all. It's just a huge directory of registered safety signs. And I had to go to the High Court to ensure that I could say the word registered. RICHARD Well, I think that I think purpose and wording covers that, doesn't it?
RICHARD Question 3, back to the tasks, we remember the SFG20 example. GEORGE So in terms of installation, I imagine the installation…is there a recognised method by which you install signage? JIM Method is material appropriate. There's no such thing as a non illuminated sign, by the way.
GEORGE In terms of competency is there any authority that would be overseeing the fire safety signage? CHRIS WATTS Cinemas and theatres, there the only people I know who look at needing a maintained sign. And that's part of their licensing agreements. JIM Yeah, it’s theatre technicians union.
GEORGE Could anybody provide any manufacturers of signs? JIM CREAK The Health & Safety Sign Association has some good members and obviously as far as that's concerned I've been associated with it and I've been banging the drums of the stuff that I've been talking to you for 30 years now. I was, and to a certain extent on technical basis still, associated with a company called Jlight PLC that manufacture photo-luminescent signs and photo-luminescent signs for the aircraft industry and for the World Trade Centre after the requirements for these types of systems in New York on trains and marine application. And of course manufacture photoluminescence fire safety signs for the industrial commercial environment.
RICHARD What are the component elements of a lightning protection system? CHRIS WATTS I think I'd probably know enough to keep well away from it. As a fire risk assessor I used to avoid lightning like there's no tomorrow. I mean, I know the principle of the protection you get, but the actual detail of it is within the industry and is very carefully…I think the people you need are you WJ Furs is it? There the experts on lightning protection. JIM CREAK I put somebody in touch with you who I met in a presentation on lightning strikes, but also may have good expertise in adaptive signage, which is now being adopted by Greenwich University, a company called Light for Life. I don't know whether you recall them getting in touch with you. They’re doing quite a number of lightning systems checks for Orbit Housing. PETER The only comment I will say is when it comes to lighting and we're talking about lightning protection, we specify surge protection devices. And they do a similar thing for such things as computer systems.
GEORGE Thank you very much everybody. What we're trying to do here is as people who are by no means…we’ve just got no knowledge of of these areas at all. But I've gained a lot of knowledge over this last few weeks on AOVs and cavity barriers and things like that and what we're trying to do is build the same sort of information base that we've got on those other asset types. So it's our intention that when we've tried to distill this and obviously we've been running quite hard to try and capture the information within this couple of hours, we'll be coming back to you to run past you our interpretation of things. Then that information will then go through into the Golden Thread Initiative team and then when they've reviewed it, it will then go into the MHCLG. So that's the cycle of what we're doing here. What we're also doing is trying to capture the knowledge of the industry as to how we can avoid problems that undermine the measures of protection that are being put in place.
So within BIM4housing we’ve set up an environment called Black Box which will allow people to contribute experiences that they're coming across so that as an industry we can start to engineer them out. And discuss them as well so that there's going to be the means for people to debate things. So the conversation we're having earlier about the colour of paint, for example, I remember having a conversation a few years ago with Arap and they would not provide the information about, we were working on schools, how their lighting solution. It was a PFI and the construction company that was employing them and I was representing was under penalties if they didn't achieve certain lux levels. And Arap were very resistant to actually say that their design solution would achieve whatever lux level (600 lux or whatever) at that area. And the reason they gave was because we don't know what colour the paint is going to be in the room. That was probably quite a reasonable thing, but my view is that they should then specify what type of paint and finish and colour their performance was measured against. So I’m very receptive to what you said earlier, Jim.
JIM CREAK Again, when I look at lighting levels in industrial and commercial environments I am appalled at lighting under ordinary conditions for even the most basic work that Tranza did in the states on slips, trips and falls on stairways. I am really surprised that we haven't seen a number of accidents. And in the social housing the more I take my light metre with me the more concern I have is under ordinary conditions, not on sudden power loss conditions or emergency lighting conditions. Under ordinary conditions, even more exacerbated by the delays on PIR and movement designs within the means of escape. And these are all after fits, after ideas because with all due respect, Chris, you'll have to agree, we never considered that any ordinary light would go out in the means of escape. On a trip switch and need to be activated by a movement of a door or something.
CHRIS WATTS Yeah, what worries me is you go out the escape route and you trip over the rescue sets.
JIM Again, even at Luton Airport, I did nearly exactly the same thing with the mobility wheelchair. Yeah, it’s there, I hope the project can do something about it. My only problem I have is when I first got involved with BIM, I tried desperately hard to rewrite the specification for fire safety signs within the national building specification and trying to deal with RIBA and then them wanting £12,000 for someone to go through product selector before they would even talk about trying to put the technical aspects together properly. So I hope you do succeed in getting this in the public domain because it is needed.