Tag Archives: Lighting Association Ireland

The importance of getting emergency lighting right

Richard Caple, immediate
past President of the Society of Light &
Lighting (SLL), and Lighting Applications
Manager, Thorlux Lighting.

While not a significant factor in this particular event, emergency lighting has become a focus of attention for many building owners, occupiers and employers. An event of this scale highlights and reminds everyone of the importance of providing, testing and maintaining effective life safety systems. Emergency lighting is a critical life safety system but providing a compliant solution is often time-consuming, complex and expensive. To quote a colleague: “often just enough is done.” But is “just enough” enough? Emergency lighting must follow a process of consultation, collaborative design and rigorous maintenance and testing.

Consultation
One of the most important parts of emergency lighting is consultation. Without communication between all of the relevant parties, those responsible for the design of a system stand very little chance of producing a compliant scheme. The consultation phase creates the forum for key stakeholders to engage and develop a better understanding of the type of building, its intended use, the type of people using it, periods of use, risks and emergency strategies.

These are all important factors and are identified in IS3217:2013 + A1:2017. Often, however, these consultations do not take place. This leads to assumptions and estimates, which in my experience are often never reviewed or questioned, potentially leading to an ineffective system.

The type and number of stakeholders involved in the consultation will depend on the nature of the project. For example, if it is a new building or the refurbishment of an existing one, the size and scale of the building will also dictate those who should be involved. At the very least the building owner, occupier/employer, building services engineers, architects, electrical engineers and lighting designers should be communicating to deliver an affective and appropriate emergency lighting solution.

The role of emergency lighting has also become more complex, which further increases the importance of consultation. Not only is emergency lighting required to facilitate the safe exit of people from a building, high risk emergency lighting is needed in areas where potentially-dangerous equipment is being used, or a process needs to be made safe before evacuation.

A new consideration on the horizon is safety lighting or “stay put” as it is also known. In some situations there may be a greater danger from evacuating people out of the building or there may be situations where mains power fails to the building but this poses no danger to the occupants. Therefore, certain tasks might be carried on, but a sufficient amount of light needs to be provided, which may be much higher than normal emergency lighting levels. System design then becomes very important. Safety lighting also needs rigorous consultation between all parties to produce a policy and to ensure that the system is sufficient and safe.

Design
Once all of the impacting factors have been identified within the consultation, the design process can start. Aside from the requirements of escape lighting to routes and anti-panic lighting to open areas, illumination is needed at the points of emphasis, such as changes in direction or level, as well as the highlighting of fire alarm call points, firefighting equipment, first aid points and fire alarm panels. The requirements can become more complex for large buildings, high-rise buildings or buildings where the mobility of people may be impaired, such as hospitals or care homes.

The level of potential complexity that the designer needs to consider highlights the importance of not only ensuring the competency of the lighting designer, but that they also have access to the relevant information. It must also be remembered that emergency lighting is covered in an array of different standards, which from time to time are updated. Is the designer conversant with the latest requirements? How do they prove that they are? Is it time for professional competency recognition for emergency lighting designers? These are some of the questions that are starting to be asked by many within the lighting industry.

Maintenance and testing
One of the most costly elements of emergency lighting is the testing and upkeep of a system. I have seldom come across buildings that have records demonstrating proper testing, and also important, records of maintenance being carried out showing rectification of failed or faulty emergency luminaires. To fully test and log emergency lighting in compliance with the standards is expensive, with labour time being the significant factor.

Quarterly short duration tests are required to prove the system is operational with a full rated duration test being required every year. The full rated duration test is often the most costly and problematic, as consideration is needed as to what happens after the luminaire has been fully discharged. Most manufacturers will recommend a full 24-hour charge before the luminaire is effective again and at full capacity. Therefore, managing these tests – while still keeping a building operational and safe – can be a challenge. Often to do this involves testing alternate luminaires at different points through the year, meaning multiple visits to a site. This raises costs further. However, one thing is clear, not testing and maintaining emergency lighting is a sure way of contributing to the system not functioning correctly when it is really needed.

Technology
Advances in technology are helping to overcome some of the problems associated with emergency lighting compliance. LED technology, for example, has been hugely beneficial. Emergency lighting products have become much smaller and more discreet, while the output and optical performance has improved significantly. These improvements allow for much wider spacings and consequently a reduction in the number of emergency luminaires required. Better lamp and battery life is also reducing maintenance costs.

Another significant advancement in emergency lighting is self-test, communication and reporting systems. In fact, Autotest systems, where the luminaire tests itself to the requirements of the standards, have been around for a few decades.

However, today’s communicating and reporting technologies, which provide enhanced status and condition information, make the management of emergency luminaires much simpler, as well as lowering life costs. Building owners/maintenance managers now have the facility to see the status of all of their emergency luminaires within a building, or even multiple buildings, on their computers, or mobile devices.

Importantly, these systems can also be proactive, providing instant details of any fault. Through manual testing a problem may develop with a luminaire shortly after test, meaning it could be a whole month before the fault is identified at the next test. Today’s systems also have the ability to tell you what has failed, for example a battery or lamp, and to display where the fitting is in the building. This reduces labour
time for remedial works.

With battery replacements typically being required every three to six years, this is the most common regular maintenance needed. A proactive system can not only tell you when a battery has failed, but also identify batteries that are about to fail, again reducing the overall call out rate and maintenance cost for a building.

A further advantage of these automatic systems is the ability to schedule tests. Either random testing can be carried out, ensuring that no one area will be completely without emergency lighting due to depleted charge in the batteries, or it can be scheduled for the whole building to be tested at once, for example on Christmas Day when the building is not being used. Batteries then have time to charge. This ensures full capacity when the building is re-occupied, thus mitigating risk to the occupants.

Conclusion
Emergency lighting is a life safety system, and it must be taken seriously. Getting it right is important, and involves a process of consultation, competent design, careful consideration of system type and robust maintenance and upkeep. It remains to be seen as to what will happen to building regulations following the events at Grenfell Tower. However, we all have a part to play, and it is up to us to ensure that our buildings are safe for people to live, work and play in.

LAI CE Regulation Course kicks off 2018 programme

Gabriel Byrne, LAI Chairman, addressing the attendance at the recent CE course in the RDS before handing over to Andy Guest, the course presenter from LIA.

This course was specifically devised by LIA for its members in the UK but LAI has also adopted accreditation to it it as part of its membership criteria.

The nature of the course is more like a workshop with inter-action and discussion a key part of the proceedings. The capacity attendance in the RDS fully embraced the concept and participated with enthusiasm, sharing views and opinions on the various points raised. All agreed that it was extremely educational and beneficial.

Apart from an important information source, accreditation as having completed this course is also critical in that it is now part of the requirements of LAI membership. The recent AGM passed a motion approving a measure whereby at least one person from member companies must have accreditation as having successfully completed this course.

This, and other initiatives planned for 2018, demonstrate LAI’s determination to provide guidance and leadership to the lighting sector in Ireland, and to promote professional and responsibility. It will continue to promote best practice across all industry segments, and to engage with Government agencies and regulatory authorities, especially the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), with whom it has a number of working committees.

Gay Byrne, LAI Chairman, addressing the attendance at the recent CE course in the RDS before handing over to Andy Guest, the course presenter from LIA.

LAI and LIA form alliance to strengthen future

Pictured signing the agreement at LIA’s Telford Centre is Gay Byrne, LAI Chairman and Julie Humpreys, LIA Commercial Manager.

Lighting Association Ireland (LAI) and the Lighting Industry Association (LIA) have announced a joint agreement to work closely together. The two bodies share a similar outlook and philosophy when it comes to their members and the future of lighting, and the closer relationship between them will benefit not just the members, but the entire lighting industry.

Lighting Association Ireland is the established representative body for the sector in Ireland with a membership that includes all the key players and market-leading brands. Between them they are involved in every facet of the business, including design, manufacture, distribution and installation of lighting throughout all of Ireland.

The LIA has a heritage of over 80 years and is Europe’s largest trade association for lighting equipment professionals with over 250 members. It is globally recognised as an authority on all lighting matters.

The agreement between LAI and the LIA will see the sharing of member benefits between both organisations covering a wide range of services, from training to social events and including the LIA’s UKAS-accredited lighting laboratory.

In the context of Brexit and what it may or may not bring, both associations agree that it is logical to have mutually-beneficial ties to maximise shared strengths and interests for the future.

See www.laoi.ie

 

Emergency Lighting Standard IS 3217:2013 Amendment

Gearoid McKenna, the LAI representative on the National Standards Authority of Ireland Fire Safety Standards Committee.

IS 3217:2013 was originally published on 27 December, 2013 further to the first edition which was unveiled in 1989 and the second edition in 2008. The standard is produced with the assistance of the National Standards Authority of Ireland Fire Safety Standards Committee that is made up of representatives from the following – ACEI; OPW; IFE; ECA; AECI; LAI; EMDA; CFOA; NDFEM; FIAI; HSA and emergency lighting manufacturers.

Subsequent to the publishing of IS 3217:2013, the committee decided to meet one year later to review the standard and discuss any feedback. There was a considerable amount of feedback and queries into various sections and clauses, most notably Section 10 Central Power Systems and Clause 8.5.2.2. which deals with lift cars and lift shafts. There was also some editorial feedback.

The committee met a number of times to deliberate on this feedback before producing a draft amendment that was then circulated for public enquiry. At the end of the public enquiry period 40 submitted comments were collated and each comment was considered in detail by the committee.

The final draft amendment, which included requirements in line with European standards which had been published since the original publication date, was then approved by the committee and forwarded to NSAI for approval and publication.

The part of the standard dealing with lift cars and lift shafts was amended to include 5 lux minimum in and around the car. In the pit a minimum of 1 lux is required. Details of the siting of the luminaires were specified.

Central Power Systems, Section10 was where most of the amendments were made. The committee completely reviewed this section dealing with cables, wiring systems and circuit requirements. Cabling options have been added with clear guidance to size of cables, survival times and stated applicable standards.

Section 10.2.3: Interconnection of Luminaires was added. This section is about the protection of emergency escape lighting within an escape route where escape lighting is provided by either a single or two or more circuits. It details the cabling, connections to the luminaire, fusing and junction boxes. Annex K was added to demonstrate typical wiring arrangements for single and multiple compartments.

Section.3.3 Joints was amended to comply with Section 10.2.3. Details of the enclosures with survival times of 90 and 60 minutes were added. E90 & E60 enclosures complying with DIN4102-12 are deemed to meet these requirements. These amendments, among others including editorial changes, are now in IS 3217:2013+A1:2017 which is available from NSAI.

The next step for IS 3217 is a complete review of the entire standard which is conducted between three and five years after the publication date. The National Standards Authority of Ireland Fire Safety Standards Committee has already commenced this process.

Contact: NSAI. Tel: 01 – 807 3800; email: info@nsai.ie; www.nsai.ie

LAI Builds on renewed momentum

Gay Byrne, Chairman, Lighting Association Ireland (LAI)

“LAI has now gained considerable momentum in recent months”, says Gay, “and we are extremely pleased with our progress to date. Indeed, the manner in which all sectors of the lighting industry in Ireland, and abroad, has responded has been most encouraging.

“Right from the outset LAI has had an outward-looking approach, our objective being to reach out to — and engage with — all the professionals involved in lighting. To that end we have had preliminary discussions with most of the lighting-related professional bodies and representative organisations, and have formed working relationships that will be further developed over the coming weeks and months.

“We have a firm structure of steering committees and sub-committees in place so that the various strands of our activities progress in parallel. While separate, they do not operate in isolation but maintain close contacts so that all developments proceed in tandem, and in a cohesive manner.

“For instance, our CPD programme is now well advanced and we expect to unveil a strong line-up of speakers and topics that we can roll out under the LAI banner shortly to all lighting professionals. We have had excellent engagement with the other lighting-related professional bodies on this and the intention is to conduct joint CPD events over the course of the year.

“With Brexit looming we have also looked further afield. We have had a number of discussions with the European lighting representative body and, while these will continue, we have forged a much closer relationship the Lighting Industry Association (LIA) in the UK. We see that we have a great deal in common with one another and plan to develop mutually-beneficial ties to maximise our shared strengths and interests.

“That said, LAI is also about the lighting community, the people within the industry. To that end we have become involved in the Peter Church Rememberance Golf Outing. This is a joint initiative between Peter’s wife, Louise, their daughters Megan, Olivia and Laura, Reg Farrell and LAI.

“At the request of Louise and the family it is being organised as a charity event, the objective being to raise funds for LauraLynn, Ireland’s Childrens’ Hospice, Leopardstown and Our Lady’s Hospice & Cares Services, Harold’s Cross.

“Venue is The Castle Golf Club in Dublin and the date is Friday, 22 September 2017. It is €600 to enter a team (to include golf and buffet). There are also sponsorship opportunities of €100 per tee box. Fill details are available at www.laoi.ie

“As the foregoing indicates, LAI has gained considerable momentum since its relatively recent formation, and the industry response has been tremendous. New members are coming on board at an increasing rate with LAI now firmly recognised as the voice of lighting in Ireland.”

END

 

Peter Church Memorial Golf Outing

Peter Church SquareThe Peter Church Memorial Golf Outing is a joint initiative between Peter’s wife, Louise, their daughters Megan, Olivia and Laura, Reg Farrell and Lighting Association Ireland. Peter’s reach and influence extended far and wide within the electrical industry and, while renowned and respected for his business acumen, he is also remembered for his generosity of spirit and the friendships he forged.

This outing is the perfect opportunity for his many industry friends and colleagues to remember Peter and to commemorate his life. At the request of Louise and the family it is being organised as a charity event, the objective being to raise funds for LauraLynn, Ireland’s Childrens’ Hospice, Leopardstown and Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross.

Venue is The Castle Golf Club in Dublin and the date is Friday, 22 September 2017. Format is a four-ball team event with a shot gun start at 2pm so that all participants finish at the same time. This will be followed by a full buffet meal, the presentation of prizes, a raffle and the charity presentation. Main prize is donated by Louise and the girls.

It is €600 to enter a team (to include golf and buffet) with sponsorship opportunities of €100 per tee box.

To enter a team contact: Deborah Fitzpatrick at 087 – 273 7878, email: deborah@fantasylights.com or

Christine Mulhall. Tel: 01 – 452 4182; email: christine@switch.ie