Publication - Advice and guidance

Building standards technical handbook 2020: non-domestic

The building standards technical handbooks provide guidance on achieving the standards set in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. This handbook applies to a building warrant submitted on or after 1 March 2021 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced from that date.

Building standards technical handbook 2020: non-domestic
2. Fire

2.10 Escape lighting

Mandatory Standard

Standard 2.10

Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that in the event of an outbreak of fire within the building, illumination is provided to assist in escape.

2.10.0 Introduction

Escape routes should be illuminated to aid the safe evacuation of a building in an emergency.

Emergency lighting and exit signage may be necessary under the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (see clause 2.0.8).

Reference should be made to Part 1 of the Cinematography (Safety) (Scotland) Regulations 1955 for buildings such as cinemas where there are specific requirements for lighting.

Due to the special fire precautions within residential care buildings, hospitals and enclosed shopping centres, additional guidance is grouped in the annexes. The intention is to help designers and verifiers find the information they require quickly when designing or vetting such buildings. However it is important to remember that the guidance in the annexes is in addition and supplementary to the guidance to Standard 2.1 to 2.15. For additional guidance on:

Conversions - in the case of conversions, as specified in regulation 4, the building as converted shall meet the requirement of this standard (regulation 12, schedule 6).

2.10.1 Escape route lighting

Escape route lighting utilises the artificial lighting within the building, but should be supplied by a fire protected circuit.

Every part of an escape route should have artificial lighting supplied by a protected circuit that provides a level of illumination not less than that recommended for emergency lighting. Where artificial lighting serves a protected zone, it should be via a protected circuit separate from that supplying any other part of the escape route.

Artificial lighting supplied by a protected circuit need not be provided if a system of emergency lighting is installed.

2.10.2 Protected circuits

A protected circuit is a circuit originating at the main incoming switch or distribution board, the conductors of which are protected against fire. Regardless of what system is employed, escape routes should be capable of being illuminated when the building is in use. In conversions for example, it may be easier to install self-contained emergency luminaires than to install a protected circuit to the existing lighting system.

2.10.3 Emergency lighting

Emergency lighting is lighting designed to come into, or remain in, operation automatically in the event of a local and general power failure. It should be installed in buildings considered to be at higher risk, such as in high rise buildings, buildings with basements or in rooms where the number of people is likely to exceed 60.

Emergency lighting should be installed in buildings or parts of a building considered to be at higher risk such as:

  1. in a protected zone and an unprotected zone in a building with any storey at a height of more than 18m

  2. in a room with an occupancy capacity of more than 60, or in the case of an inner room, the combined occupancy capacity of the inner room plus the adjoining room (and any protected zone or unprotected zone serving these rooms) is more than 60

  3. in an underground car park including any protected zone or unprotected zone serving it where less than 30% of the perimeter of the car park is open to the external air

  4. in a protected zone or unprotected zone serving a basement storey

  5. in a place of special fire risk (other than one requiring access only for the purposes of maintenance) and any protected zone or unprotected zone serving it

  6. in a protected zone or unprotected zone serving a storey which has at least 2 storey exits in the following buildings:

Emergency lighting in places of entertainment such as, cinemas, bingo halls, ballrooms, dance halls and bowling alleys, should be in accordance with BS 5266: Part 1: 2016.

Emergency lighting in any other building should be in accordance with BS 5266: Part 1: 2016 as read in association with BS EN 1838: 2013.

In the case of a building with a smoke and heat exhaust ventilation system, the emergency lighting should be sited below the smoke curtains or installed so that it is not rendered ineffective by smoke filled reservoirs.