By law it is required that emergency lighting installations must have routine tests carried out, these tests should be documented with the results including maintenance and rectification works all held in an appropriate logbook. Recommendations for the mini-mum test schedules are provided in BS5266 and EN50172. NRG self-test luminaires are certified to the applicable standards and can be inspected by a competent person: i.e., anyone who can look at an indicator LED! They do not need to be an electrician or specialist.
ICEL and The LIA (Lighting Industry Association) have emphasised that automatic testing is far more effective and more reliable than manual testing. So, what are the real benefits of self-testing emergency lighting?
Building owners and responsible persons such as facilities managers must be able to prove that their emergency lighting systems are consistently working correctly and must maintain them in full working order. To ensure this, they would usually have to test each individual unit, keeping specific records of when it was tested. This is a time-consuming and costly task which is often over-looked leaving responsible persons open to prosecution.
Installing a self-testing emergency lighting system is easy and one of the best and most cost-effective ways to meet safety regula-tions effectively. These systems remove the need to manually test and record every emergency light within a building – or across an entire estate, saving significant time and money; By reducing labour costs and maintenance time, self-test emergency lighting provides a very short payback period, making them an option that should be considered when starting your project.
Benefits of self-test emergency light units:
- Easy to install – no need for key switches / data cables etc.
- Convenient – mandatory tests are carried out without disruption to normal use of the building.
- Due diligence – automatic tests are conducted, and faults are indicated.
- Reduced maintenance – self-test units identify faults in luminaires requiring maintenance, any faults are then highlighted.
- Staggered tests – tests on luminaire are will action at different times meaning every area is still protected in the event of a real emergency.
- Cost saving – there is no need for dedicated personnel to initiate test and inspect luminaires. maintenance personnel are only required to rectify faults and re-set systems.
Self-test units use an internal clock programmed to carry out tests at set intervals:
1) Short functional test every month
2) Full test duration once every 12 months with the first taking place within 4 weeks of installation
The remote control (REM10) user guide outlines the features of the remote control which can be used in conjunction with most NRG emergency luminaires. One of the unique features is the ability to “pre-commission” the luminaires. Not only can the remote control be used to manually carry out functional and duration tests, but also, after a luminaire has been installed and is in the initial charging mode (indicator flashing green), the remote can be used to initiate the first commissioning test before the battery is fully charged. The luminaire will acknowledge the test request and will start the initial duration test once charging is complete. This can save a lot of time when installing and negates the need for a second visit by the installer and means that they don’t need to wait around for 3hrs for the test to finish.
It is still possible to run a manual test on the self-test emergency lighting units.
Furthermore, the latest battery and charging technology provides significant energy-saving benefits. Thanks to the low self-dis-charge characteristics of our lithium batteries, they are in charge mode for less than 5% of the time which equates to approx. 95% energy saving compared to conventional battery technology.
The units carry out automatic, regular testing without disruption to normal use of the building. If failures are indicated when con-ducting the tests, personnel are notified via a visual indication at the luminaire. This not only saves maintenance and facilities per-sonnel from having to test every individual fitting, it means they are only required to attend to units with reported faults. Such faults are reported almost as they occur, whereas manual inspections are only required once a month.
These days building owners and responsible persons must be able to prove that their emergency lighting systems work correctly and are maintained in full working order, with every system luminaire subjected to daily, monthly, and annual testing.
Whilst testing individual emergency luminaires isn’t difficult, inspecting an entire installation for operation and duration performance can be extremely labour intensive and expensive.
Reducing the Burden
Self-test emergency products can reduce the burden of testing emergency lighting installations as these perform all mandatory testing automatically, removing the need for the user or building owner to perform manual testing.
Monthly functional tests and annual full duration tests are automatically initiated with results shown via an LED indicator on the luminaire – the responsible person need only check the status of the LED indicator and record the results in the logbook.
Not only is this a far less time-consuming and lower-cost operation than with manual testing, but it also ensures that maintenance personnel are only required to attend to lights with reported faults.
Where a fault is identified the LED indicator will report what is at fault and continue to report this until the fault has been rectified.
Purchasing self-test emergency lighting units can bring many benefits, including reducing labour costs and time. The initial costs may be higher but overall, they provide a very short payback period, making them an option that should be considered when start-ing your project.
5 BENEFITS OF SELF-TEST EMERGENCY LIGHTING
- More effective and reliable than manual testing
- Easy to install
- Saves time and money
- Testing causes no disruption to the normal operation of the building
- Staggered tests mean all areas are protected in the event of a power failure
Each self-test product is fitted with an automatic, self-test function that will commission and test itself in accordance with the re-quirements of the British Standards. Regular functional, and annual duration tests will be automatically completed as well as checks for things such as battery charge condition.
All NRG self-test products have been 3rd party tested and certified to ensure compliance with the latest standards.
Standards dictate that emergency lighting systems require routine inspections and tests to be done. The results of these tests must be maintained. If automatic testing is used, the results of a monthly short duration test and an annual full-rated duration test should be recorded.
EN 62034:2012 – Automatic Test Systems for Battery Powered Emergency Escape Lighting covers self-contained stand-alone lumi-naires.
A function test is a brief test that simulates a mains failure and checks the operation of the emergency light source from the battery supply.
The local indicator LED flashes green whilst the function test is in progress.
If there is a failure during a function test the local indicator LED either changes to a permanent or flashing red.
A duration test simulates a mains failure for the rated duration (3-hours). It also checks the operation of the emergency light source from the battery supply for the rated duration of the module.
The local indicator LED flashes green whilst the duration test is in progress.
If there is a failure during a duration test the local indicator LED either changes to a permanent or flashing red.
The battery is required to be fully charged before a duration test can be started.
By law it is required that emergency lighting installations must have routine tests carried out, these tests should all be documented with the results including maintenance and rectification results all held on file. Recommendations for the minimum test schedules are provided in BS5266 and EN50172.
Testing emergency lighting does not take much effort but inspecting every luminaire for correct operation and duration can be la-bour intensive and therefore expensive. It also requires that every installation will require ‘key switches’ to be positioned so each luminaire can be seen as each test is carried out – this can increase the costs of the initial installation and may detract from the aesthetics of the property.