Emergency Lighting Testing

Fully functioning emergency lighting is a legal requirement in commercial properties such offices, multi stories building and building open to public. To ensure the emergency lighting is working properly, the emergency lighting systems should be inspected regularly. The two most important standards covering the minimum requirements for testing and maintenance of emergency lighting are:

  • BS EN 50172 and BS 5266-8:2004 (dual number standard)
  • BS 5266-1:2016.

The BS EN 50172 specifies requirements and the BS 5266 is a code of practice.


Manual or self testing emergency lights?


Following the BS5266-1, the emergency lighting testing may be performed manually, but it is advisable to use automated tests.

The specifier can choose the type of testing and reporting required for each building.



How often should emergency lighting be tested?


Any responsible person in charge of a building will need to be aware of the emergency lighting testing. The intervals required to test the system are set to daily, monthly and annually.

Daily emergency lighting tests set by the BS EN 50172:2004:

  • Check the indicators of central power supply. This is a visual inspection to confirm the system is in the ready condition and doesn't require a test of operation.

Monthly emergency lighting tests:

According to BS5266-1, functional operation should be tested at least every month. The responsible person has to take following actions in the monthly test:

  • Checking the indicator is illuminated. If it is not illuminated, the supply should be checked

The BS EN 50172:2004 sets the minimum requirements for testing emergency lighting when using automatic testing devices to a monthly interval.

The responsible person has to take following actions in the monthly test:

  • Switching on each luminaire and exit signs into emergency mode by simulation of power failure for a period sufficient to ensure that each lamp is illuminated

  • Checking the correct operation of system monitors for central battery systems

Annual emergency lighting tests:

According to BS 5266, testing for full rated duration (duration testing) should be performed on each luminaire at least annually. Visual inspection of all types of emergency lighting should be also performed at least annually.

The BS 50172:2004 sets these requirements for annual test:

  • Each luminaire and internally illuminated exit sign shall be tested for its full rated duration

  • The supply of normal lighting should be restored and any indicator lamp or device checked to ensure that it is showing that normal supply has been restored.

  • The results of the test and any repair should be recorded in the emergency lighting log book.





Log book.


Depending on the size of the emergency lighting installation, the information provided in the log book varies. It can be presented in paper or electronic format. The general format and content of a typical emergency lighting log book are present in the Annex of BS EN 5266-1.

It should contain the following information consisting of:

  • Legal details

  • Project brief

  • Risk analysis

  • Equipment details

  • Design and modification

  • Drawings

  • Calculations

  • Commissioning data

  • Maintenance



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