Mar 28 2016

Illumination of the Means of Egress

Category: Exit Signs,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 12:00 am
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Q: My question is in regards to illumination of the means of egress, specifically, illumination provided outside the building to a public way. I was told by a consultant that the only means of egress requiring illumination are the “designated” egress paths. We were cited for no illumination for the exit path to the public way, and it was not marked by Exit signs. Is emergency lighting required for illumination outside the building?

A: I agree that only the portions that are designated as the path of egress on the exit discharge are required to be illuminated. The exit discharge becomes a ‘designated path of egress’ when the exit from the building discharges onto the walkway outside the building. I have seen many paths outside the building that are confusing and unsure which path to follow to the public way. In those situations, outdoor ‘Exit’ signs need to mark the path of egress, even though it is outside.  Section 7.8.1.1 of the 2000 edition of the LSC clearly states that the exit discharge only includes ‘designated’ stairs, aisles, corridors, ramps, escalators, walkways, and exit passageways leading to a public way. If you were cited for not having illumination on an outside sidewalk that lead to a dumpster or other such area that does not serve as a means of egress, then I would say that was an incorrect finding and should be appealed. However, if the finding was for lack of illumination for an outside walkway that does serve as a means of egress from an exit of the building, then that would seem to be a correct finding.

Your question: “Is emergency lighting required for illumination outside the building?” depends on what type of building it is. If the building is healthcare occupancy or ambulatory care occupancy, then yes, emergency lighting is required. According to section 19.2.9.1 (and 21.2.9.1 for ambulatory care) of the 2000 edition of the LSC, emergency lighting must be provided according to section 7.9. Section 7.9.1 says the exit discharge is included in this emergency lighting requirement. You are permitted to utilize battery back-up lighting (as long as it meets the requirements), or generator power for the emergency lighting. Most hospitals use generator power for their emergency lighting since they already have the generator. Battery back-up emergency lights take much more maintenance in monthly and annual testing.

If the building is a business occupancy, then section 39.2.9.1 states emergency lighting is only required in a building that has two or more stories above the level of exit discharge; in a building that is subject to an occupant load of 100 or more persons, above or below the level of exit discharge; or in a building that is subject to 1000 or more total occupants.