Business Occupancy Emergency Lights

Q: Are battery powered emergency lights required in business occupancies? We have a small clinic that does not have battery powered emergency lights (or battery powered “Exit’ signs for that matter) and I have a manager at that building that says we need to have them. I can’t find in the LSC where we need them.

A: The requirement for emergency lighting in business occupancies is found in section 39.2.9.1 of the 2000 edition of the LSC. This section qualifies the requirement for emergency lighting depending on the number of stories in the building and the number of occupants in the building. Emergency lighting must comply with section 7.9 in any business occupancy building:

  1. Where the building is two or more stories above the level of exit discharge; OR
  2. If the occupancy is subject to 100 or more occupants above or below the level of exit discharge; OR
  3. The building is subject to 1,000 or more total occupants.

If your business occupancy meets any one of those three conditions, then you must comply with section 7.9 for emergency lighting. If it does not meet any of the above three factors, then emergency lighting is not required and compliance with section 7.9 is not required either. According to section 39.2.10, the marking of the means of egress (or ‘Exit’ signs) must comply with section 7.10 no matter how many stories or number of occupants. However, the need for ‘Exit’ signs to be powered by an emergency source is dependent on whether or not if emergency lighting is required. So, for business occupancies that do not meet any of the three conditions cited above for emergency lighting, then the ‘Exit’ signs do not need emergency power either. While this may seem a bit complicated, the LSC is providing a break for the smaller clinics and not require them to have emergency lighting or emergency power for the ‘Exit’ signs. You will need to determine if your clinic meets the conditions cited in section 39.2.9.1 for emergency lighting. Also, check with your local authorities to determine if they have requirements that exceed the LSC.