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AS 2293

Emergency escape lighting and exit signs

AS 2293.1: 2018 – Emergency escape lighting and exit signs

** Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand have issued Standard AS/NZ 2293.1: 2018 (effective 29th June 2018) for Emergency Lighting in Buildings, superseding AS 2293.1: 2005.

Exit and emergency lights are installed in many buildings in Australia, including businesses and private residences. The Australian standard that is legislated in all states is AS2293.

The AS/NZS 2293 Standard series, detailing guidelines for emergency and exit lighting installations, consists of three parts:

  1. Design, installation, and operation.
  2. Inspection and maintenance.
  3. Emergency luminaires and exit signs.

This series focuses on ensuring sufficient illumination for safe evacuation during emergencies. It outlines the necessary changes prompted by emerging technologies, ranging from light sources and stand-by lighting to high-risk task area lighting and remote self-contained emergency luminaires or exit signs.

The series specifies updates on installation requirements and new adaptations. Noteworthy changes include:

  • Light sources
  • Stand-by lighting
  • High-risk area lighting
  • Remote self-contained emergency luminaires and exit signs
  • Emergency and escape lighting and signs

AS/NZ 2293.1 is a crucial component of the AS/NZS 2293 series, focusing on design, installation, and operation of emergency lighting systems. This section provides guidance on spacing tables for common mounting heights of emergency luminaires, ensuring that they provide adequate illumination for safe evacuation in emergency situations.

Before the update, the standard allowed certain configurations that did not meet the required minimum light output levels. This was particularly evident with modern LED luminaires, which did not produce enough light in some cases, leading to compromised safety during emergencies.

The updated AS/NZ 2293.1 addresses these issues with specific refinements and improvements:

  1. Revised spacing tables: New spacing tables have been developed to better accommodate modern LED luminaires. These tables consider factors such as mounting height, spacing between lights, and required light output to ensure adequate coverage in emergency situations.
  2. Enhanced minimum requirements: The updated standard has clarified and strengthened the minimum light output levels for emergency luminaires. This will ensure that the selected lighting systems are suitable for providing sufficient illumination to facilitate the safe exit of occupants during emergencies, regardless of the configuration.
  3. Performance criteria for LED luminaires: To better accommodate modern LED technology, the updated standard now includes specific performance criteria for LED luminaires. This ensures that they meet the same stringent requirements as other types of emergency lighting systems, guaranteeing similar levels of safety and effectiveness.
  4. Updated installation guidelines: AS/NZ 2293.1 now provides clearer, more detailed installation guidelines to ensure proper placement and functionality of emergency luminaires. This includes considerations for factors such as potential obstructions and light spill, which can impact the lighting system’s overall performance.

By addressing previous issues and incorporating new provisions for modern LEDs, the updated AS/NZ 2293.1 effectively ensures that emergency luminaires achieve the required minimum light output levels, enabling safe evacuation of occupants in emergency scenarios. This update reinforces the overall objective of the AS/NZS 2293 series in promoting safety, compliance, and reliability of emergency and exit lighting installations.

AS/NZS 2293.2

AS/NZS 2293.2, the second part of the AS/NZS 2293 series, emphasizes the importance of visibly labelling emergency luminaires and exit lights. This part primarily covers guidelines for the inspection and maintenance of these installations, aiming to maximize their performance in the event of a fire or other emergencies.

Previously, there were inconsistencies relating to how system maintenance information and references were presented, which created confusion and potentially compromised safety. This was properly addressed in the revisions of AS/NZS 2293.2.

Here, we discuss the solutions offered by the updated AS/NZS 2293.2 in more detail:

1. Visible Labelling of Luminaires and Exit Lights: A key mandate is the visible labelling of all emergency luminaires and exit lights. Operators of buildings and facilities are now required to properly label these fixtures, which facilitates regular inspections, improves maintenance efficiency, and ensures the installations comply with required standards.

2. Fire-Resisting Materials and Sprinkler Systems: In the past, buildings that were required to be constructed of fire-resisting materials had separate provisions based on whether or not they were equipped with automatic sprinkler systems. This could lead to confusion, especially when assessing compliance or designing fire prevention systems. However, the revised standard has resolved this inconsistency, as the specific provisions no longer depend on the presence of an automatic sprinkler system.

3. Cable Protection and Fuse Requirements: Another major change is the standardised cable protection class, which is now marked as WS4X across all applications. This relates to the cable’s resistance to environmental factors such as weather and mechanical stress, which is critical in ensuring that the emergency lighting system will function when needed. Additionally, the fuse requirements have been broadened. Fuses can now exceed the type gG specification, a type of general-purpose fuse. This helps in matching the fuse with a ceramic fuse holder, making installation and maintenance tasks less complicated and more streamlined.

In essence, AS/NZS 2293.2 has improved the clarity and comprehensiveness of guidelines related to the inspection and maintenance of emergency luminaires and exit lights. These critical changes ensure easier adherence to standards, enhanced safety, and better system performance in emergencies.

AS/NZS 2293.3

The third part of the AS/NZS 2293 series, AS/NZS 2293.3, pertains specifically to emergency luminaires and exit signs. It establishes the system of classification for emergency luminaires based on their luminous intensity, which is a measure of the perceived power of light by the human eye.

Different classifications have been established, running from A to E, which are determined by their cut off angles – essentially, the angle at which the light output cuts off or greatly diminishes.

Enumerated classifications are as follows:

  • Classes A to D employ a 70-degree cut-off angle. This means that the luminaire should provide its stated degree of illumination up until a 70-degree angle from its center.
  • Classification E, on the other hand, has a smaller cut-off angle of 65 degrees, indicating a narrower area of illumination.

These specific classifications ensure that emergency illumination can be properly designed and tailored to the specific needs of a building or space. Moreover, it guarantees that the luminaires will provide suitable and adequate illumination to enable safe evacuation during emergency situations.

As technology advances, the Committee LG-007, responsible for overseeing these standards, is continually researching and exploring new techniques, energy sources, and lighting technologies. This includes the investigation of innovative solutions such as wayfinding systems, which are designed to guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space. These could potentially be incorporated into future versions of the AS/NZS 2293 series to further enhance the effectiveness of emergency lighting systems.

This strive for enhancement and progress reflects the broader aim of the AS/NZS 2293 series: to continually improve, evolve, and ensure optimal safety conditions in all spaces, both commercial and residential. These advancements will ultimately lead to a robust, reliable, and more intuitive illumination standard for emergency situations.

Emergency escape lighting and exit signs are broken into design and service. Part 2 will look at routine service and maintenance.

Emergency Lighting and Exit Signs for Buildings AS2293.2-2018

Part 2: Routine Service and Maintenance

AS2293.2 is broken into 3 main sections plus Appendices;

Scope and General, General Requirements and Inspect, Survey, Test, Service and Maintenance Procedures.

The Scope and General section covers the scope of the standard and the various definitions used throughout the document. It also covers the requirements for emergency lighting systems in a building or structure, as well as their maintenance.

The General Requirements section covers the various requirements for emergency exit signs in a building or structure. These include:

– The location of exit signs within a building or structure;

– The need to have an exit sign within 0.3 metres of every door;

– The requirement for exit signs to be visible from all directions within a room;

– The need for exit signs to be illuminated at all times when required by AS2293.1;

In addition to these requirements, there are some additional requirements which may not seem obvious at first glance but are nonetheless important for ensuring that an emergency lighting system is effective during an emergency situation such as fire or flood:

Planning for emergency evacuations is an important part of fire safety. Most facilities will have a business continuity plan, which covers the evacuation of the building in case of an emergency.

The outcome is for controlled evacuation of facilities such as buildings, structures and workplaces.


Six-monthly and yearly are the requirements as per AS1851. Set out in tables 14.4.2 and 14.4.3. The listing of the requirements allows for an easy to follow inspection of the business procedures to keep staff and visitors safe on their premise

Reference: “What are the 3 goals of a Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan?”

The testing must be performed physically even though technology is advancing, Table A2 Schedule 2 – Six Monthly- Self-contained emergency luminaries and exit signs. Clearly states that physical inspections of various types are required.

Testing for AS2293 is performed at the following frequencies;

  • Six monthly testing
  • Annual testing
  • 10 yearly and end of light source life requirements

Each testing cycle has multiple different inspections and tests to reach a pass for the lighting system.

All testing must be performed by licenced Fire Technicians.

Six monthly and annual testing is not as easy as it may seem, as the Fire Technician also must understand the AS2293 Part 1 (the installation standard) and the environment in regard to Lux readings.

Table A6 Schedule 6 10 yearly and end of light source (LSL) of maintained- LED luminaries and exit signs explains how to partly perform a 10-year test. The other part refers to the different manufacturers requirements as referred to by legislation in AS2293 and then onto the manufacturer. In other words, the manufacturer requirements for their lights at 10-year intervals must be followed.

Many manufacturers are calling to replace lighting at the 10-year life cycle with a tolerance of 3 months plus or take (as referred by AS2293.2-2019

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