Corridors and circulation areas

Safety sign luminaires showing the direction towards the emergency exit should be visible at every point of any corridor that also serves as an escape route.

The functionalities and design principles for corridors and circulation areas are very diverse depending on their location in the design – ranging from the simple function of passage between points within the building to extensive representative spaces with their own architectural expression. The parameters and locations of the emergency luminaires must be correlated with the architectural design and all other coexisting installations and structures – with special focus placed on fire protection, signalling and lighting control installations in particular.


Smart planning for various circumstances

Corridor spaces are used on a daily basis, but we rarely register any architectural obstacles they may contain. These objects often help define the vision and message behind the building’s design, but they may become a hindrance in certain unfavourable circumstances. Just imagine getting past them in scarce light, amid billowing smoke and with increasing nervousness during evacuation – it will motivate you to prepare those areas for emergency situations as effectively as possible.


Sufficiently bright and visible emergency exit signs

A safety sign luminaire showing the direction towards an emergency exit should be visible at every point along every communication route that also serves as an escape route. When designing the lighting and designating the locations for the emergency exit signs, the distance between those luminaires should not exceed the visibility range of those signs. Furthermore, the entire escape route must be illuminated in accordance with the applicable legal regulations.


Well-thought-out placement and connection

Emergency lighting arrangements for escape routes must also be verified in terms of their compatibility with any safety systems that are often located in corridors. Every luminaire’s location should be determined with consideration towards the relevant mounting and connection options to avoid potential collisions. This is done by checking the design layers for the course of the installation and the assembly points of signalling devices, control systems, firefighting equipment and the like. During this verification, it’s important to place additional luminaires at specific points that require it.

EU guidelines require proper evacuation conditions for all occupied workspaces

Important emergency lighting design principles to remember about for corridors:

  • escape routes
    paying close attention to the surface illumination of the floor at inclination change points (such as ramps or stairs), intersections, direction changes and corridor corners
  • emergency lighting
    that indicates the course of the escape route and various safety signs along its course
  • lighting for points of emphasis
    such as first aid kits, firefighting equipment and warning points


Emergency lighting requirements:

Type of emergency lighting  task / activity area

Illuminance level (Emin) / Luminance level (Lmin)

Diversity ratio (Ud)



Time until 50% / 100% illuminance is achieved
Escape route lighting 1 lx 1:40 2 m on the floor 1 h 5 s / 60 s
Corridor level or direction change 1 lx Not applicable Within 2 m 1 h 5 s / 60 s
Exit signs on the escape route 2 cd/m2 10:1 Safety sign 1 h 5 s / 60 s
Lighting of points of emphasis 5 lx Not applicable Point of emphasis 1 h 5 s / 60 s