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Lifts, toilets, exits – specific areas

Some spaces are not directly involved in the evacuation process, but they are still subject to special emergency lighting requirements in order to avoid panic and ensure the highest level of safety for everyone.

Some areas within buildings have their own special descriptions in terms of norms and legal regulations. It’s important to remember that the classification of a space as a specific area and the associated requirements are very different for various national markets and must be taken into account in the design process. Most often, this category includes spaces that are not directly involved in the evacuation process, but the lighting requirements are described for them for the purpose of ensuring the safety of people who may occupy them during a power outage.


Specific areas call for specific emergency lighting

This category will include places such as escalators, accessible restrooms for people with disabilities, lift cabins and the like. In the event of a power failure, when the general lighting goes out and there is no access to natural light in these types of places, panic may ensue – for example, as a result of claustrophobia.


Points of emphasis need adequate illumination

During the design process, we most often adopt the same kinds of solutions for the specific areas as for the open areas (despite the smaller floor area than specified in the definition). However, it’s essential to remember about points of emphasis, which have their own design requirements. For example – an individual, dedicated escape lighting fixture must be installed near the emergency button in restrooms for people with disabilities in order to provide adequate lighting in an emergency.

Similarly, in lift cabins, it’s obligatory to use emergency lighting with the same parameters as in open areas in order to avoid complete darkness during an emergency descent after a power failure.

The emergency luminaires used in these situations should be self-contained or powered from a central power supply, but in the latter case, they must be wired with flame-retardant cables. At the same time, you have to consider the extensive testing and reporting requirements when opting for a centrally powered system.


EU guidelines require proper evacuation conditions for all occupied workspaces

Important emergency lighting design principles to remember about for specific areas like lifts and restrooms:

  • identifying the possible presence of people with disabilities and locating any special equipment intended for their use
  • the location of lifts and emergency lighting in lift cabins and on the way from lift doors to the nearest escape route
  • variations in the definitions of specific areas depending on individual national regulations


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
Open area lighting 0.5 lx 1:40 Floor area excluding
a 0.5 m margin
1 h 5 s / 60 s
Specific area lighting 0.5 lx 1:40 Within 2 m 1 h 5 s / 60 s
Lighting of points of emphasis 5 lx Not applicable Point of emphasis 1 h 5 s / 60 s