Building Regulations

Building Regulations – Energy Efficiency Requirements of Lighting

Part L of the Building Regulations 2000 as amended October 2001 for England and Wales, Part J of the Building Standards in Scotland as amended March 2002. In both cases, the aim of the regulations is to improve the overall energy efficiency of lighting installations without limiting the quality of lighting design.

The lighting regulations for compliance with Part L are divided into two sections:
L1(c) for dwellings
L2(g) for buildings or parts of buildings other than dwellings.

Part L1, Dwellings:
Internal lighting
Section 1.54 of the Approved Document to L1 requires that reasonable provision be made for the installation of energy efficient lighting, preferably in those areas where the lighting is expected to have most use. To achieve this, there are two recommendations.

1. At least 25% of the installed light fixtures should use a light bulb which has a luminous efficacy greater than 40 lumens per circuit-watt.
2. These light fixtures should also have a lamp holder which prohibits the use of light bulbs which are less efficient.

External lighting (fixed to building)
This includes lighting in porches, but not in garages or carports. The recommendation is that all external lighting should automatically switch off when there is enough daylight (or when they are not needed at night) and that these light fittings can only be used with lamps that have a luminous efficiency greater than 40 lumens per circuit-watt.

Part L2, Buildings or parts of buildings other than dwellings.
L2(g) covers those with a floor area of over 100m2; the requirement is to provide lighting systems that are energy efficient, have the opportunity for good energy management and have been properly commissioned.

We can provide further information on how to meet these guidelines. Note that L2 also applies when replacing or renovating old lighting systems in over 100m² of floor area.

Appendix F: Meeting the lighting standards
General lighting in office, industrial and storage buildings can be designed to meet the regulations by selection of lamp and luminaire types.

F1 The performance standard for the electric lighting system in these building types depends on the efficiencies of both the lamp/ballast combination and the light fitting.

The recommendation in paragraph 1.43 is met if:

The installed lighting capacity in circuit Watts comprises lighting fittings incorporating lamps of the following type and all the luminaires have a light output ratio of at least 0.6.

High efficiency lamps for non-daylit areas of offices, industrial and storage buildings
High pressure sodium: All ratings above 70W
Metal halide: All ratings above 70W
Fluorescent Tubes: All 26mm diameter (T8) lamps and 16mm diameter (T5) lamps rated above 11W, provided with low-loss or high frequency control gear.
Compact fluorescent: All ratings above 26W

A maximum of 500W of installed lighting in the building is exempt from the above requirement
Note that these standards also apply when replacing or renovating old lighting systems in over 100m² of floor area. These regulations do not apply to building types included in Purpose Group 1, dwellings.

Lighting Guide 3 (LG3) and Lighting Guide 7 (LG7): Office and workplace lighting

LG3 relates to the visual environment for display screen use. This could be anywhere that VDT’s and PC monitors are in operation, not just offices. In 2001 CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers) introduced an addendum to LG3, the reason for this was that a small section in the guidance with regard to cut-off control was being adopted as compliance with the standard. In practical terms this meant an awful lot of schemes used only Category 2 (Cat2) luminaires as a way to comply with LG3. Clearly, just using a Cat2 luminaire was never meant to ensure compliance.

Partly because of this reason an addendum was introduced that addressed several issues that had arisen since the introduction of LG3 including; the changes in screen and software technology, cut-off control guidelines, ceiling and wall illumination. These are all important factors in creating a good lighting scheme.

In contrast, LG7 (2004) is a specific lighting guidance for offices that replaces the old LG7 that dates from 1993. The need for the update was largely due to the fact that design trends have moved on and to place more emphasis on the visual environment. It was recognised that solely using numerical criteria to define what constitutes a pleasantly lit space was not possible as so much depends on room size, décor, layout and other factors. It also makes clear that the recommendation for ceiling illuminance to be around 30% of the average working plane illuminance was meant to achieve lit spaces that are pleasant to occupy – not just as a criteria for pass or fail. Taken as a whole LG7 lays down good practice, advice and standards for office lighting design whilst also putting this ‘flesh on the bones’ of the LG3 Addendum, so to speak.

Fire Rated Downlights & the Building Regulations in the UK

Document B, England & Wales; Technical Handbook No:2, Scotland; and Technical Booklet E, Northern Ireland
Demands that if a fire resistant element e.g. a ceiling protecting an upper floor, is broken into to install services, such as recessed spotlights, the fire resistance must be made good. The recent Approved Document P makes specific reference to the electrician's responsibility to ensure that the fire resistance of any floor, ceiling or wall that any services he has installed pass through, are properly re-instated, with possible legal consequences for non-compliance.

IEE Wiring Regulations 16th Edition BS 7671:2001, section 527-02-01 reinforces this same stance, and this applies to all buildings:
“Where a wiring system passes through elements of a building construction...the openings remaining...shall be sealed according to the degree of fire resistance required of the element concerned...”

Part E of the Building Regulations in England & Wales, Technical Handbook 5 of the Building (Scotland) Regulations and Technical Booklets G & G1 of the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland)
Requires that penetrations through walls, floors or ceilings for electrical installations should be made good in order to minimise the transmission of sound.

When a hole is cut into a fire rated ceiling to fit a spotlight, the fire stopping ability of the ceiling is impaired. In the event of a fire, flames could penetrate through the light fitting and spread to the floor above with the subsequent risk to life and property. The spotlight itself could also be a source of fire due to the high temperature of halogen lamps and the proximity to flammable material. We suggest the use of either fire rated spotlights or the use of firehoods.

Heights of switches and socket outlets

The Building Regulations require switches and socket outlets in dwellings to be installed so that all persons including those whose reach is limited can easily use them. A way of satisfying the requirement is to install switches and socket outlets in habitable rooms at a height of between 450mm and 1200mm from the finished floor level.

Unless the dwelling is for persons whose reach is limited the requirements would not apply to kitchens and garages but specifically only to rooms that visitors would normally use.

The guidance given in Approved Document M applies to new dwellings. Note that if a dwelling is rewired there is no requirement to provide the measures described above providing that upon completion the building is no worse in terms of the level of compliance than it was prior to being rewired.

Building Regulations Approved Document Part M
Access to and the use of Buildings

There are a number of considerations that need to be met by the specifier or contractor of a buildings installation when covering reasonable provision for the access to and use of a buildings structure and facilities for a disabled person whether visiting, working or dwelling in them.

Part M can be split into four sections:
Freedom from obstruction

The key points are as follows:
Socket outlets, Telephone points and TV mounted at 400 - 1000mm with a preference for the lower range
Switches should be mounted at 400 - 1200mm unless needed at a higher level for particular appliances
Switches and controls that require precise hand movement (eg: Central Heating Controls) at 750 - 1200mm.
Controls that need close vision at 1200 - 1400mm so that readings may be taken by a person sitting or standing
Light Switches for use by the general public align horizontally with door handles within the range 900 -1100mm
Sockets no nearer than 350mm from room corners

Design Considerations
There should be a consistent relationship with the doorways and corners to reinforce the ease with which people manipulate switches and controls.

All users should be able to locate a control, know which setting it is on and use it without inadvertently changing its setting.

Controls that contrast with their surroundings are more convenient for the visually impaired as are light switches that are activated by a large touch pad.

It is an advantage if individual switches on panels and multiple socket outlets are well separated, to avoid the incorrect selection of an adjacent control by visually impaired people and people with limited dexterity.

The colours red and green should not be used in combination as indicators of “on” and “off” for switches and controls. It may be useful to use text or a pictogram to clarify.

Part M recommends a contrast of 30% Light Reflective Value (LRV) between a frontplate and wall. White has an LRV of 100 and Black 0. Some may consider these requirements refer to the complete product contrasting with a wall, whilst others may consider it is the switch that should contrast with its frontplate. The regulation states that switches, outlets and controls will satisfy requirement M1 if: front plates contrast visually with their background.

Light switches, which are to be used by the general public are encouraged to have large rockers at a height corresponding to the door handle, within the 900-1100mm range. This would enable people with a physical disability or visual impairment to both locate and activate them easily.

Freedom from obstruction
Light switches and controls should be ‘well separated’ or activated by a large push pad to prevent inadvertent operation.

Health & Safety Information
Each year, on average, 10 people die and around 750 are injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in the home. In addition to this, 2,336 house fires were caused by faulty installations in 2003.

In the future, risks could well increase as rising consumer ownership of portable and fixed electrical appliances causes extra demand for extensions and alterations to existing electrical installations.

The risks posed by unsafe electrical installations and portable appliances are electric shock, burns and other injuries arising from fires in buildings ignited by electrical components overheating or building up dangerous currents causing 'arcing'. Installations that are properly designed, fitted, tested and commissioned in accordance with British Standard BS 7671 (a requirement of Part P) will help minimise these risks.

BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations
The IEE Wiring Regulations is the British standard that covers the safe design, installation and testing of electrical installations in building systems. It is the technical standard specified, almost universally, in UK contracts for electrical installation work. It is also the basis for the approved technical guidance to meet the electrical requirements of the Building Regulations so it is for this reason that a Competent Person will issue you with a BS 7671 certificate on completion of any work.