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SLL Statement: Demonstration of technical competence for designing emergency lighting

The Society of Light & Lighting has released this statement as third party bodies have been approaching our members requesting them to pay to be ‘certified’ by the third party to design emergency lighting systems. The Society believes that any full SLL Member [i.e. SLL/CIBSE Certificate or Diploma holder] who follows the society’s guidance, as set out in LG12, ‘Emergency lighting design guide’ should be deemed to be a competent person under the meaning of the Workplace Regulations and the Fire Safety Order.

The Health and Safety Executive define competency for the Construction & Design Management (CDM) regulations as:

To be competent an organisation or individual must have:

  • sufficient knowledge of the tasks to be undertaken and the risks involved
  • the experience and ability to carry out their duties in relation to the project, to recognise their limitations and take
  • appropriate action to prevent harm to those carrying out construction work, or those affected by the work

Competence develops over time. Individuals develop their competence through a mix of initial training, on-the-job learning,instruction, assessment and formal qualification. In the early stages of training and experience, individuals should be closely supervised. As competence develops, the need for direct supervision should be reduced.

If you are engaging a person or organisation to carry out construction work for you, then you need to make a reasonable judgment of their competence based on evidence. The evidence will usually be supplied to you by the person or organisation quoting or bidding for the work.

There are many industry card schemes which can help in judging competence. However, the possession of a card by an individual is only one indication of competence. You are expected to make efforts to establish what qualifications and experience the cardholder has.

This clearly does not require membership of any specific scheme, but the ability to demonstrate what training, experience or knowledge makes the person competent. Therefore, any SLL Member fully versed in the application of LG12 can be described as a competent person for designing emergency lighting schemes. LG12 is a comprehensive guide and covers a lot more than BS 5266. It is also important to remember that the requirement for emergency lighting is not linked to fire in premises but to loss of power to the normal lights.

The CIBSE / SLL Code of professional conduct clearly states that Members shall not undertake work for which they knowingly lack sufficient professional or technical competence, or adequate resources to meet their obligations. By using a SLL Member to design your emergency lighting you are ensuring you have a highly qualified professional who is likely to have many complementary technical and lighting skills, rather than a certificate for attending a day course on emergency lighting design. 

Being a registered designer with a third party is optional but may be useful for those who wish to do verification or inspection work of emergency lighting installations.