A Guide to Luminous Egress Path Markings Code Compliance

The requirement for luminous egress pathmarkings became more popular after the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The survivors of the 2001 attacks noted the photoluminescent egress pathmarkings installed in the buildings helped them make it to safety.

Luminous egress path markings not only illuminate the exit path, acting as a fail-safe emergency lighting system, but create an easy-to-follow pathway to the exit discharge, even for occupants who are not familiar with the building.

Required by international, federal, and local building, fire, and life safety codes, luminous egress path markings must meet several stringent standards to ensure code compliance.

Guide to Luminous Egress Code Compliance | Ecoglo US

What Buildings Have to Comply with Luminous Egress Path Marking Requirements?

As per the International Building Code, approved luminous egress path markings must be installed in new and existing high-rise buildings of occupancy groups A,B,E, I-1, M, or R-1.

  • Group A (Assembly) Occupancy buildings may include theatres, museums and galleries, arenas and stadiums, court houses, and community buildings.
  • Group B (Business) Occupancy buildings may include banks, educational occupancies above 12th grade, ambulatory care facilities and professional service such as attorneys, dentists, and physicians.
  • Group E (Educational)Occupancy buildings are used for six or more persons, at a time, for educational purposes through the 12th
  • Group I-1 (Institutional) Occupancy buildings may include assisted living facilities, halfway houses, and residential board and care facilities.
  • Group M (Mercantile) Occupancy buildings may include department stores, drug stores, markets, and retail or wholesale stores.
  • Group R-1 (Residential) Occupancy buildings may include hotels and motels, transient boarding houses with more than 10 occupants and transient congregate living facilities with more than 10 occupants.

Where do Luminous Egress Path Markings Have to be Installed for Compliance?

Luminous egress path markings must be installed in the exit stairways of applicable new and existing high-rise buildings. Within the exit stairway, luminous egress path markings are required in the following locations:

  • Step-edges
  • Leading edge of landings
  • Handrails
  • Around the perimeter of the egress path, mounted either on the wall or floor
  • On obstacles that are at or below 6 feet and project more than 4 inches into the egress path
  • Final exit doors

What are the Requirements for Photoluminescent Lighting?

Some of the requirements for photoluminescent egress pathmarkings include:

  • No back up power: Photoluminescent egress path markings are required to operate completely independently of the building’s power supply, without relying on batteries to operate.
  • Seen from afar: Luminous egress path markings must be easily seen and followed from a distance and are typically rated to a distance of 50 to 75 feet.
  • Long-Lasting: Luminous egress path markings must remain illuminated for at least 90 minutes after the power has been lost, to ensure occupants have enough time to exit the building.
  • Light Exposure: In order to gain a full charge, luminous egress path markings must be exposed to a natural or artificial light source. Consequently, to meet code compliance, the building’s lights must be turned on at least one hour before occupancy, and remain on during the entire duration of occupation, to ensure the luminous egress path markings gain a full charge.
  • Low Level Installation: Photoluminescent egress path markings should not be installed overhead, in order to enhance visibility and remove the chance of casting overhead shadows.
  • Certified: Luminous egress path markings must be UL 1994 certified to meet code compliance, and exit signs are required to be UL 924 certified.  

The importance of meeting code compliance in your building is paramount for occupant safety, and the installation of luminous egress path markings enhances the speed, safety, and ease of emergency egress.

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