If you're working on a building project, you might be thinking about utilising LED panel lights. Cost-efficient, long-lasting and eco-friendly, they are becoming increasingly popular alternatives to traditional lighting solutions. However, it's crucial to ensure that the panel lights you've chosen comply with the relevant building regulations. Let's take a closer look at the rules.
A Brief Guide To Lighting Installation Regulations
If you're installing lights in a new building or an extension, or as part of a conversion project, you need to ensure that they comply with the Building Regulations Part B (2013), which deal with fire safety. They must also comply with the Building Regulations Approved Documents L1A and L1B, which set out energy performance requirements, as well as the British Standard 476 fire test regulations. While many contemporary LED panel lights are energy-efficient, not all of them are regulation-compliant. So, what should you be looking for when selecting lighting solutions?
Diffuser Flammability Ratings
Lights installed as part of a building's internal ceiling lighting must be able to prevent fire from spreading – and that means using panel lights with appropriate flammability-rated diffusers. Diffusers scatter light for a softer effect, but a non-flame-retardant model could melt in extreme heat, causing a fire to spread. Therefore, you should only use panel lights with diffusers which have flammability ratings of TP(a) or TP(b).
Flammability ratings indicate how capable the thermoplastic materials used within diffusers are of withstanding temperature rises. TP(a) ratings apply to diffusers made from polycarbonates which are at least 3mm thick. In order to meet the required standards, these diffusers must use materials which are self-extinguishing and, once a flame source has been has taken away, any flames or afterglow should disappear within five seconds. You can use as many TP(a) diffusers as you like within a building and space them out as you see fit.
TP(b) ratings are used for polystyrene or acrylic diffusers. In order to receive a TP(b) rating, a diffuser must be designed so that flames won't spread by more than 50mm per minute. There are also restrictions as to how and where lights featuring these diffusers can be used. You can only use TP(b) diffuser panels with a combined area of up to 50% of the total floor space in an office, for example, and they must be spaced out appropriately.
Finding Suitable Lighting Solutions
It can be tricky to find lighting solutions that meet regulatory standards and suit the space you're working with, particularly if you're embarking on a large project or renovating a historic building with a unique design. Thankfully, however, our experts are on hand to help. As specialist electrical contractors with more than 90 years' experience, we can help you to install appealing and regulation-compliant lights. Just get in touch to find out more.