Über Notlicht | 28. March 2017

Emergency lighting in sacred buildings

The topic of emergency lighting in religious sites often leads to heated discussions in the sector. How do sacred buildings differ from other public buildings? It is dark, there are stairs and dark corners – it is not always clear where the nearest escape route is.

Although these venues often use open fires (candles etc.) and there are only one or two entrances, which are therefore the only escape routes, the guidelines prescribed in the Events Act do not apply in churches, synagogues, mosques or other places of worship.  Usually sacred buildings used for religious purpose are exempt from ÖVE/ÖNORM E8002 or ÖVE/ÖNORM E 8002 is only applicable to the extent that this is specified in individual cases in official approval procedures.

The difficulty of emergency lighting in churches and older places of worship certainly lies in finding a historically accurate solution for listed buildings. But ÖVE/ÖNORM E 8002-2 also has separate regulations for listed buildings.

These facilitations determine that the standard must only be complied with to the extent that no historically significant parts are destroyed. This applies especially to the destruction of old paintings, frescoes or stucco, but also indirectly the „overall impression“ of the building substance worthy of preservation.

If the installation of a safety lighting system would damage historical elements, an exemption can be requested at the Ministry of Economics and Labour (BMWA). Any other requirements by possible approval notices must be taken into account as well and an amendment must also be specified to the competent authority.

Newly built religious sites are also excluded from ÖVE/ÖNORM E 8002-2.

However, if sacred buildings are also used for events, safety lighting is necessary in accordance with the statutory provisions. But events, concerts or musical performances in a religious context (such as Easter Concerts or Advent concerts) are definitely not subject to this regulation.

We have developed an appropriate solution for those special cases. Our invisible emergency lighting “String INvisible“ is only visible when switched on. The INvisible light panel is completely integrated into sophisticated architectural and heritage-protected concepts. In case of emergency, the functionality reliably comes to the fore.

The next time you visit churches or other religious sites, pay attention to whether and how emergency lighting was installed. Would you like to tell us about it?

We’re looking forward to your experiences!