Grenfell emergency lights ‘inadequate’, report warned

AN INDEPENDENT report into the emergency lighting at Grenfell Tower written in 2005 revealed that two thirds of the tower’s emergency lighting units failed a routine inspection, it has emerged today.

The report, compiled by Capita Symonds and revealed by The Guardian newspaper, has only come to light due to pressure from the residents’ groups. It criticised the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) as well as the electrical contractor responsible for the lighting on the escape routes. It stated that there was ‘inadequate management’, ‘inadequate installation standards’, a ‘failure to acknowledge the importance of undertaking urgent remedial works’ as well as a ‘lack of communication’ between the managers of the West London tower and its residents.

The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation has come under fire from residents' groups in the wake of the blaze. The report criticised the KCTMO as well as the electrical contractor responsible for the lighting on the escape routes. Pic:  Duncan C via Flickr Creative Commons 2017

The report said that because Grenfell Tower’s staircase had no daylight, the emergency lighting was essential in getting residents out safely in a fire. It criticised the KCTMO for failing to carry out risk assessments which identified that ‘residents and members of the public were continuously at risk’ when the emergency lighting system was defective. An estimated 80 residents lost their lives in the blaze on 14 June. A major inquiry, under Government-appointed Sir Martin Moore-Bick, is expected to explore the provision of emergency lighting and other fire safety measures at the building.

The lighting industry is set to address the issue of inadequate emergency lighting installations in a special ‘Emergency Lighting Summit’ taking place at LuxLive 2017. The summit takes place in the Escape Zone arena at 11.30am on Thursday 16 November. Speakers include David Mooney of Atkins, Chris Auger of BAFE Graham McKay of BSI and Lux technical editor Alan Tulla.

‘Suppliers, specifiers, standards bodies and building owners urgently need to address a culture of complacency in the sector that has developed over recent decades,’ says LuxLive organiser Ray Molony.  ‘Risk assessments, a key tool of the standards, are not always conducted, even in major institutions and organisations, and those that are, are not always as thorough as they should be. Equally there is a lack of knowledge about emergency lighting requirements and standards.’

The summit is complemented a comprehensive series of presentations on emergency lighting to get facilities managers up to speed on the latest best practice recommendations, legislation and guidance.


  • The Escape Zone is part of the LuxLive 2017 exhibition and conference which  takes place on Wednesday 15 November and Thursday 16 November 2017 at ExCeL London. It features three arenas and four theatres, including the central Gooee IoT Arena, with a rolling programme of presentations, demonstrations and discussions. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.