A third of tower blocks ‘have unfit emergency lighting’

OVER A THIRD of England’s social housing towers have inadequate emergency lighting, it has been revealed.

In a survey of 1,584 tower blocks – 40 per cent of the country’s total social stock – a total of 402, or 36 per cent, had missing or broken emergency lighting on the residents’ escape routes.

The revelations justify a 'systematic inquiry into emergency lighting provision in similar properties', said Alan Daniels of emergency lighting manufacturer P4. 

The shock revelation comes exactly a year after the fire in the Grenfell Tower in west London in which 72 tenants lost their lives.

In fact, more than 70 per cent of social housing towers have fire safety issues, says the report, the largest ever such survey ever undertaken.

Inside Housing magazine obtained and analysed the fire risk assessments for all 1,584 tower blocks. As well as inadequate emergency lighting, the assessments reveal broken fire doors, holes in walls that breach fire compartmentation and missing fire safety information for residents across the country.

Broken fire doors, or doors not to the required legal standard to resist fire for 30 minutes, were found in 1,130 tower blocks, or 71 per cent of blocks.

There were holes in the walls or ceilings of 385 blocks, which could breach compartmentation and cause fire and smoke to spread more quickly.

It also showed that many assessments were being carried out less frequently than every year and 54 per cent of towers have not been assessed since Grenfell.

The Inside Housing probe also revealed that 351 blocks, or 31 per cent of the blocks that provided the dates of their assessments, had either not had an annual assessment in the past few years or the assessor recommended the next one should be carried out two or more years in the future.

Inside Housing’s Never Again campaign is calling on landlords to carry out and publish assessments of their tower blocks every year.

'These findings are completely damning of those responsible, that they can be so complacent with fire safety systems that will assist in the event of an emergency' said Alan Daniels of emergency lighting supplier P4. 'This justifies a systematic inquiry into emergency lighting provision in similar properties.'


  • Emergency lighting and the responsibilities of building owners will be the focus of the conference programme at the Escape Zone at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition taking place at ExCeL London on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. Entry is completely free if you pre-register HERE.