Building Codes & Standards: Photoluminescence
Building safety codes : photoluminescent paints & markings

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Building Safety Codes & Photoluminescent Paints

What are the major building safety codes you should be aware of?
The United States has several federal and local government agencies as well as non government organizations involved in the formulation of industry standards. A number of these parties develop laws, codes and standards that together form a body of guidelines for building safety and fire safety. From time to time these laws, codes and standards are reevaluated. For instance after major disasters such as the 9-11 tragedy. In that particular instance several of the parties mentioned amended a number of major bodies of standards and codes as well as several laws which directly affect the use of photoluminescent paint and markings. Below you will find a quick overview of them:
What is the International Building Code (IBC) and what do I need to know about it?
The National Institute Of Standards And Technology (NIST) lead a Federal Investigation into the WTC disaster. On the basis of it's report, the International Code Council (ICC), amended the International Building Code (IBC) (and the International Fire Code (IFC)). The IBC stipulates certain minimum standards that should be maintained when constructing buildings. Some of these standards pertain to the use of evacuation technology. Evacuation and egress systems are required to use photoluminescent markings to indicate exit routes in specifically standardized ways. Read more about IBC and photoluminescent paints and markings >>
What is the International Fire Code (IFC) and what do I need to know about it?
The International Fire Code, or IFC (incl. IFC 2009 and IFC2012), is a state-of-the-art model code used as the basis for fire regulations promulgated and enforced by U.S. state and local jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions have the option of incorporating some or all of the code’s provisions but generally adopt most provisions. Some of these standards pertain to the use of evacuation technology. Evacuation and egress systems are required to use photoluminescent markings to indicate exit routes in specifically standardized ways. Future buildings—especially tall structures—should be increasingly resistant to fire, more easily evacuated in emergencies, and safer overall thanks to 23 major and far-reaching building and fire code changes approved in 2009 by the International Code Council (ICC) and in part laid down in the IFC 2009 Fire Code. These changes include making exit path markings more prevalent and more visible by applying photoluminescent paints and exit markings for egress purposes.Read more about IBC and photoluminescent paints and markings >>
What are ASTM Standards and which of them should I be aware of?
ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials), develops international consensus standards for a wide range of industries including the building industry. One of these standards, ASTM E2072, pertains specifically to the standardized application of photoluminescent safety markings. It describes minimal technical requirements of the photoluminescent paints and materials, and how these technical specifications are to be tested. In addition ASTM E2030, is a standard that safe use of these photoluminescent materials for the best result regarding building safety. Read more about the relevant ASTM Standards for building safety regarding photoluminescent paints and markings >>

One of the very few industrial photoluminescent paint suppliers that does meet all these requirements in it's products is Kryptaglow.

What is Local Law 26 (LL-26) and what do I need to know about it?
The New York City Department Of Buildings is the custodian of the New York City Building Code. NYC has some of the most stringent codes and laws regarding building safety. Following 9-11 some of these codes have been scrutinized further to enhance building safety. To mandate enhanced building security in NYC, a law was adopted. Local Law 26 (LL-26), gives the enhancements to building security adopted in the New York Building Code an obligatory character. Some of the improvements pertain specifically to egress and evacuation systems. Within these systems the use of photoluminescent paints and markings has been made mandatory and has been subjected further to standardization so that each building affected meets minimum requirements. These minimum requirements for the use of photoluminescent paints and materials are warranted by the exclusive use of MEA tested and approved products (see below) and by standardized application and inspection according to Reference Standard 6-1 and Reference Standard 6-1a by the NYC Commissioner Of Buildings (see below). Read more about Local Law 26 (LL-26) and building safety >>
What is MEA Certification and why could this be important to me?
Following the adoption of Local Law 26 (LL-26)and the New York City Building Code, all photoluminescent poaints and materials used in buildings in the NYC area for evacuation routes and egress purposes, MUST be tested, approved and certified by the NYC Department of Buildings'Material and Equipment Acceptance Division (or: MEA). Photoluminescent paints and products that have not been MEA approved can not be installed (!). Read more about the specifications photoluminescent materials are tested for by MEA on this page >>.

It is of the utmost importance that the photoluminescent materials or paints used in your building are tested according to these standards and meet all requirements.

For this reason one should consider a MEA tested and approved photoluminescent paint supplier such as Kryptaglow: See Certification Info >>.
What are Reference Standard 6-1 and Reference Standard 6-1a and how do they affect me?
Reference Standard 6-1 and Reference Standard 6-1a are standards adopted by the NYC Commissioner of Buildings that establish the technical standards for the installation of photoluminescent materials in buildings. The standards are intended to provide minimum requirements for photoluminescent exit path markings that will aid in evacuation from buildings in the event of failure of both the power and back-up power to the lighting and illuminated exit signs. LL-26 makes the retroactive installation of photoluminescent signs and markings mandatory. The best ways to apply LL-26 compliant photoluminescent signs and markings have been described in Reference Standard RS 6-1 and 6-1A. Read more about Reference Standards RS 6-1 and 6-1A on this page >>
What are NFPA Codes and what should I know about them?
NFPA is the abreviation for the National Fire Protection Agency.NFPA Codes provide guidelines for building safety including recommendations for egress systems to ensure safe exit in case of emergency. Part of the code refers to luminescent egress pathway markings. Luminescent pathway markings are meant as a backup for failing egress lighting systems in case of fires and other catastrophic events.The most relevant NFPA Codes or Life Safety Codes that address this subject, mainly are: NFPA-101, NFPA-5000 and NFPA-170. Buildings should comply to these standards in order to provide safe egress paths that apply the right kind of photoluminescent paints and markings in the correct way.Read more about NFPA codes >>
More about building codes and standards in relation to photoluminescent paints & markings