The word ‘exit’ has been replaced with the internationally recognised ‘moving person’ symbol in the newly published Australian Standard for emergency evacuation lighting.

Standards Australia has published the revised Parts 1 and 3 of series AS 2293 Emergency evacuation lighting for buildings, specifying the use of the “moving person” symbol developed by ISO, instead of the word “EXIT” on illuminated exit signs.

In considering the introduction of this new symbol, Standards Australia’s Committee LG-007, Emergency lighting in buildings, specifically rejected the use of diagonal arrows, vertical arrows on the ‘straight on from here’ sign, or of the word ‘exit’ as supplementary text. Instead, the Committee developed a simple system of just three signs to cover all situations along an egress path.

The revised Standard also introduces a range of recommended sign sizes, including a new minimum size of 100mm which, despite having a maximum viewing distance of just 16m, will be suitable for many small to medium sized rooms, possibly sparking some new trends in the luminaries used for exit signs.

Regarding new trends, revised luminance measurement procedures, suitable for point light sources, will cater for the introduction of light sources such as compact fluorescent lamps and light emitting diodes (LEDs), providing access to benefits such as increased energy efficiency and reduced maintenance costs that these technologies offer.

In another innovation, the sign symbols are not specified by dimension in this edition of the Standard but provided as electronic files, in a number of file formats, on a CD ROM or separate files which can be downloaded, with each copy of AS 2293.3.

Although all aspects of these revised Standards were coordinated closely with the Building Codes Committee of Australia, the decision regarding referencing this new edition of AS 2293.1 in the 2006 edition of the Building Code of Australia (BCA), and hence in legislation, is yet to be made. In the mean time, the application of the new edition will be on a project-by-project basis, following approval by the applicable Building Certifier of the proposed system as an acceptable alternative to the existing recommended norm. However, it is envisaged that a system complying with the new Standards is likely to be accepted as an alternative in most cases.