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Lighting Regulation

In the second of our series looking at the regulations and requirements across each discipline we look at what a designer needs to know when specifying lighting with the assistance of Chelsom Lighting & Astro Lighting.

Domestic or Contract?

The fundamental differences between a domestic and contract lighting product nearly always concern quality and durability.  Of course price has to be right, however the product has to be suitable for use in the designated environment whether that be a hotel, a cruise ship, care home or the work place. There is no doubt that people have more care for their own possessions and in particular their own home interiors. 

There are numerous electrical regulations which need to be carefully adhered to and failing to do so can have huge consequences. Designers must always look carefully at product specification sheets to ensure that regulations are adhered to and to see that a product is suitable for the country within which it is being specified. For Contract specification a lux level requirement may also be a stipulation.

 “Many retail suppliers have had their fingers burnt trying to supply the heavily regulated contract industry”

UK, EU or USA requirements?

The client’s requirements for lighting within the EU, UK and the USA in principle are similar. All customers want a lighting product with good quality light and a fully compatible dimming system. What makes the construction of the product slightly different between Europe and the USA are the regional product compliance requirements. Within the EU it is mandatory to comply to CE requirements and compliance is largely demonstrated by a self-declaration process. Since BREXIT products within the UK are required to conform to UKCA which is essentially the same process as for CE.

The USA operates a voluntary approval process like the EU but for the American market manufacturers are commonly are asked to have products tested in a nationally approved laboratory. Chelsom and Astro uses the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and its associated marking on the product as a route for showing compliance to American market regulations.

Lamped lighting products suitable for the UK need to meet BS EN 60598 which is the British standard for luminaires. Product suitable for Europe needs to meet EN 60598 which is the equivalent European standard. However this is the overall standard for Europe and depending on which country the product is suitable for, there may be local deviations that need to be adhered to from the EN06598 European standard. Furthermore, product for the US market has a completely different standard to work to, this is UL1598 for fixed luminaires or UL153 for portable luminaires.

In addition to product safety standards, a product needs to be designed to suit any national wiring regulations. For example, a product suitable for the USA will need to fall in line with NEC (National Electrical Code) and this can differ from state to state across the USA. In the UK we have the British wiring regulations.

In both the UK and Europe we have a wire exiting the wall, and all electrical connections are done inside the product via a suitable connection block. Sometimes this is inside the wall cavity but again via the same connection block. In contrast, US product can be connected in three ways – via a Junction box, Switch box or stub mount.

There may be other building regulations required for a new building to pass or meet. Again for the USA in California there is CEC (California Electrical Commission) which forms part of T24 (Title 24) building code, there is also the Energy Star scheme. In the UK we have Part L and Part P of the building regulations which relates to who is allowed to fit what and also the conservation of fuel and power.

Product designed for the US market will not be suitable for the UK. Their input voltage is different and this becomes more important when electronics are involved. For example, a 110v LED driver connected to a 240v power supply will be destroyed. Turn this around and if the electronics have not been designed to run on the lower voltage, strain on internal components and overheating can cause the driver to prematurely fail over time. Other differences include:

·         Where lamp holders are concerned, the USA use E12, E17 & E26, whereas in Europe we use E14 & E27.

·         It’s commonly known that USA run on a 110v power supply, however in a commercial situation in the ceiling a 277v power supply can be present not 110v.

·         Products in Europe need to conform to CE, it’s the manufacturers responsibility to ensure the product meets CE requirements. The same is true now for products sold within the UK where UKCA requirements are required to be met. However in USA product should be listed with UL, ETL or other recognised schemes that follow the UL standard.

·         European product follows IP ratings within the product standard – IP44, IP65, IP67 for example, USA don’t, they have DRY, DAMP or WET Locations. There is not a direct comparison from IP to Location use across the standards as there are case by case differences.

What should you ask your supplier?

The location of a project is also of great importance as delivery requirements, international regulations, product certificates, voltage and wiring parameters and plug type all need to be considered from the start.

The best way to answer this is to perhaps flip this round and list the sort of information that is required by suppliers so that they can effectively quote for and supply the correct products.  What type of product is it? Table, wall, floor, desk lamp? What materials are to be used? Dimensions? What finish is required? If these elements are custom, are there control samples that the supplier can look at? What shade type is required? Shade dimensions? What bulb type is needed? How is the product to be wired? Cable length? Height of chain on chandelier? What switching? Is it dimmable? What type of dimming gear does the product need to make it compatible with the dimming system in the room? Light levels required? Is it in a bathroom and therefore should it be IP rated? As you can see there are plenty of questions to be asked about individual products and the more information that can be communicated from the start, the quicker the tender and quotation process can be.

"Can the supplier show a good cross section of contract projects within their portfolio?"

It is important that a designer sees examples of large scale manufacturing and delivery to prove that the supplier can produce, deliver, service and deal with the demands of a large scale contract project.

Best practice and which are legal requirements?

Essential product compliance requirements within Europe are harmonised under the CE standard, and it is mandatory for a manufacturer to follow the self-declaration process. In the UK, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has specified all the essential requirements and as part of that manufacturers ensure that they choose the UKCA equivalent  regulations that apply to their products and subsequently put all the mandatory steps in place to demonstrate compliance.


CE (Europe)                                        UKCA (UK)

EN 60598                                           BS EN 60598

EN 60598 Part 2 standard                 BS EN 60598 Part 2 Standard

Low Voltage Directive                        Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016

EMC Directive                                   Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016

ERP Directive                                    Ecodesign Regulations 2019

Single Lighting Regulation                Ecodesign (Lighting Products) Regulations 2021

Energy Labelling Regulation

RoHS Directive                                  RoHS (UK SI 2012 No.3032)

WEEE Directive                                 WEEE (UK SI 2013 No.3113)

REACH Regulation                            REACH (UK SI 2008 No.2852)