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NYC RS 6-1  Photoluminescent Exit Path Markings
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2009 IBC/IFC Photoluminescent Implementation Guide
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Questions & Answers

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Photoluminescent Exit Path Markings in NYC

Question: How do I know that the photoluminescent egress pathway markings and signs I plan to buy are approved for use in New York City building exit stairwells?

Answer: Photoluminescent products installed in New York City building stairwells must meet performance requirements specified in NYC Local Law 26 Reference Standard 6-1 and be approved by the Department of Buildings Materials & Equipment Acceptance (MEA) Division (Note: OTCR – Office of Technical Certification and Research, recently replaced the MEA division). Each piece of material installed must be visibly labeled on its face with the product’s MEA number, Brightness Rating, and Model number. Verification of MEA approvals and the signed MEA documents should be readily available online or from your supplier.


Question: In New York City, what commercial buildings qualify as an “Existing” building under Local Law 26, and what “exceptions” to Reference Standard 6-1 are permitted for these buildings?

Answer: “Existing buildings” are defined as buildings 75 feet and over constructed pursuant to plans approved prior to July 1, 2006. Exceptions for existing buildings allow substitution of photoluminescent L-shaped side edge tread markers in place of full horizontal leading edge strips. Requirements to mark handrails and install running man directional signs are also waived for existing buildings.


Question: What New York City high-rise building occupancy groups must be provided with photoluminescent exit path markings?

Answer: With the exception of occupancy groups R-2, Residential Apartment Houses, and R-3, Residential 1 & 2 Family Houses, NYC Reference Standard 6-1 applies to ALL HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS having occupied floors located more than 75 feet above the lowest level of fire department vehicle access. This includes occupancy groups (A) Assembly; (B) Business; (E) Educational; (R-1) Residential Hotels, Dormitories; (I) Institutional Hospitals, Assisted Living & Nursing Homes; and (M) Mercantile.


Question: What is the procedure for certifying compliance with NYC Reference Standard 6-1 following completion of the photoluminescent installation?

Answer: Building owners must submit an affidavit of completion to the NYC Department of Buildings certifying compliance with RS 6-1. The affidavit (1) certifies that all photoluminescent components have been visually inspected with the normal stairwell lighting turned on and off and (2) identifies the manufacturer and MEA approval number of each product installed. Manufacturers’ product literature must be included with the MEA affidavit submittal.

Photoluminescent Product Selection and Use

Question: Are flexible photoluminescent tapes used for marking handrails and metal doorframes also suitable for installation on concrete stair landing floors and walls?

Answer: No. Thin flexible photoluminescent tapes lack the density to withstand the repetitive impact of foot traffic and the adhesion strength to sustain a firm grip on rough uneven concrete surfaces.


Question: What photoluminescent products work best for marking concrete landing perimeters?

Answer: Flexible and semi-rigid smooth photoluminescent aluminum strips installed with construction grade waterproof polyurethane urethane adhesive are durable, easy to clean and adhere firmly over time to concrete surfaces.


Question: What product features should I look for when choosing a horizontal photoluminescent landing leading edge and stair tread nosing?

Answer: Select a durable, low-profile, beveled edge, slip-resistant photoluminescent nosing able to withstand the impact of heavy foot traffic, minimize trip hazards and illuminate the egress path during a blackout. Choose either (1) A mechanically installed nosing which combines non-slip abrasive and photoluminescent strips in a rigid extruded aluminum housing anchored to the concrete with screws and supplemented with construction grade adhesive or (2) A Non-Mechanically Adhesive-Installed flexible – yet durable – beveled edge aluminum nosing that contours and bonds to uneven concrete surfaces. Avoid light-colored, difficult-to-clean photoluminescent abrasive strips that soil easily and blunt-edge strips that can ‘pop up’ and separate from the concrete to create a serious trip hazard.


"The SUMA system worked flawlessly when the lights went out and was particularly helpful in the enclosed underground corridors where United Nations staff members easily followed the glowing SUMA signs and pathway markers, evacuating the building in an orderly manner."

Claudio Santangelo – Officer in Charge United Nations Plant Engineering Section, FMD