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29/08/2014 / Graham Lowe


Following on from our original VADs blog from May 2013 which explained the origins of EN54-23, and with the recent release to market of our new compliant VADs, it’s probably worth revisiting the subject.

Since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, it has been compulsory to install visual alarm devices (VADs) in all public buildings. Initially designed specifically for use in environments with high ambient noise, such as factories, they also allow building occupants who are hard of hearing to see when the alarm has been raised, so they know if and when to evacuate. As a result, they are now a standard fixture across the UK, helping to save lives.

However, earlier this year, the British Standards Institution (BSI) EN54-23 standard for VADs became mandatory, setting out new, stricter guidelines on the installation and performance of visual alarms. As such, VADs are now only allowed to emit a red or white light, have a light output of no less than 0.4 lumens per square metre (Lux), and be classified into ceiling mounted devices, wall mounted devices, or an open class category.

But what does this mean for the integrators supporting building managers? It’s crucial that any solution recommended to customers is compliant with EN54-23 standard and also meets the building’s specific needs. That’s why, when choosing a VAD system, it’s important to look out for EN54-23 compliant solutions that offer a range of options for easy customisation for the project’s specific needs.

Hochiki’s VADs, for example, don’t just meet BSI’s stringent standards, but can also be tailored by the integrator to suit the application. Not only are they available with both red and white LEDs, they have the ability to be powered externally from a separate power supply.  This feature ensures that the maximum system capability is maintained, thus enabling multiple alarms to be fitted on the same system without affecting performance. The Hochiki VADs, (dependant on CIE device implementation) can be adjusted to provide three different brightness levels. This feature reduces the number of variants required and simplifies the installation for the integrator.

Every project is different, so it’s crucial that the life safety solution chosen doesn’t just comply with standards, but is also appropriate for the building and its occupants. Talking with life safety experts can help both integrators and building managers alike to find the most apt EN54-23 compliant VAD system for their needs. If you need more information on meeting regulatory requirements, you can of course contact us on 0044 (0)1634 266 566, or email

We have also produced a short explanatory video showcasing our new VAD range, visit our YouTube channel at to view this and our other videos.

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