IBC Compliant Handrail Markings: Things to Consider Before you buy

If you plan on improving the safety of your building’s vertical exit enclosures by implementing IBC compliant handrail markings (a.k.a. photoluminescent egress stripes), you may be attracted to the markings’ claims of being maintenance-free, long lasting, and electricity-free, all of which are true. However, there are aspects of your building and the markings themselves that could impact these claims, making it critical to investigate both your building and a type of striping before you buy. Below, we list four things to consider before you buy luminescent handrail markings for your building’s exit enclosures.

1. They shouldn’t be placed in Direct Sunlight

If your building has vertical exit enclosures that let sunlight flood in, the light will deteriorate the markings’ luminescent pigment until it no longer glows in the dark. Even so, many building owners whose buildings feature enclosures that have transparent, exterior walls still implement the markings, replacing them as often as necessary. This isn’t very expensive or time consuming to do, but it is something that you should be prepared for going in.

2. They May Need Occasional Cleaning

Although the markings are technically maintenance-free, their ability to absorb photons from ambient light could be diminished by soap residues, a coating of dust, dirt from foot traffic, etc. making it critical to assess cleanliness on a regular schedule. On the positive side, vertical exit enclosures are seldom used under normal conditions, making it relatively easy to ensure the markings’ cleanliness.

3. They Require a Certain Level of Ambient Light

Photoluminescent safety products are treasured for their ability to draw usable energy from ambient light, a quality that makes them appealing in terms of both energy efficiency and reliability. But for your stripes to be reliable, they need a certain level of ambient light in order to fully charge. Ensuring that your enclosures offer this level of lighting prior to applying a certain type of striping could save you from an evacuation debacle down the road.

4. They Need Sufficient Time to Charge

Just as the stripes require a certain level of light to work at full capacity, they require a certain amount of time to absorb that light. In other words, it’s important to determine if your striping would offer enough brightness and burn time if a low visibility evacuation occurred in the morning hours after the striping had spent multiple hours without ambient light.

Other Luminescent Egress Safety Implements

The considerations that apply to luminescent handrail markings also apply to other IBC egress products that feature luminescence, such as floor identification signs and emergency exit signs for high rise buildings. To find out what luminescent products work with your building’s vertical exit enclosures, contact an online seller of photoluminescent safety products today.

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