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Lighting Guidance for Offices

CIBSE GN7The office environment has changed considerably over the last few years, which has resulted in a new Lighting Guide LG7 being produced by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). This guidance recognises the increased use of tablets and touchscreen computers in an office environment.

Regardless of the size and location of the office in question, an office should be a well-lit space in which to work which should utilise as much daylight available as possible. Lighting must provide a level of illumination on all surfaces to meet the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which require workplaces to have suitable and sufficient lighting.

Typically, lighting design for task areas in offices will be either:

  • 300 lux for mainly screen-based tasks, which can include minor paper-based tasks such as note-taking
  • 500 lux for mainly paper-based tasks

The Estates Department are capable of measuring the lux levels in an office environment and will use the above levels to confirm that an area is sufficiently lit to meet this requirement. This would be appropriate at the time of installation (in a new building), following a significant change to an existing lighting scheme, or if a specific adjustment is deemed necessary where a person has a visual impairment and this has been recommended by Occupational Health or Access to Work.

If an area meets the lux level specified, there is no further need to add any additional lighting. Alteration of the existing lighting provision must not take place without approval of the Estates Department. The only exception to this is where tablets or touchscreen desktop computers are commonplace as it is extremely difficult to provide a lighting design that reduces reflections and glare where these are used. If tablet use is predominantly in use within communal areas, such as a breakout space, the use of up-lighting may be the most appropriate option as a lighting scheme and a lower level of illumination across this space (than that stated above).

Where the lighting scheme is designed to deviate from the recognised Code for Lighting, the Estates Department will need to justify the reason for that choice and ensure that those using the space understand and accept the move away from the recognised scale of illumination.