Bentall Centre


Bentall Centre

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Vancouver, British Columbia
CHALLENGE: Update emergency signage to comply with anticipated new standards
TECHNOLOGY: Lunaplast™ photoluminescent signage & egress
RESULTS: Emergency exit maneuver tests proved the system had improved reliability and effectiveness


Bentall Centre is a Class A office complex comprised of five towers in the heart of downtown Vancouver; home to the head offices of many of BC’s largest companies. The building managers have always maintained a top quality complex with an emphasis on safety. With thousands of employees and shoppers bustling within these buildings every day, emergency procedures and exit directions must be reliable and clear to all individuals and in all conditions.


The National Fire Protection Association was in the process of considering new standards. Bentall managers looked to PVL Projects to improve their emergency exit systems so that they would meet or exceed these anticipated standards.


Existing signage and colour schemes presented a safety risk: the red and blue colours used to identify stairwells were not easily distinguishable in low light conditions, instead appearing grey or black. Colourblind evacuees would have difficulty communicating their location to emergency officials due to the heavy reliance on this colour system. A new system was required to overcome these safety risks.


PVL completed a comprehensive site audit of signage, safety equipment, obstacles, light levels and gathered user concerns and management input. We worked with the Manager of Safety, Security & Life to review our recommendations based on the NFPA Life Safety 101 guidelines. Installation schedules were adjusted to minimize disruption to tenant activity in the building.

Letters R & B were used to identify stairwells, rather than using colour alone. The labels “stair A” or “stair B” as well as the floor number were put on all signage, so a location would be easily recognized and communicated under stressful and panicked situations. Signage was produced on a glow substrate with black lettering to increase visibility. Signage indicated if the floor was a crossover floor, so occupants would quickly know it was an escape route. Non-crossover floors were labeled with “no exit” and listed the closest floors with exit routes. Additional signage was installed at shin-level at all re-entry doors for way-finding in a smoky environment.

In addition to the signage, Lunaplast™ was applied to crossover floors to guide evacuees to escape routes. It is durable and provides the longest-lasting glow of any product available. Obstacles were clearly identified so they could be avoided in low-to-no light conditions. In some cases, hallways wound through the bowels of building and were 165 meters long, so a combination of way-finding and door signage was applied. Bentall was thrilled with the system’s effectiveness and the resilience of the materials.