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  1. #1
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    Default Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Agent called today and said the new construction property I am scheduled to inspect in two weeks does not have an overhead light fixture in the master bedroom. He had heard from another inspector at some time in the past that there is a code requirement for an overhead light fixture in a bedroom.

    Is there a code requirement for an overhead light fixture in a bedroom?

    The electrician provided three switches at the entrance to the room, one for a light, one for a fan and one for switched outlets. The buyer paid an upgrade fee to have a ceiling fan installed. The ceiling fan reportedly has two pull chains but no light kit installed. The agent is all in a dither. Of course this is still 2 weeks before closing and the electrician may install the light kit before the inspection. If there are in fact two pull chains, sounds like to me there is a light kit. All will reveal itself during the inspection.

    Still curious if there is a code requirement for lighting in a bedroom.

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC
    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    E3803.2: Habitable rooms. At least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room and bathroom.
    Exceptions:
    1. In other than kitchens and bathrooms, one or more receptacles controlled by a a wall switch shall be considered equivalent to the required lighting outlet.
    2.Lighting outlets shall be permitted to be controlled by a occupancy sensors that are in addition to wall switches, or that are located at a customary wall switch location and equipped with a manual override that will allow the sensors to function as a wall switch.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    No overhead light fixture is required.

    A "switched outlet", yes, that is required, but that could be a switch overhead light or a switched receptacle outlet.

    Typically only el cheapo builders forgo the overhead light and install the switched receptacle outlet, and better builders install BOTH overhead lights AND switched receptacle outlets.

    That leaves those builders who install overhead lights ONLY in the middle someplace between "el cheapo" and "good", and how close to either of those two ends is dependent on many other things.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No overhead light fixture is required.

    A "switched outlet", yes, that is required, but that could be a switch overhead light or a switched receptacle outlet.
    One other REALLY cheap option is a wall light with integral switch.

    Lots of those still around here from the cheap tract builders from the 70's.
    My mother had one that screamed cheap builder (Fox & Jacobs) with only the master bedroom with a wall switch controlling a ceiling light fixture. The other bedrooms had only a wall light with integral rotary switch mounted about 5-6' up the wall near the door. Other cheap touches were sand finished mixed in with the paint rather traditional texture and then paint. You never wanted to brush up against the wall since it was so rough it would literally scrape your skin or damage you clothes, think 100 grit sand paper.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    One other REALLY cheap option is a wall light with integral switch.
    Those did not meet code.

    Do you know why they did not meet code?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    That was back in the early 70's, but since I was around 12 at the time, I did not keep up with the code
    I am guessing if the code verbiage was unchanged between then and now the "wall switch controlled" would be where you are coming from.
    I am guessing the local AHJ figured since the switch was on the wall that it was a wall switch. All I know is that there are probably tens of thousands still in use across Collin County.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    That was back in the early 70's, but since I was around 12 at the time, I did not keep up with the code
    Okay, that solves it ... "That was back in the early 70's".

    The section addressing required "lighting outlets" was being discussed in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was added to the 1975 NEC. Thus with those being built "in the early 70's" that would have been before that was added to the code.

    I was thinking more along the late 1970s to 1980s as some AHJ and many el cheapo electrical contractors tried to allow switched "lighting fixture" when the code called for switch "lighting outlets" - meaning the lighting outlet itself was switched and a switch in the lighting fixture itself would not meet the code.

    Even for things which make so much sense, something like requiring a switched lighting outlet, were fought by many builders and electrical contractors who were trying to build as el cheapo as they could, then leave the buyers with trying to figure out how to add what should have been there to start with.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    many builders and electrical contractors who were trying to build as el cheapo as they could, then leave the buyers with trying to figure out how to add what should have been there to start with.
    JP: This was, is, and shall be ad infinitum.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    To many this is a preference, not a short cut.

    I for one am not fond of overhead lights in bedrooms. Strategically placed recessed OK, but lights fixtures, not so much.

    The vast majority of folks these days want fan/lights. This was not so popular in the 60's & 70's, and switched receptacles were the rule.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    We had match sticks on a small shelf mounted adjacent the entry door to all bedrooms in order to light the wall gas lamps.
    Personally I would prefer a mirror on my bedroom ceiling to a light fixture.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I for one am not fond of overhead lights in bedrooms. Strategically placed recessed OK,
    Which are "switched lighting outlets" AND are also "lighting fixtures", albeit recessed ones.

    The vast majority of folks these days want fan/lights.
    Which are also "switched lighting outlets".

    Would you want to ONLY HAVE "switched receptacle outlets" for lighting?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    Would you want to ONLY HAVE "switched receptacle outlets" for lighting?
    No, no, no. I just like them more in bedrooms...and maybe living rooms. I don't care for overhead fixtures in either of those rooms. I like the soft and uneven light table lamps give.

    I really like recessed in some areas, as long as it is done right.

    Again as you say, these are all forms of "switched lighting outlets".
    I think the key here is the definition of the word "outlet".


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    I think the key here is the definition of the word "outlet".
    Yep.

    "Outlet. A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Overhead Light fixture in Bedroom Requirement?

    Personally I would prefer a mirror on my bedroom ceiling to a light fixture.
    JM: You are a braver man than I.


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