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  1. #1
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default switches over stairs

    I know this is wrong for common sense reasons, but is there a code violation?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Here:

    - 210.70 Lighting Outlets Required.
    - - Lighting outlets shall be installed where specified in 210.70(A), (B), and (C).
    - - - (A) Dwelling Units. In dwelling units, lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with 210.70(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3).
    - - - - (2) Additional Locations. Additional lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c).
    - - - - - (c) Where one or more lighting outlet(s) are installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level, and landing level that includes an entryway, to control the lighting outlet(s) where the stairway between floor levels has six risers or more.
    - - - - - - Exception to (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c): In hallways, in stairways, and at outdoor entrances, remote, central, or automatic control of lighting shall be permitted.

    The photo does not show the switch "at each floor level", but at some 'mid-stair' point.

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

  3. #3
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Here:

    - 210.70 Lighting Outlets Required.
    - - Lighting outlets shall be installed where specified in 210.70(A), (B), and (C).
    - - - (A) Dwelling Units. In dwelling units, lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with 210.70(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3).
    - - - - (2) Additional Locations. Additional lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c).
    - - - - - (c) Where one or more lighting outlet(s) are installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level, and landing level that includes an entryway, to control the lighting outlet(s) where the stairway between floor levels has six risers or more.
    - - - - - - Exception to (A)(2)(a), (A)(2)(b), and (A)(2)(c): In hallways, in stairways, and at outdoor entrances, remote, central, or automatic control of lighting shall be permitted.

    The photo does not show the switch "at each floor level", but at some 'mid-stair' point.

    Thanks Jerry.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Chris,

    That section is *not* saying the other switches are not allowed there, but if they move the light switches I am sure they will also move the other switches ... but maybe not as that would make sense, and it is apparent that "sense" was not used when those switches were installed.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: switches over stairs

    I'm guessing this is pushing the 6'-7" height limit for switches. Measured vertically from the center of the switch handle (and consequently the box) to the floor or platform directly beneath.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kriegh View Post
    I'm guessing this is pushing the 6'-7" height limit for switches. Measured vertically from the center of the switch handle (and consequently the box) to the floor or platform directly beneath.
    If we presume the height of the wall is 36" (the minimum), and the switches are lower, the top of the switch box is at 34", then one steps down 3 risers, which are a maximum allowed height of 7-3/4" each, that makes 22-1/2" + 34" = 56-1/2". To be safe add another riser to make 56-1/2" + 7-3/4" = 63" (rounded off).

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: switches over stairs

    And here I was just going by the fact it looked close to a sheet and a half of drywall from the box to the last step under the box. Still looks close to me.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: switches over stairs

    I would quote article 404.8(A) - Accessibility and grouping
    All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located so they may be operated from a readily accessible place.

    I would not consider a switch located that far out into the stairs as readily accessible as far as viewing it from the safety standpoint.

    The section 210.70 (2) does not say you can not mount the switches over the stairs. It say you must provide a switch at each floor level or landing with an entry. It does not mean that it must be Over the floor -not the stairs. Either way the set up in your photo is just a real bad design. I wouldn't want my small child reaching for that switch.
    This section was inserted into code to require a switch at every level to control stair lighting. Light switches over stairs are very common on basement steps.


  9. #9
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: switches over stairs

    I would quote article 404.8(A) - Accessibility and grouping
    All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located so they may be operated from a readily accessible place.
    I would not consider a switch located that far out into the stairs as readily accessible as far as viewing it from the safety standpoint.
    KH: Good call.


    The section 210.70 (2) does not say you can not mount the switches over the stairs. It say you must provide a switch at each floor level or landing with an entry. It does not mean that it must be Over the floor -not the stairs.
    KH: I disagree.

    Either way the set up in your photo is just a real bad design.
    KH: No doubt.


  10. #10
    Ed Cope's Avatar
    Ed Cope Guest

    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Hi Chris
    It looks like there is a switch box cut into the drywall at the bottom left corner of your picture. I know it might be the wrong type of box but could the box you are refering to be for something other than switches? Perhaps a wall sconce or some type of emergency lighting.
    Maybe I am just trying to convince myself that no one would put a switch there.
    Ed


  11. #11
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Maybe I am just trying to convince myself that no one would put a switch there.
    EC: Sparkys on drugs are apt to do just about anything.


  12. #12
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    I would quote article 404.8(A) - Accessibility and grouping
    All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located so they may be operated from a readily accessible place.
    Thanks Ken.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Cope View Post
    Hi Chris
    It looks like there is a switch box cut into the drywall at the bottom left corner of your picture.
    There is only 1 step that turns the corner, so the box you see at the bottom of the steps is the 3 way for the stairway lights.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: switches over stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    I would quote article 404.8(A) - Accessibility and grouping
    All switches and circuit breakers used as switches shall be located so they may be operated from a readily accessible place.

    I would not consider a switch located that far out into the stairs as readily accessible as far as viewing it from the safety standpoint.
    From the NEC.
    - Accessible, Readily (Readily Accessible). Capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth.

    Those switches sure do meet what readily accessible defines.

    Note that I pointed out that the STAIR SWITCH location had to be at each FLOOR LEVEL and that switches along a FLIGHT OF STAIRS are not at FLOOR LEVEL.

    Also note that I pointed out that does not prohibit the OTHER SWITCHES from being along the stairs.

    Common sense prohibits putting OTHER switches along the stair.

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

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