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  1. #1
    Clay E White's Avatar
    Clay E White Guest

    Default Stairway light switch location

    Last edited by Clay E White; 01-04-2008 at 10:43 AM.
    OREP Home Inspector E&O Insurance 2

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Healdsburg, CA
    Posts
    1,741

    Default Re: Stairway light switch location

    Clay, again here's no doubt that light switch location poses a safety concern and presents a hazard to anyone using those stairs in dim light or the dark. See my recommendation on "gate opening over stair."

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Stairway light switch location

    Good question.

    The NEC says "at each floor level, and landing level that includes an entry way..." but does not define "at".

    In this situation I would point out to my client that it's not obvious how to turn on the lights serving the stairs, and that this will be a hazard to anyone using them (I don't like to use "traversing" in verbal explanations), especially to guests or to the elderly, and I would include it in my report as a FYI item.

    As for code, it seems to me that "at" implies that a stair's required light switch's function should be clearly identifiable by typical homeowner based on location - my test would be" "is the switch clearly visible from the logical path to the stairs, and is the switch's function obvious from its location", and that switch fails both tests.

    I have no supporting cite for that though.

    What I do know that some AHJ do apply "common sense" standards in new construction - for example prohibiting switches which are not only "at" the stairs but "on" them (higher than the bottom tread or lower than the top tread) and thus can't be operated until you are traversing the stairs - based on judgment calls by the inspector.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 09-23-2007 at 06:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,307

    Default Re: Stairway light switch location

    From the NEC. (bold is mine)
    - 210.70 Lighting Outlets Required.
    - - (A) Dwelling Units. In dwelling units, lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with 210.70(A)(1), (2), and (3).
    - - - (2) Additional Locations. Additional lighting outlets shall be installed in accordance with (a), (b), and (c).
    - - - - (a) At least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in hallways, stairways, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power.
    - - - - (b) For dwelling units, attached garages, and detached garages with electric power, at least one wall switch–controlled lighting outlet shall be installed to provide illumination on the exterior side of outdoor entrances or exits with grade level access. A vehicle door in a garage shall not be considered as an outdoor entrance or exit.
    - - - - (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 entry way, to control the lighting outlet(s) where the stairway between floor levels has six risers or more.
    - - - - Exception to (a), (b), and (c): In hallways, stairways, and at outdoor entrances, remote, central, or automatic control of lighting shall be permitted.

    There shall be a wall switch AT each floor level ... that says that when the stairway landing is the floor level, *there shall be a switch there*, at the floor *landing*, and, if there is a landing onto which an entry point is located, there shall also be one there.

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

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