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  1. #1
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    Default wall sconce height

    I was told that a wall sconce in a stairwell is required to be at least 6'-8" high. Can anyone tell me where I can find this in the IRC. Thanks in advance.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: wall sconce height

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McIntyre View Post
    I was told that a wall sconce in a stairwell is required to be at least 6'-8" high. Can anyone tell me where I can find this in the IRC. Thanks in advance.
    Based on the wording of the code, yes, but there are some considerations which should be considered (considerations considered? that sounds strange) - when one walks down a hallway, the 6' 8" headroom could have a projecting object (the sconce) because your head is not next to the wall, your shoulder and arm is, thus, there could be an allowance made for that space ... could be ... but the code does not make an allowance for that space.

    This does have an allowance for projecting objects - but it is not applicable to a dwelling unit:
    - 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design - - 307.2 Protrusion Limits. Objects with leading edges more than 27 inches (685 mm) and not more than 80 inches (2030 mm) above the finish floor or ground shall protrude 4 inches (100 mm) maximum horizontally into the circulation path.

    Again, 307.2 is not applicable to dwelling units, but one could make a similar consideration - if the AHJ would allow it (code does not allow it).

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: wall sconce height

    Where would that code requiring a specific height for a light fixture be located? The OP asked for IRC but I would also be interested in the NRC quote as well as the IRC.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
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    Default Re: wall sconce height

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Where would that code requiring a specific height for a light fixture be located? The OP asked for IRC but I would also be interested in the NRC quote as well as the IRC.
    Jim,

    See bold highlighting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Based on the wording of the code, yes, but there are some considerations which should be considered (considerations considered? that sounds strange) - when one walks down a hallway, the 6' 8" headroom could have a projecting object (the sconce) because your head is not next to the wall, your shoulder and arm is, thus, there could be an allowance made for that space ... could be ... but the code does not make an allowance for that space.

    This does have an allowance for projecting objects - but it is not applicable to a dwelling unit:
    - 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design - - 307.2 Protrusion Limits. Objects with leading edges more than 27 inches (685 mm) and not more than 80 inches (2030 mm) above the finish floor or ground shall protrude 4 inches (100 mm) maximum horizontally into the circulation path.

    Again, 307.2 is not applicable to dwelling units, but one could make a similar consideration - if the AHJ would allow it (code does not allow it).
    Regarding where that quote is from, it was in my post and is a link to it: 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

    Already had both covered, did not want to be accused of pulling a JA.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 06-25-2014 at 05:38 AM. Reason: "if it in my post" corrected to "it was in my post" not sure how I messed that up
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: wall sconce height

    Another thing to consider with regards to the height of the wall sconces is "How wide is the hall?"

    The minimum required width is 36", so, if the hall was 10 feet wide, the wall sconces would be allowed on the wall below 6'8" because the hall between the wall sconces would meet - and exceed - the minimum required width of 36". I doubt anyone would argue that the wall sconces would be in the way below 6'8" and had to be above 6'8" above the walking surface (floor).

    Okay, what if the hall was 6' wide ... still no problem with the wall sconces being lower than 6'8", right?

    What if the hall was 4' wide?

    That is why the Building Code (versus the Residential Code) addresses corridor (hall) width as "required width" ... to differentiate the "actual width" from the "required width" - once wider than the "required width" different things come into play. Such as doors which open into the corridor are not allowed to block more than 50% of the "required width" of the corridor any place within its swing, and a 3 foot door will block more than 50% of a 44" wide corridor during its swing open, so most corridors are designed 6' wide or wider, or the door is recessed 3' in a shallow alcove so that the door does not restrict more than 50% of the "required width" of the corridor.

    Back to the dwelling unit hall: a) 36" minimum width with 80" minimum headroom by 7 feet minimum ceiling height - wall sconce above 80"; b) 48" wide hall with wall sconces which project out 4" from the wall - what is the minimum height of the wall sconces?
    - Answer to b) above from the IRC: 80".
    - Answer to b) above from the AHJ could be: 60" (which is typically above shoulder height).
    - Remember, the hall in b) is 48" wide with the wall sconces protruding out 4" for 40" between the wall sconces with a minimum required width of 36". I can see the AHJ permitting that.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: wall sconce height

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .....Back to the dwelling unit hall: a) 36" minimum width with 80" minimum headroom by 7 feet minimum ceiling height - wall sconce above 80"; b) 48" wide hall with wall sconces which project out 4" from the wall - what is the minimum height of the wall sconces?
    - Answer to b) above from the IRC: 80".
    - Answer to b) above from the AHJ could be: 60" (which is typically above shoulder height).
    Hmmm...not allowing a wall sconce based on minimum headroom seems a bit of stretch to me but I guess is up to AHJ interpretation? I see them all the time in foyers at 60" +/-...if your head is close enough to the wall in a stairwell to hit the sconce you should sleep it off downstairs.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: wall sconce height

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris McIntyre View Post
    Hmmm...not allowing a wall sconce based on minimum headroom seems a bit of stretch to me but I guess is up to AHJ interpretation? I see them all the time in foyers at 60" +/-...if your head is close enough to the wall in a stairwell to hit the sconce you should sleep it off downstairs.
    If the hall is wider than 36", as I explained, there is a reason to allow wall sconces at below 80", however, if the hall is only 36" wide, the code does not provide an exception for them.

    "I see them all the time in foyers ... " and all of those are likely over 36" wide ... right?

    "Foyer" and "hall" are two different things in most cases (there are those areas called "foyer hall", but they are more "foyer" then "hall").

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: wall sconce height

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    If the hall is wider than 36", as I explained, there is a reason to allow wall sconces at below 80", however, if the hall is only 36" wide, the code does not provide an exception for them.

    "I see them all the time in foyers ... " and all of those are likely over 36" wide ... right?

    "Foyer" and "hall" are two different things in most cases (there are those areas called "foyer hall", but they are more "foyer" then "hall").
    Gee Jerry, you are getting wordy lately....


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