You are correct that the wall fixture is not prohibited by the code. There are some proposals and connents about this for the '96 or '99 code cycle. I think that it should be prohibited, but its not. This issue was again addresed in proposal 18-55 for the '05 code.
18-55 Log #1572 NEC-P18 (410-4(D)
Final Action: Accept in Principle
Submitter: Michael J. Johnston, Intâ€™l Assn. of Electrical Inspectors
Revise Section 410.4(D)as follows:
(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires (fixtures), wall or ceiling hung hanging luminaires (fixtures), lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the zone directly over the tub or shower stall.
There appears to be some confusion in the field regarding consistent application of the requirement to meet the intent of section 410.4(D). If it is intended to restrict wall mounted or wall hung, surface mounted luminaries (fixtures), the language has created a difference in application of the rule. The revision would clarify the requirement and intentions of the technical committee regarding electrical equipment permitted in that specified restricted zone. The revision would not restrict the use of suitable recessed fixtures in the restricted area, but would restrict surface mounted (wall mounted) luminaries (wet location rated) from being installed in those areas. This is not clear currently in the rule. The definition of "hanging" in many dictionaries includes a description of the term as being hung on the wall or ceiling, as one would hang a picture on the wall. Many AHJs use this as a means to prohibit it the surface mounted wall luminaries (fixtures) from being installed in this area. The revision would provide clarification and contribute to increased safety. Some jurisdictions that allow surface wall mounted, wet location fixtures in these areas because of the present wording, also then require the fixture to be GFCI protected. I agree with this, but there are not words in the NEC to require this protection if the fixure is allowed in these locations.
My concerns are for those who may slip in the tub or shower. The natural reaction on the way down is to grab onto anything to stop the fall. This could be a situation where the energized lighting luminaire (fixture) which is permitted to be mounted in accordance with 314.27(A)Exception would be subject to damage other than it would be capable of withstanding. This is a shock hazard. It also is a shock hazard for bathing, curious children. The clarification is needed to assist the consumer in the interest of safety in the bathtub and shower areas, and also to assist code enforcement officials with a rule that results in more consistent and safe installations. The intent of this proposal was not directed at limiting all lighting luminaries (fixtures) in these areas, such as totally enclosed types suitable for wet locations that are flush mounted and recessed), but to try to address the situations associated with wall (surface) mounted fixtures indicated in the substantiation. GFCI protection should be provided for all electrical equipment in these zones.
Panel Meeting Action: Accept in Principle
Revise 410.4(D) to read:
(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires (fixtures), chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires (fixtures), lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the zone directly over the tub or shower stall.
This section addresses luminaires and fans that hang from the ceiling into the shower/bath space. The wording is not intended to exclude suitable luminaires. Wall and ceiling mounted luminaires, suitable for the environment, are acceptable. Properly installed listed luminaires would not have energized exterior surfaces. The ubstantiation does not provide data or documentation that indicates suitable surface mounted luminaires present a hazard.
Number Eligible to Vote: 11
Affirmative: 11 Ballot Results:
Comment on Affirmative:
LARSON: While I agree that the proposed revision to 410.4(D) is a positive step, I believe that the Panel misinterpreted the main thrust of the proposal. The submitter has pointed out that 410.4(D) is unclear as to whether the device restrictions in a bathtub and shower area apply to ceiling-mounted units only, or if the restrictions extend to certain types of wall-mounted devices also. The first sentence of the panel statement adds to this confusion by claiming that this section addresses only ceiling-mounted luminaires and fans. I believe that the intent of 410.4(D) is to apply restrictions to the entire volume within the defined zone, which includes the wall surfaces. The examples given in 410.4(D) are all ceiling-mounted devices. I believe that the panel should widen the list of restricted luminaires, as suggested in the submitter's recommendation, to make clear that certain types of wall-mounted luminaires are also prohibited. Suitability for the environment is only one factor to consider in this prohibition. The other is suitability for the location. Some surface mounted luminaires, such as those discussed in Proposal 18-53 (Log #229), even if listed for damp or wet locations, are clearly not suitable for installation in a bathtub and shower area. Citing such restrictions for wall-mounted luminaires in 410.4(D) seems to be the
best place to do that.
[This message has been edited by resqcapt19 (edited 11-03-2003).]