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Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
I've heard it said, or I read it somewhere,
that under the UK Regs, switches in a Bathroom are only allowed to be either of the pull-cord type or the switches have to be installed outside of the room.
Is this true?. [Linked Image]

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 134
You asked about switches in the bathroom in the UK.
Most electricians over here work(ed) on the basis that wall mounted light switches have to mounted outside the bathroom door, alternatively a pull cord sw. may be fitted in the bathroom, providing the body can't be touched by anyone using the bath/shower.

The actual regulation - prior to 01/01/2002 - required that any switch or other means of control or adjustment should be situated as to be normally inaccessible to a person using a fixed bath or shower. This requirement did not apply to:
1) Insulating cords of p/c sw's complying with BS 3676.
2) Mechanical actuators, with linkages incorperating insulating components, of remotely operated switches.
3) Controls within stationary instantaneous water heaters complying with BS 3456 Section 3.9.
4) Sw's supplied by SELV not exceeding 12V ac or dc.
5) Shaver supply unit complying with Reg 601-09-01.

In practice, due to the small dimensions of the typical British bathroom, it was not permissible to use a wall mounted light switch within the room.
This has led to a belief amongst many Brits, that it is "illegal" to have a switch (except p/c type) in the bathroom.

In April 2000, Section 601 (Locations containing a bath or shower) of BS7671 was revised to align more closely with CENELEC & IEC requirements. This became mandatory from Jan 2002.

The bathroom is now divided into 4 zones: 0, 1, 2 & 3, similar to NZ regs, with certain categories of equipment permitted in each zone.
Wall mounted switches would be acceptable in zone 3.

Personally I welcome the new bathroom regs, as zones are now firmly designated, unlike our previous regs containing ambiguous terms such as; "inaccessibile to a person using a fixed bath or shower". That particular phrase was always good for much debate, as inaccessible to someone 5'1" tall, is very different for someone 6'5" tall.
That said, I still prefer to put the light switch outside the bathroom door, as a damp switch may conduct electricity.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
There seem to be several points like this where people erroneously believe that the Regs. prohibit something when that has never been the case.

The "inaccessible" description certainly leaves room for interpretation. It would be possible for me to put a switch in my own bathroom so as to be inaccessible from the tub, but such a location would also be nowhere near the door and thus rather inconvenient. I have my switch outside in the hallway, next to the door handle. (The strip light over the mirro has its own pull-cord.)

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