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#166127 07/13/07 01:05 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 54
Very straight forward bathroom remodel and I failed the final inspection.

The inspector says the Panasonic exhaust fan-light needs to be GFCI protected. It is NOT above the tub, but approx 2' away from the tub centered in the remainder of the bathroom. I realize if it were above the tub it would need GFCI protection per 110.3(B). He says it is in the bathtub area which is 3' horiz. away from the tub.

I believe he is confused with 410.4(D) which does not allow (GFCI or not) a hanging light or PADDLE fan in that area. I don't want to bust holes, fish wires or pay $45 for a GFCI breaker.

Am I missing something??

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
I think you are right, but in this case I would consider that $45 a promotional item this month only for the first 10 callers and we'll throw in this handy carrot slicer at no extra cost. You will probably be meeting up with this inspector on other future jobs no? Think in the long term, or you could maybe use one of those gfi/switch combo units that they sell at the big orange stores.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Don't kowtow to this inspector. Show him (in private) the code sections and make your point. You will get the reputation as a man who does not suffer fools, and, more importantly, as an electrician who knows the code. Inspectors who "get even" don't last long.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
True enough, earlydean!

Probably the most successful approach is to enter the vipers' nest (oops, I mean the inspectors' office :D), codebook in hand, and express absolute puzzlement that you simply cannot find the relevant section - could they be of some help?

This approach has some subtle advantages. First of all, having the Code in hand shows you're serious. Asking for their assistance is as non-confrontational as you can get. Finally, the inspectors are likely to be out in the field, so you're likely to wind up speaking to the boss .... who will most likely make your troubles disappear. No bruised egos or hard feelings ... just a little misunderstanding smile

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,279
Likes: 3
Ah, ol' 110.3 (b).......mfg instructions....

Was the AHJ's opinion based on the defined 'space' in the Panasonic literature?? Did the AHJ quote/cite 110.3 (b)? Did he cite any Article?

NJ policy is an Article must be cited.

That all said; the opinions of my esteemed breathern above share a common sense approach. Just 'doing it' to get a PASS may not be the best thing, costs not being influential. Taking a 'stand' IF YOU ARE 100% sure you are within Code may be good; but make sure you are good first. MY first choice would be a basic discussion, or a 'sit down'.

Here in NJ, we have a Board of Construction Appeals as the final decision-makers in AHJ/Contractor type disagreements.

All of the above comments are my personal opinions, not to be confused with any official interpretations.


Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 54
I asked for a code reference but he was unable to give me one at the time. I plan on going in to see him Monday with code book in hand. I had said I felt it was an issue of 110.3(B). He said it was another article regarding "bathtub zone". The only part of the code which I know of which refers to this 3' zone is 410.4(D) as I stated above.

I am 99% sure I am right but just want to be certain before I march in to protest.

I feel it is a matter of principle as Earl said.

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 984
That's one of the major reasons that I think that the NEC needs to better define their terms and include distances in those definitions.

406.8(C) prohibits installation "within or directly over" the tub, but the term "bathtub and shower space" is never defined in the Code.

Personally, I don't think that 3' is unreasonable; but I DO agree that if it's not in the adopted Code and/or local amendments it's not enforcable.

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 54

I agree with you on the need for better definitions.

For example, the def. of a receptacle is "a contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug".

One could argue that a bath exhaust fan has a receptacle within it. However, if that were the case 406.8(C) would forbid it no matter if it were GFCI protected or not to be installed above a tub. I don't think anyone would argue that they cannot go above a tub with GFCI protection.

I personally feel that a shower light SHOULD be required to have GFCI protection even more so than a bath fan. Couldn't you just see some Darwin candidate have a light bulb blow out in the middle of a shower and yell to his wife to pass him a new one.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 399
Remember, most inspectors are human smile We sometimes make mistakes just like everyone else.
Take your Code book and talk to him.
This might also prevent him from making the next guy do the same thing until someone straightens him out.
He may have already had others do this and you can be the straightener.
Alan--an inspector.

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 100
JJM Offline
I think a hybrid of the approaches here would be a good idea. Go ahead and install the breaker ($45, big deal) in the spirit of cooperation, noting how you can understand his position on the code. But as others here said, don't be a pushover either. With code book in hand, let him know your knowledge of the code, and diplomatically prove how he was incorrect in his determination.

Now you have put him on notice for the future, and at the same time assured your job will pass.

Sometimes you've just pick your battles. Something small like this just isn't worth a big battle. And remember your customer, and more importantly your reputation as an EC. The customer won't be too thrilled if your doesn't get signed off on quickly... and over what, a $45 breaker?


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