I came across your name while searching the net for specific answers to some questions regarding the IEE WiringRules about bathrooms.
The contents of section 601-07-01 do apply to wiring systems embedded in the walls at a depth of 50mm or less. I have not seen any definition of a wall applicable in this context. Do they mean any partition within the bathroom only or do they mean also any wall between the bathroom and any adjacent room?
I would take this to include all walls, be they exterior, a wall between the bathroom and an adjacent room, or a partition within the bathroom (e.g. surrounding an airing cupboard).
Paul, Our Regs and ECP's don't discriminate between types of walls. After all, a wall is a wall, isn't it?. However, for the purposes of the Regs, I suppose, a partition wall as part of a shower enclosure, would provide a degree of protection against steam and water, if switches were mounted on the opposite side to the actual shower.
I think the current standard practice of just not putting light switches, other than operated by a string, into bathrooms is quite reasonable.
Also with attic space above most bathrooms having all of the switches on the ceiling actually makes a lot of sense from a wiring point-of-view. It's a hell of a lot easier to add a fan in with all of the wiring in the attic and a pull-switch in the ceiling than having to remove wall tiles and dig out plaster!
Are string-pull switches used elsewhere?
I know we use them occasionally in bedrooms to allow people to turn off the main light from bed.
[This message has been edited by djk (edited 12-24-2003).]
djk, Yes, we've used pull-cord switches over here for years!. At one time, they were the only type of switch available here and with thier original 3A rating. These days, we rarely install them in newer houses, but we do a lot of replacements in existing installations. There is a brand of pull-cord switch here that has a Neon indicator in the switch mechanism itself, so you can see where the end of the pull-cord is, in the dark. They glow quite brightly too!.
Yes, the ceiling-mounted switches certainly make for easier wiring!
Many people in the U.K. are under the impression that only pull-cord switches are permitted in bathrooms, but that's not the case. Regular wall switches can be used so long as they are mounted so that they can't be reached by someone in the tub or shower (although as has been pointed out before, that might be impossible in the postage-stamp sized bathrooms in some British houses!).
Double-pole switching is common here for all fixed heavy appliances, e.g. shower, range (cooker), storage heaters, water heaters.
The pull-cord switches for lights (generally rated 6A these days) are single-pole however. They were fitted over beds sometimes, but that practice seems to have disappeared in more recent years.
The older method (typical of the 1940s) actually used a drop cord from a ceiling rose with the switch hanging on the end of it.
Paul, The original query should read "do not apply". The 50mm depth or contained in earthed metallic conduit caveats are both aimed at the possibility of mechanical damage. As long as the provisos are followed the definition of a wall could be related to an acceptable usual meaning, perhaps using the Building Regulations as a benchmark. Your own consideration seems reasonable!