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    3-way and 4-way switching location requirements

    Hey gang-

    We currently have an older client who said they are not interested in 3-way or 4-way switching locations for lighting (general illumination) for their residential remodel. They said they only would like one switching location where 3-way and 4-way switches would be ideal. The job is being inspected and we are are currently in the rough-in stage. Is there a NEC article we could site, or ADA requirement where 3-way and 4-way switches are required when potentially walking in to a dark room?
    Thanks in advance!!

    #2
    Originally posted by srgsparky View Post
    Hey gang-

    We currently have an older client who said they are not interested in 3-way or 4-way switching locations for lighting (general illumination) for their residential remodel. They said they only would like one switching location where 3-way and 4-way switches would be ideal. The job is being inspected and we are are currently in the rough-in stage. Is there a NEC article we could site, or ADA requirement where 3-way and 4-way switches are required when potentially walking in to a dark room?
    Thanks in advance!!
    The NEC does not require 3 or 4 way switches.

    Comment


      #3
      Welcome to the forum.

      There is no NEC rule about location or type of switching, and there should not be one. It is a design issue.
      If Billy Idol is on your playlist go reevaluate your life.

      Comment


        #4
        While 3-ways are typically installed to comply with 210.70(A)(2)(3), there are other methods that could be used to comply with that section. As others have said, there is no requirement in the NEC to use 3 or 4 way switches.
        Don, Illinois
        (All code citations are 2017 unless otherwise noted)

        Comment


          #5
          The only place that a 3-way switch must be used is at the top and bottom of the stairs. This is in the Michigan Residential Code. Inspectors here always insist that 3-way switches be installed for this.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jeff48356 View Post
            The only place that a 3-way switch must be used is at the top and bottom of the stairs. This is in the Michigan Residential Code. Inspectors here always insist that 3-way switches be installed for this.
            That would be a local amendment as it is not required under the NEC.
            Rob

            Moderator

            All responses based on the 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted

            Comment


              #7
              The only place that a 3-way switch must be used is at the top and bottom of the stairs.
              This has been in every building code* I have read for the last 25 years. So is the 40 watt equivalent lamp at exterior doors.

              But, yes, not in the NEC.

              Check to see if there is an online version of your local building code that addresses switching in a room.



              * BOCA, SBC, IBC, and IRC.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Frank DuVal View Post
                This has been in every building code* I have read for the last 25 years. So is the 40 watt equivalent lamp at exterior doors.

                But, yes, not in the NEC.

                Check to see if there is an online version of your local building code that addresses switching in a room.



                * BOCA, SBC, IBC, and IRC.
                The language in the IRC is much like that in the NEC. It can be complied with without the use of 3 way switches.
                Don, Illinois
                (All code citations are 2017 unless otherwise noted)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ActionDave View Post
                  Welcome to the forum.

                  There is no NEC rule about location or type of switching, and there should not be one. It is a design issue.
                  True. although a design issue that has you walk too far down a dark hallway could be cited by the inspector.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Frank DuVal View Post
                    This has been in every building code* I have read for the last 25 years. So is the 40 watt equivalent lamp at exterior doors.

                    But, yes, not in the NEC.

                    Check to see if there is an online version of your local building code that addresses switching in a room.



                    * BOCA, SBC, IBC, and IRC.
                    If you can please post the wording in the building code that would require 3-way switches.
                    Rob

                    Moderator

                    All responses based on the 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by GerryB View Post
                      True. although a design issue that has you walk too far down a dark hallway could be cited by the inspector.
                      Two lights on two SP switches could not, however.

                      Inconvenient? Oh, yea. And if you wired new homes without 3ways, you'd find yourself out of business fairly quickly.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jeff48356 View Post
                        The only place that a 3-way switch must be used is at the top and bottom of the stairs. This is in the Michigan Residential Code. Inspectors here always insist that 3-way switches be installed for this.
                        I debate that. Please, show me that in the Michigan Code. We are also allowed to have two lights in the stairwell. One controlled by a switch on the top, the other by a switch on the bottom. No 3-way required. We have passed a rough in with such set up. In Michigan.

                        (Remember, code update classes are this year)
                        Cheers and Stay Safe,

                        Marky the Sparky

                        Comment


                          #13
                          This issue is not part of the NEC (NFPA70), which would only address the HOW part of installing switches and lights. The WHY part is typically enforced by NFPA 101, the Life Safety Code (LSC) and typically enforced by the Fire Marshall. But it’s not going to specifically state that you must use 3 way switches, it’s just going to say that you must have a way for any means of egress to have lighting that is controlled in such a way that people don’t get hurt looking for a light switch. Motion detection / occupancy lighting controls can fit that requirement in some cases. If you are concerned, call your local Fire Marshall and ask them what they think because local requirements may vary regarding how far you go to get to a switch or how many stair risers require more than one means. There is a national standard, but I’ve been caught by local amendments being more stringent. My local city requires no more than 10ft from an entrance to a room, I had a family room added that was 12ft long with doors on either end, they made me put in another switch.

                          These sort of issues are usually covered in the permitting process by the way. Is there no permit for this?
                          __________________________________________________ ____________________________
                          Many people are shocked when they discover I am not a good electrician...

                          I'm in California, ergo I am still stuck on the 2014 NEC... We'll get around to the 2017 code in around 2021.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by GerryB View Post
                            True. although a design issue that has you walk too far down a dark hallway could be cited by the inspector.
                            What could he site? It could be solved by putting numerous fixtures and single pole switches spaced out the length of the hallway, and if he were trying to use the NEC that wouldn't work because the NEC doesn't require fixtures in hallways or most rooms for that matter.

                            Roger
                            Moderator

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by GerryB View Post
                              True. although a design issue that has you walk too far down a dark hallway could be cited by the inspector.
                              Originally posted by roger View Post
                              What could he site? It could be solved by putting numerous fixtures and single pole switches spaced out the length of the hallway, and if he were trying to use the NEC that wouldn't work because the NEC doesn't require fixtures in hallways or most rooms for that matter.

                              Roger
                              I agree with what can he cite. Would have to be from something besides NEC.

                              NEC doesn't require fixtures or "luminaires", may be limited places where it does, but does require "lighting outlets" in many places, especially in a dwelling.
                              I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

                              Comment

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