3-way and 4-way switching location requirements

srgsparky

New member
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!!:slaphead:
 

packersparky

Senior Member
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!!:slaphead:
The NEC does not require 3 or 4 way switches.
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
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.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
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.
 

jeff48356

Senior Member
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.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
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.
 

Frank DuVal

Senior Member
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.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
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.
 

GerryB

Senior Member
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.
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
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.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
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.
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
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)
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
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?
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
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
 

kwired

Electron manager
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
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.
 

GerryB

Senior Member
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
He doesn't need the NEC, see post 13. Seems like one of those "choose your battles" things.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
He doesn't need the NEC, see post 13. Seems like one of those "choose your battles" things.
I agree with the fact that other building codes have requirements above the NEC hence the question, "What can he cite"? He can't just say he wants something with out having an adopted code to cite and enforce. As far as NFPA 101, no area that I have worked in has adopted it although it is used and noted in many designs.



Roger
 

kwired

Electron manager
NFPA 101 isn't likely to apply to a dwelling unit. Maybe some chance with common areas on some multifamily units, but probably not within individual dwellings.
 
Top