Unlisted light fixture

Status
Not open for further replies.

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
So you are saying you don't think an inspector has the knowledge, experience, or credentials to approve anything.

I disagree but, if that is the case, how are we going to have whole buildings tested in a lab?

Roger
 

ultramegabob

Senior Member
Location
Indiana
I'd have to say that we have finally touched on a variation a what was a pet peeve of mine when I worked as an electrician.
The 2 variations on this theme are 1]The 'Designer suugests a fixture-for some reason designers more often than not seem to lean towards fixtures manufactured in europe-the downside to this is that this will also increase the likelihood that the fixture will not be UL listed-I'm not saying that because something is produced in europe it willnot be ul listed --I'm saying that when it comes to lighting fixtures in particular this problem will present itself.
That was variation 1.Variation 2 is the reall good one.
2]The designer and client[thats our eager h/owner] head off for a day of lighting fixture shopping down to Canal St. in NY,with side trips up and down Bwery,Spring,And Grand avenues downtown[Hotspots for Antique shops,lighting/antique shops,and lighting shops that sell fixtures as new that should be considered as antiques].
The result that is eventually handed to us -the electricians is an 'item'-I am generally reluctant to call it a fixture.
You find yourself studying the "item" and saying to the h/owner "Did the store have this displayed as it should be installed--ya know,I mean this is a wall sconce so was it installed on a wall display and lit up?"
At this time as you hold your breadth,because you're pretty sure you know the answer---
well if things go the wrong way the h/owner will say
"No -none of the fixtures in the store were lit up or on a wall-they were hung fron a chain on the cieling".
It is at that time you realize you now face variation2--you don't have a fixture in your hand-you have a piece of art in your hand-and you now know that you now are faced with explaining that a piece of art is just that -it is not a fixture no matter how many zip cord and bulbs youjury rig to it.
Once again you realize that a big shooed brightly colored imaginationland interior designer has somehow found his way into the world of electric-a world which makes little sense to him,just as his kind is often very puzzling to us.
Variation 2 is 'A fixture is a fixture and a piece of art is just that-a piece of art."
Art should not be electrified and turned into a fixture-
It should be hung and then illuminated to bring out all its beauty thru the use and proper installation of a fixture designed for the purpose.
While normally I am quick to accept the hard guy rep for my view on something like this,I will say that in respect to this in particular -my feelings came from too many years working high end jobs where this scenario was THE NORM-we were given pieces of art the the designer said was a fixture-however there was no way to mount this fixture[allways seemed to be a wall sconce]-why?because it never had been intended to be used that way.
What did we do-we did unfortunately what so many of us will do-we got the job done-I'll give you one example--
H/owner purchases thru his designer 25 wall sconces .When he saw them they were hanging from the cieling..,by a string.
Thats because there was no mounting method incorporated in the design of this fixture.

And the answer once again is because it wasn't a fixture.
We designed a method using a spun brass back plate[in keeping with the 'tone' of the fixture] that allowed for proper securing of the device or and or
fixture clearance,and ease of removal if repairs were needed
Im glad im sitting down, that post made me dizzy.....
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I disagree but, if that is the case, how are we going to have whole buildings tested in a lab?
We will forget about having skilled installers and inspectors, we will just have mindless robots doing the work and then we will pay UL to come out and list the building. And then when it needs to be changed we will have UL come out again and again and again. :roll:


Wait a minute, how will we know the UL guys are qualified ......... oh yeah UL will tell us so. :mad:
 

nakulak

Senior Member
So you are saying you don't think an inspector has the knowledge, experience, or credentials to approve anything.

I disagree but, if that is the case, how are we going to have whole buildings tested in a lab?

Roger
how can an inspector say, with reasonable confidence, that a modified light fixture does not represent a fire hazard, without endangering someone and/or leaving the public culpable for a future lawsuit ? Inspectors are already tasked to inspect items well beyond their ability to adequately perform: they can only perform (imo) the most summary inspections for the most obvious and routine items. Furthermore, why would the public even want inspectors to be put in the position of taking on this responsibility (regardless of what has been going on in the past). It may not be convenient for electrical installers to have to deal with non-conforming items, but if they want to install them then the onis is going to be on the installer/owner to provide some kind of reasonable safety certification (perhaps there is a business opportunity here for some entrepenuer, since the alternative ie. UL is so expensive)
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
how can an inspector say, with reasonable confidence, that a modified light fixture does not represent a fire hazard, without endangering someone and/or leaving the public culpable for a future lawsuit ? Inspectors are already tasked to inspect items well beyond their ability to adequately perform: they can only perform (imo) the most summary inspections for the most obvious and routine items. Furthermore, why would the public even want inspectors to be put in the position of taking on this responsibility (regardless of what has been going on in the past). It may not be convenient for electrical installers to have to deal with non-conforming items, but if they want to install them then the onis is going to be on the installer/owner to provide some kind of reasonable safety certification (perhaps there is a business opportunity here for some entrepenuer, since the alternative ie. UL is so expensive)
I guess until you have more confidence in yourself and the inspectors inspecting your work you will simply have to rely on third parties for approval of your installations and fabrications. I will continue as I always have, and if I build a fixture or a control cabinet I won't loose any sleep worrying about it being safe without a third party listing.

As pointed out earlier, why would you think a UL representative is any more qualified than we are?

And as far as lawsuits, there will always be lawsuits even if everything associated with the suit is third party listed.

Roger
 

ericsherman37

Senior Member
Location
Oregon Coast
We will forget about having skilled installers and inspectors, we will just have mindless robots doing the work and then we will pay UL to come out and list the building. And then when it needs to be changed we will have UL come out again and again and again. :roll:


Wait a minute, how will we know the UL guys are qualified ......... oh yeah UL will tell us so. :mad:
Just wait till Wireless Power Transmission takes hold! :D

http://tech.msn.com/news/article.aspx?cp-documentid=17337626
 

iMuse97

Senior Member
Location
Chicagoland
I will continue as I always have, and if I build a fixture or a control cabinet I won't loose any sleep worrying about it being safe without a third party listing.

As pointed out earlier, why would you think a UL representative is any more qualified than we are?

And as far as lawsuits, there will always be lawsuits even if everything associated with the suit is third party listed.

Roger
Thank you for this perspective, Roger. I've installed some of these artworks, and I've built control panels. I've never worried about them again.

Also: I think that even with the more modular approach that is coming in many areas of the trade, there will always be room for the well-qualified electricians to make modifications in the field, and make the judgment calls that go with doing such work.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
UL does not "approve" equipment, material, etc...
UL lists and labels.
Approve- To give formal or official sanction to. SYN:.....accredit, certify.

Accredit and certify imply official endorsement attesting to conformity to set standards.

From the White Book. UL.......for the testing, certification, and quality assessment of products, systems and services.

In order to list it they must first test and "approve" it for the use or application it was submitted for.

Potato - Patoto.:smile:

If you hadn't noticed, I have a lot of free time today.:grin:
 

mthead

Senior Member
Location
Long Beach,NY
Unlisted light fixture

--Ultra megbob--gotta tell you that post made me dizzy as I was writing it..., as evidenced by many of the curious mispellings and interesting grammatical errors that occured throughout.
I was typing as fast as I could dance for fear that my post would be timed out.

Roger -you asked what was my point ...,and I admit it is buried too deep for me too remember upon looking back--
but I guess it is this--if we were to accept something 'field designed-such as one of the afore mentioned,unlisted fixtures' from one electrician -based on our experience gained via time in the field as an electrician and subsequently as inspectors,and our "addt'l code knowledge"[which gives us that oversized head that won't fit in your average hard hat]
--doesn't that mean that we've entered the realm of inspectors acting as even more than an AHJ--[which we all know is a term that is not to be tossed about lightly],but actually as our own little design and approval team?
Isn't the idea of 'listed and approved -by a certified agency',one which aims to promote safety,liability protection and peace of mind for all[all being the h/owner,the electrician,and the legitimate manufacturer].
I can build the perfect mousetrap and a great light to go with it-but I won't take the responsibility of installing it even in my house.
I was a good electrician,I try to stay on top of things--but the story I related earlier is something I did that worked well-but I don't necessarily consider it legal in code sense and would not do it now..,that is a result of what I've learned and unfortunately seen since becoming an inspector.
My point here is that even if I know it "can" work or be done that way --well if it says it "shall not" be done that way then we've got to follow that rule -even if we don't aggree-untill it is changed.
Now I'm dizzy again.
 

lrtcubb

Member
The 2008 NEC section 410.6 requires all luminiares and lampholders to be Listed. So if you area is on the '08 they need to be Listed.
 

wireguru

Senior Member
We will forget about having skilled installers and inspectors, we will just have mindless robots doing the work
This happened a long time ago, aparrently you have never seen tract homes being built in southern california :D
 

LJSMITH1

Senior Member
Location
Stratford, CT
Roger: "As pointed out earlier, why would you think a UL representative is any more qualified than we are?"
The main reason why they are more qualified than *most* electricians or AHJ's is that they are fully familiar with the UL standards that the product is tested to. They might even be 'dreaded' engineers that actually perform testing in the lab on the very same items.:roll: In many cases, they can bring lab equipment out to the site and test the product. In other cases, they will get involved with a manufacturer if a listing is questionable or mis-applied.

Third party testing serves a purpose for 98% of all applications. However, if the AHJ doesn't require or recognize third party testing and validation to NEC standards, then your professional opinion (and the NEC) is about all you have to convince the AHJ to approve. However, they might not want the liability or have the expertise to trust in your explanation (or their own), hence the reasoning for a third party testing organization.

The moral of the story is if you modify a UL listed product on site (in a manner for which it has not been designed for), the NEC provides the AHJ every right to pass on approval until the product can be independently tested and verified. UL Listings are static - meaning that they only cover product that was submitted to UL in a particular configuration or condition for testing. Once modifications are made, the item would no longer be identical to the tested and listed item - technically.

:cool:
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
The main reason why they are more qualified than *most* electricians or AHJ's is that they are fully familiar with the UL standards that the product is tested to.
Thank you for inserting *most* but regardless, that still doesn't mean they are any more qualified to approve a product.

They might even be 'dreaded' engineers that actually perform testing in the lab on the very same items.:roll:
That could be a big problem too.

In many cases, they can bring lab equipment out to the site and test the product. In other cases, they will get involved with a manufacturer if a listing is questionable or mis-applied.
They can if they are employed to do so.

Third party testing serves a purpose for 98% of all applications. However, if the AHJ doesn't require or recognize third party testing and validation to NEC standards, then your professional opinion (and the NEC) is about all you have to convince the AHJ to approve. However, they might not want the liability or have the expertise to trust in your explanation (or their own), hence the reasoning for a third party testing organization.
I agree and it is sad IMO.

The moral of the story is if you modify a UL listed product on site (in a manner for which it has not been designed for), the NEC provides the AHJ every right to pass on approval until the product can be independently tested and verified. UL Listings are static - meaning that they only cover product that was submitted to UL in a particular configuration or condition for testing. Once modifications are made, the item would no longer be identical to the tested and listed item - technically.

:cool:
I have not been talking about altering a product in this thread.

Roger
 

electricalperson

Senior Member
Location
massachusetts
if a fixture is built out of UL listed parts does the entire fixture need to be UL listed? if somebody decided to build custom fancy fixtures using UL listed sockets, cord caps and lamp cord is this ok to do?

my father made a couple light fixtures out of wood to sell. all the parts are UL approved and i checked the wiring over.

heres a story. one house we wired the guy bought an old wagon wheel to hang from his celing. he wanted lights on it so it would look like an old western saloon or something like that. we bought a bunch of candelalbra sockets and wired the lights using lamp cord. i have no problem with this at all and it still works to this day without one problem.
 

LJSMITH1

Senior Member
Location
Stratford, CT
if a fixture is built out of UL listed parts does the entire fixture need to be UL listed? if somebody decided to build custom fancy fixtures using UL listed sockets, cord caps and lamp cord is this ok to do?

my father made a couple light fixtures out of wood to sell. all the parts are UL approved and i checked the wiring over.

heres a story. one house we wired the guy bought an old wagon wheel to hang from his ceiling. he wanted lights on it so it would look like an old western saloon or something like that. we bought a bunch of candelabra sockets and wired the lights using lamp cord. i have no problem with this at all and it still works to this day without one problem.

Simply put - No. The lamp in its entirety must be submitted to UL for evaluation - including all components needed to properly mount it to a wall or ceiling box. If necessary, instructions must also be included. If the lamp design passes the required tests, then UL will list the lamp. The sticker is typically applied in the canopy or inside the mounting cover.

The fact that it works is fine, but you are asking if it is UL listed because all of the individual parts are.
 

LJSMITH1

Senior Member
Location
Stratford, CT
Thank you for inserting *most* but regardless, that still doesn't mean they are any more qualified to approve a product.
I disagree. UL testing employees are absolutely qualified to evaluate to specific UL standards. Since they work for UL, and their entire job function may be to understand and apply the specification better than you or I could ever hope to. ;) These folks (and other third party labs) approve or reject product every day.

That could be a big problem too.
Only if the UL engineer's opinion doesn't agree with yours.;)

They can if they are employed to do so.
If a "UL" Field inspector shows up, they are typically employed by UL.

I agree and it is sad IMO.
Many people have tried to change the NEC to make it less reliant on the AHJ for final approval, but with limited success.

I have not been talking about altering a product in this thread.
No, but others have, and its typically a bone of contention when discussing this exact subject.

Pierre also made a comment that "UL does not "approve" equipment, material, etc...UL lists and labels." This is a bit confusing as we may be discussing semantics. The listing process involved testing product to defined standards of performance AND design. Within this testing process there is a PASS/FAIL criteria. So it can easily be interpreted that IF a product is listed, that it has PASSED the required evaluations, and is therefore 'approved' by UL to be listed and labeled as a compliant product.

However, there are some things that UL (or other NRTL) cannot control:

- Improperly applied product in the field (i.e. wrong environment, voltage, material, etc.)
- Poor workmanship during install of the product
- Modification of product in the field
- Not following manufacturer's installation instructions
- Counterfeit listed product (very difficult to control at UL level - more of a manufacturer/importer responsibility)

This is where the AHJ can use his/her experience to either approve or reject.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top