Stairway illumination

New construction. See the light in the hall beside the stairs? What do you think? Proper illumination?

Also, the 2nd level light switch was 18 feet from the 2nd level stair landing. Who would write that up (besides me)? From one bedroom, you have to go out of your way to turn on the light before going down the stairs. The switch is in the last photo, above the wall outlet (left side of the door opening).

Retard architects.

041609 075.JPG 041609 078.JPG

Is that a 3-way connected to a switch downstairs?

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]Stairway illumination is regulated in two locations within the International Residential Code. I realize this is not necessarily binding for your inspections, but it is still good information to know. This language would be applicable for installations which are under the 06 IRC adoption.[/size][/FONT][/size][/FONT]

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]Below is language from the 06 IRC version:[/size][/FONT][/size][/FONT]

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]R303.6 Stairway illumination. All interior and exterior stairways[/size]
shall be provided with a means to illuminate the stairs,
including the landings and treads. Interior stairways shall be
provided with an artificial light source located in the immediate
vicinity of each landing of the stairway. For interior stairs the
artificial light sources shall be capable of illuminating treads
and landings to levels not less than 1 foot-candle (11 lux) measured
at the center of treads and landings. Exterior stairways
shall be provided with an artificial light source located in the
immediate vicinity of the top landing of the stairway. Exterior
stairways providing access to a basement from the outside
grade level shall be provided with an artificial light source
located in the immediate vicinity of the bottom landing of the

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]Exception: An artificial light source is not required at the[/size]
top and bottom landing, provided an artificial light source is
located directly over each stairway section.

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]**R303.6.1 Light activation. **Where lighting outlets are[/size]
installed in interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at
each floor level to control the lighting outlet where the stairway
has six or more risers. The illumination of exterior
stairways shall be controlled from inside the dwelling unit.

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]Exception: Lights that are continuously illuminated or[/size]
automatically controlled.

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]E3803.3 Additional locations. [/size]At least one wall-switch-controlled
lighting outlet shall be installed in hallways, stairways,
attached garages, and detached garages with electric power. At
least one wall-switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed
to provide illumination on the exterior side of each outdoor
egress door having grade level access, including outdoor egress
doors for attached garages and detached garages with electric
power. A vehicle door in a garage shall not be considered as an
outdoor egress door. Where one or more lighting outlets are
installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at
each floor level and landing level that includes an entryway to
control the lighting outlets where the stairway between floor levels
has six or more risers.

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]**Exception: **In hallways, stairways, and at outdoor egress[/size]
doors, remote, central, or automatic control of lighting shall
be permitted.

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]It is also important to remember that one of the things that Section E3803.3 is saying is that ALL stairways (regardless of dimension or the number of stair risers) is required to be illuminated with a lighting outlet. The number of risers only dictates where lighting outlets must be controlled. Among other things, Section E3303.6 can additionally regulate the switch location in relation to the stair treads.[/size][/FONT][/size][/FONT]

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2](At least this is how I read it…)[/size][/FONT][/size][/FONT]

[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]I do hope this is helpful,[/size][/FONT][/size][/FONT]



Unless the architects actually put the an undersized light there on their floor plans(and had to followed 100%), I would suspect it was the electrician.

Some, feel closer to the stairs, more likely the home owner will later fall down the stairs changing the bulbs. So they move it further away. As for ‘enough’ light, use common sense, or go 100% and pull out the light meter. :wink:


The stairway ceiling, about half-way down the stairs essentially blocked the dim hall light above on the lower treads. I wrote it up and also wrote up the poorly located switch. I don’t have a light meter…just used common sense.

Now, some would say if the AHJ has passed it, which they did, then they are the final arbitrator and I should leave it alone. I disagree. I realize public inspectors are overworked, underpaid, and just simply do not enforce many aspects of the building code.

I had a very similar setup, the builder rep said “but we moved the switch so it would meet code!”

I wrote it up as simply a safety issue and they fixed it for my client as found during the reinspection.

I’m not sure what the client said to the builder but they may have suggested that they would have the county come back out there if necessary.

If you are doing a code inspection, then this is all fine. Now ask yourself this. Does each floor have a switch to turn on the light? Next ask yourself if the building department issued a CFO on this building then why are Home Inspectors sighting code if they are not Code inspectors.

Do you quote NEC.?

What do you use for your basis.?

I would call it out as a potential safety hazard.
I would use language that reflects the current IRC code language, but I would not directly refer to it. I do that all of the time. That’s what good narratives are based upon… building methods and safety standards.

Watch several actual inspections of many different egress issues, including illumination explained.

I wrote this course book about egress: Free download pdf

Your comments are entirely unclear. I don’t know what point you are trying to make.