Switch location

Yesterday I inspected a new construction house. One bedroom had the ceiling light switch located outside the bedroom on a hall wall about 3 feet outside the bedroom door. There was no switch inside the bedroom for the ceiling light. Other than being weird and dumb, is this location wrong?

Hi Ronald,

building codes (IRC/NEC) require a minimum of one wall switched lighting circuit IN every habitable space.

I would suggest that 3 feet outside of the space did not meet the requirements.




gerry makes a point. However, if the home has a certificate of occupancy, then the appropriate AHJ has determined that the configuration is acceptable, and therefore not a defect.

Note it, without quoting a code requirement. You are not the AHJ. The municipality may allow it.

Hi to all

Joe, there is also a second concideration beyond pure code, and that is a safety one, I don’t believe that having the switch outside of the bedroom provides a safe lighted path, that is the intent of the regulation.



In our area only one town (city) has an AHJ and no one issues a CO. They are not used. Therefore, what we tell most of them for safety purposes becomes even more important. I would and have called it out for being incorrect from a safety standpoint.

You are not constrained by code. Your job is to point out things the buyer will be pissed about later. I say good call.

I would submit that the lighting circuit actually is in the room, only the switch that controls the lighting circuit is outside the room.
I bet the AHJ allows it, but all I have to bet with is a margarita pie.
I also think it is dumb, dumb, dumb from a safety standpoint.
However, perhaps it’s the kid’s room, and when mom says, “Lights out,” she means it–and has full control over it.
Perhaps she learned from her dad, who was in the military when she was young.