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Low hanging light fixture

Discussion in 'Residential Building Codes' started by Thatguy, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Thatguy

    Thatguy Registered User

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    Is there a residential building code in New Mexico that requires a certain height that a light fixture, that is hanging from a ceiling, must be above ground level, in a kitchen?

    To clarify, lets say a light fixture is mounted to the ceiling and it's hanging so low that you bump your head into it. I want to know if there is a code that will prevent heads from impacting the light fixture by setting a maximum distance between the bottom edge of the light fixture and the floor underneath it.

    If so, can you please point me to the code in question?
     
  2. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    NM uses 2015 IRC & IBC & 2017 NEC. I would try to keep 6'6'' which is what the code requires for work space clearance (IRC E3405.2). In IRC E3404.10 Requires Protection from damage.

    Not sure what the NEC has on this but someone will let us know.
     
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  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    welcome

    Do you want to restate your question as to why you are asking it.?

    I have seen in mainly the dining room area, low hanging lights, with the idea a table would be under them and people not walk into them.


    Not sure in a resident if there is a lower limit?? Now if you are talking apartments, maybe so, since a little more regulated.
     
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  4. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Kind of.....I know we removed the "normal projections" from our IRC, not sure if that was an IRC move or not.....Yep....left it twice for the basement but eliminated anything else below 7 feet including doors if you want to be really harsh....Bad code....

    R305.1 Minimum height. Habitable space, hallways and
    portions of basements containing these spaces shall have a
    ceiling height of not less than 7 feet
    (2134 mm). Bathrooms,
    toilet rooms and laundry rooms shall have a ceiling height of
    not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
    Exceptions:
    1. For rooms with sloped ceilings, the required floor
    area of the room shall have a ceiling height of not
    less than 5 feet (1524 mm) and not less than 50 percent
    of the required floor area shall have a ceiling
    height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).
    2. The ceiling height above bathroom and toilet room
    fixtures shall be such that the fixture is capable of
    being used for its intended purpose. A shower or tub
    equipped with a showerhead shall have a ceiling
    height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm)
    above an area of not less than 30 inches (762 mm)
    by 30 inches (762 mm) at the showerhead.
    3. Beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions in basements
    containing habitable space shall be permitted
    to project to within 6 feet 4 inches (
    1931 mm) of the
    finished floor.
    R305.1.1 Basements. Portions of basements that do not
    contain habitable space or hallways shall have a ceiling
    height of not less than 6 feet 8 inches (2032 mm).
    Exception: At beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions,
    the ceiling height shall be not less than 6 feet 4

    inches (1931 mm) from the finished floor.
     
  5. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    Nothing in the code specifies a minimum height for luminaires. You can have them nice and low such as a sconce over a counter or a light hanging low over a pool table. The most common low fixture is a dining room table. I've seen some loose ones that I bumped into during final inspection. When the dining room table in in place it is a non issue. You can put them as low as you want to. If you keep running into it then that is your problem to deal with. Code is silent and the post above this one has nothing to do with luminaires and everything to do with ceilings.
     
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  6. Thatguy

    Thatguy Registered User

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    Thank you for the replies.

    jar546 - that's not the answer I was hoping for, but you answered my question. Much obliged.
     
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  7. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Well....that depends on how your code reads....

    R305.1 Minimum height. Habitable rooms, hallways, corridors, bath rooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and basements shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet. The required height shall be measured from the finished floor to the lowest projection from the ceiling.

    Jeff, would you agree that a light fixture is or could be a projection from a ceiling? And that a ceiling could not possibly be a projection from a ceiling?
     
  8. Inspector Gift

    Inspector Gift Sawhorse - Made in USA

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    Steveray, I would say. NO. Since the word "projection" is taken from the building code, and it is a structural term.
     
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  9. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Soooooo......this is only talking about structure......? Not drinking fountains and counters and electrical panels and wall sconces? "From the building code"?
    1003.3.3 Horizontal projections. Objects with leading
    edges more than 27 inches (685 mm) and not more than 80
    inches (2030 mm) above the floor shall not project horizontally
    more than 4 inches (102 mm) into the circulation
    path.
     
  10. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I absolutely do not agree. A light fixture is a light fixture it’s not part of the ceiling. The ceiling is a ceiling. If you were to go in every single home above the dining room table, you would certainly find out that the lighting fixtures are hanging down very low. Low by design, same thing with a lot of pendant fixtures above counters. I think it is an absolute stretch to try to enforce or imply that a lighting fixture was the same as the ceiling. Besides, we are talking about residential dwelling units here so no reason to bring commercial stuff into this.
     
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  11. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    Commercial, not residential dwellings
     
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  12. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    IG brought up the building code for reference to the definition of "projection", so I was running with that...
     
  13. steveray

    steveray Sawhorse

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    Correct....It is not part of the ceiling, it is a projection "from" the ceiling, not "of" the ceiling.....Just depends on exactly how the code reads in the AHJ, this ICC section has changed slightly and significantly and they took out some of the "normal" projection kind of things in the house, but left them in for basements, which makes no sense to me, but hey, I don't write it...
     
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  14. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    It may be poorly written code, but even at that it's a big giant leap of a stretch to ever call a light fixture in a house a projection. Even in those low basements, light fixtures don't/shouldn't count against your 6'8". If you call a guy out on this as a violation, you deserve everything he gives you when he's waiting beside your truck after your shift...
     
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  15. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    "again" with semantics vs "intent"; just what is the "intent"? not to hit your head on a "fixed" element.
    Is the fixture (element) fixed (as in attached) or hung from a chain?
     
  16. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    [​IMG]
    I find that bubble wrap sometimes helps when hitting your head on a low hanging light fixture.
     
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