I just moved into a new house in Ontario, Canada. I noticed that in
my stairwell from the main floor to the basement there is no light.
The only light is at the bottom of the stairwell about 1 foot from the
first step. I talked to my builder and he says by code that's all
that's required. The stairwell is very dark even with that light and
that fact that its a 90 degree stairwell means that the top portion is
almost totally dark even with the light on at the bottom.
Can someone clarify that the code states that no light is required in
the stairwell ?
Look at surface wiring one to the existing light. Wiremold makes strips
that blend in very well. An electrician can fish the wires, but it will
cost more than the $65 just to get him to walk through the door.
Your building inspector will confirm the code. My guess is that the builder
is not only right, but a cheap SOB too or he would have put one where it
makes sense, not just meets code.
I happen to have a copy of the 2006 CEC (note that the Ontario code
which takes precedence may be different)
Luminaires in buildings of residential occupancy
Rule 30-504 Stairways
(1) Every stairway shall be lighted
(2) Except as provided in Subrule (3), 3-way wall switches located at
the head and foot of every stairway shall be provided to control at
least one luminare for stairways with four or more risers in dwelling
(3) The stairway lighting for basements that do not contain finished
space nor lead to an outside entrance or built-in garage, and that
serve not more than one dwelling unit, is permitted to be controlled
by a single switch located at the head of the stairs.
Subrule (1) seems to me to be open to a great deal of interpretation.
You'd think it would read something like "lighted in its entirety".
Also ask yourself: looking at the floor-to-ceiling height of the
landing, is a light located there likely to get broken when you move
large furniture up or down the stairs?
It probably did meet code when it was built, and usually that's all
that's needed to pass any sort of inspection. If it's anything like
the unlit staircase at my house, I'd have to install a recessed unit or
else I'd risk damaging it.
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