Bathroom light switch - theory v. practice?

Being in the process of re-fitting my bathroom, and having researched the new regs. etc, I came to the conclusion it's perfectly legal to have a normal wall light switch next to the door, because it's in zone 3.
But any electrician I speak to still says "can't have a wall switch in the bathroom, got to be a pull-cord". In a suppliers today I got the same answer, and the guy got out the official BS book (BS = British Standard :). We both read through it, and he agreed it doesn't in fact say you can't have a wall switch in zone 3. It only specifies pull-cord for zones 1 & 2. He then said he still wouldn't do it anyway, and that any electrician asked to inspect wouldn't accept a wall switch.
So it seems there's the theory of the new rules making zone 3 less restrictive, but the continuing practice of applying the old rules. Seeing as I'm going to have to get this inspected I've decided to stick with pull cords :(
(It's cords plural because I'm putting in two sets of lights, and a 2-gang wall switch would be ideal, but having two pull cords is going to look messy. For various reasons I don't want to put the switches outside.)
Ho-hum, another good idea down the pan :-/
Anyone else run into this kind of thing?
Rick
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Rick Jones wrote:

Then put one in if that's what you want.
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adder1969 wrote:

I agree any electrician will have to pass it. But I (like them) would have to say it's a bad idea. The point is that you can get out of the bath and move into zone 3 whilst still being wet and then touch your wall switch with a wet hand. If the switch is outside the room it's more likely that you dry yourself before messing with the switch.
As regards the rules, you can have an ordinary socket in a bathroom if it's in zone 3. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
Fash
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On 13 Nov 2006 05:11:30 -0800 someone who may be "Fash"

You must have a different set of rules to the ones I have in my library.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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Fash wrote:

But getting into an argument about it could still be problematic! And TOH refuses to risk any fuss of that kind (despite being the one who most objected to the pull-cords in the first place ;-).

Fair point, though I was trying to trade off convenience with reasonable safety. Given the rules are pretty draconian in other respects (earth bonding etc), I assume that people who've analysed the safety issues must have concluded it's not a serious risk.

IIRC there's a bit more to it. Sockets are a special case, they have to be far enough away that an appliance with a "normal" length of flex (2m?) can't reach zone 2 when plugged in.
Rick
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No you can't.
Christian.
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I'm not sure it makes any difference. The reason which would force you to switch the lights when wet - and walk the appropriate distance to do so - would be little affected if the switch was just outside the door.
--
*Someday, we'll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 13 Nov 2006 04:45:10 -0800 someone who may be "Rick Jones"

Not quite. Under the "old rules" it was perfectly acceptable to have an "ordinary" switch inside a room containing a (fixed) bath or shower, provided it was normally out of reach of someone using the bath or shower.
The reason for this is fairly obvious. Someone standing in a metal bath or shower tray with wet feet provides an easy path to earth. When they have dried themselves and are standing on the floor they are a rather less easy path to earth.
I can think of any number of bathrooms which have "ordinary" switches in them. That includes my own, which has a 20A DP switch, with neon, beside the infra-red (an old term I know) heater, which is useful occasionally in spring and autumn when the heating is not on. However, it is not possible to reach the switch, or heater, when using the bath or shower, even if standing on the edge of the bath. In actuality the heater is either switched by the switched FCU, with neon, outside or the pull cord on the heater itself.
More of a danger is the towel rail, heated by electricity or the central heating, which is in easy reach of someone using the bath or shower. Indeed I always stand in the bath or shower and reach for the towel rail in order to dry myself. However, this towel rail is solidly bonded to the bath and shower, plus there is no switch which can be operated by someone in the bath or shower.
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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On Mon, 13 Nov 2006 04:45:10 -0800, Rick Jones wrote:

AIUI the fitting in a bathroom have to be suitable for the environment. The possibility of condensation on the fitting even in Zone 3 means that an ordinary internal light switch to IP22 is not (IMHO) suitable for use in the bathroom.
Most bathroom fittings should be IPX4, IPX5 in zone 1 and IPX7 in zone 0.
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Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
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Yes, it is acceptable. Just do it. I hate tangle cords.
The chances of getting a fatal shock using a standard plate switch whilst in Zone 3 are miniscule. It would be very unlikely to get one from a switch in the first place. When you are in Zone 3, you aren't actually standing in a shower or bath, so can fall away neatly and are unlikely to be as well earthed.
Christian.
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Rick Jones wrote:

I can't find a link right now, but when I was looking into possibilities for my bathroom. I came across battery powered switches, radio linked to a controller above the ceiling. It would therefore have been possible to have what looks like a normal switch, without any mains voltage present.
Chris
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Chris J Dixon Nottingham UK
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In uk.d-i-y, Chris J Dixon wrote:

Here's one possibility:
http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Security_Menu_Index/EasySwitch/index.html
It *is* a normal switch, but with the battery-operated transmitter connected to it instead of mains cables.
--
Mike Barnes

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But why bother?
It wasn't accidental that the new regulations allow normal switches in this location. It is because they examined the situation and decided that it was safe enough.
Christian.
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On Wed, 15 Nov 2006 09:28:58 -0000 someone who may be "Christian

Out of interest, did the Wiring Regulations ever prohibit the use of normal switches, provided they were out of reach of someone using a bath or shower? My guide to the 15th edition doesn't mention such a restriction, was it in the 14th or earlier versions?
--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
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In uk.d-i-y, Christian McArdle wrote:

See the original posting...
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Mike Barnes

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I did. I'd just argue the toss with the inspector.
Christian.
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