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Installing downlights in bathrooms/kitchens

Hi - can someone please clarify for me the "regulations" about putting downlighters in kitchens and bathrooms because I am totally confused getting conflicting information that there is some kind of "special" more highly rated downlighter which we should now be using ! I am sure we have nothing "extra ordinary" in both our kitchen and bathroom but as I want to instal new downlighters in my mother's property in Kent I would appreciate the definitive view ! Also do I need a "registered electrician" to do this work now or is it still a DIY job ? There are currently no downlighters in my mother's house so I guess it would need new wiring - hence I may need a qualified electrician perhaps ? Very grateful for any info you can pass on. I don't want to fall foul of any legislation or regulations as the property is going to be rented out. Thank you.

6 Answers from MyBuilder Electricians

Best Answer

All Electrical work in Kitchens and Bathrooms involving altering or installing new circuits is notifiable work Part 'P' use a registered electrician
All recessed lights have to be fire rated.

If over a bath or shower most people have IP rated lights but if your ceiling is 8ft 2400mm or higher this will be above the height of all zones
Zone one is the area below 2250mm app 7ft 5" so you CAN fit ordinary fire rated recessed lights and comply with the latest BS7671 Regulations.
(check it out all you sparkys it is in the regs)
Hope this helps you out.
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Answered 14th Sep 2011

Hi i'm Chris the answer to your question is as follows. Kitchen lighting need not be of any particular type regarding issses with water, however all downlighters wherever they are fitted no matter what room, must be fire rated or else have a fire hood fitted above. Bathroom lights need to be specified as safe for use in that (zone). Zone (0) the bath itself. Zone 1 is classified as if the person is standing in a shower or bath and reaches as far as possible in all directions, if they can touch any electrical equipment in this position then zone 1 applies and requires special, fully enclosed, IP rated fittings. Lighting above showers and baths are genarally accepted to being in zone 1.
Anyone working on electrical apparatus in kitchens/bathrooms or outside must make sure that the earthing/bonding is adequate and install a 30ma rcd to the affected ciucuits if not already done so. The rcd must be tested with special equipment and notify the local authority which means that a Qualified electrician will need to test this work.


Answered 13th Sep 2011

Both bathrooms and kitchens are classed in BS7671 (our wiring regulations) as being 'Special Locations'. That said work carried out falls outside what a non qualified person can do without Local Authority Building Control notification. There are two ways to do this - you can carry out the work yourself, notify your local building control before you start the job and once the job is completed, and they will issue a certificate for you. The other way is to use a Part P registered electrician who can self certify.

If you're installing downlights in a ground floor kitchen you will need ones which have a suitable fire rating, if you're installing downlights in an upstairs bathroom then you will need ones which have a suitable IP rating, and installing downlights in a ground floor bathroom requires downlights which are both suitably fire and IP rated.


Answered 13th Sep 2011

Your question has an obvious answer - you need an electrician.
Not being rude, just being blunt -
It take £1000 worth of testing gear to check your installation is correct, just because it works doesn't mean it's safe.
While you may be confident in changing a light switch or socket faceplate you are taking a bigger risk than you may be aware of.
You only die once - for a £50 set of downlighters - i don't think so.
You will need a certificate for renting the property anyway, so kill 2 birds (no pun intended) with one stone - get a QUALIFIED electrician in, get your nice shiny lights installed to regs and a certificate all in one go.
Sleep easy at night knowing you are safe!
Holbex Design Ltd
( Not an electrician, but know one i trust my life with! )


Answered 20th Sep 2011

In general terms there are two issues to think about when installing downlights. Firstly, the ceiling is part of the fire protection in a house, so when you breech it will a hole for the downlights it's important to consider whether 'fire-rated' downlights are needed - if there's accommodation above, for example. Also, if there is insulation the space above the ceiling it'll be necessary for the downlight to be protected from this, otherwise it will overheat and could cause a fire. Many fire-rated downlights include this protection, but if you are not required to fit a fire-rated downlight and there is insulation a separate fire hood may be required for each.

The bathroom is classed as a special location - because of higher risk of shock when bare skin, water and electricity may come together. Two additional things to consider - the requirement for an RCD protecting the circuit(s) into bathroom, and IP rating for light fittings to protect against moisture.

As this sounds like a new circuit - or an extension to existing - it is highly recommended you get a qualified electrician in.


Answered 13th Sep 2011

Hi there, as you are fitting in a kitchen it comes under special location in bs 7671. So yes a registered electrician must complete the work.
Also they must be fire rated too.

We are based in Kent so I don't mind popping down to give some better advice if needed.

Hope this helps
SJN Electrical Ltd


Answered 13th Sep 2011

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