What are Bathroom Lighting Zones?
There are three bathroom lighting zones highlighted in ‘BS 7671 Requirements for Electrical Installations’: Zone 0, Zone 1, and Zone 2. The purpose of each zone is to establish definitive safety ratings (referencing the IP rating system) that must be observed regarding electrical installations (e.g. lights, power sockets).
What is an IP Rating?
In order to fully understand bathroom lighting zones and lighting regulations, we must first understand the IP rating system. IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are given as two single digits (e.g. IP 67), where the first number is used to classify an electrical enclosure’s resistance against intrusion from solid foreign bodies, and the second number denotes water resistance.
First Number (protection level against solid foreign bodies):
|1||Objects larger than 50mm||Offers protection against contact with body parts such as the palm of the hand or the feet|
|2||Objects larger than 12.5mm||Offers protection against body parts such as fingers or similar sized objects/tools|
|3||Objects larger than 2.5mm||Offers protection against average sized tools and other slimline objects such as wires|
|4||Objects larger than 1mm||Offers protection against most wires, slim screws/nails, and most insects|
|5||Dust||Some dust ingress is possible without risking component failure|
|6||Dust Tight||Tight The electrical component is vacuum sealed (complete protection against dust)|
Second Number (protection level against water):
|Level||Protection is Offered Against:|
|2||Dripping water (angled electrical installation)|
|5 & 6||Water Jets (varying power)|
|7||Up to 1m depth|
|8||More than 1m depth|
|9||Water jets (high power/temp’)|
Bathroom Lighting Zones Explained
With the exception of Zone 0 (which describes the area inside the bathtub and the shower tray), all other zones are defined by distance from a water source (i.e. bath/shower/sink). The perimeter of each zone takes into account both the likelihood of contact with water and the likelihood of physical contact with people or objects.
Bathroom lighting zones:
Zone 0 specifically covers the shower tray and the area inside of the bathtub. Zone 0 is therefore considered the area most likely to be submerged and to experience frequent contact with solid objects of all sizes (e.g. dust, fingers, tools, etc.). Bathroom lighting installed within Zone 0 must be rated as at least IPX7 (the X denotes that resistance to all forms of physical contact is a given, as the ‘7’ rating indicates submersion up to 1m - all bathroom lighting suitable for Zone 0 is typically rated as IP67).
Zone 1 covers any walled areas directly above the sink/bath/shower tray to a height of 2.25m from the bathroom floor. These areas require any installed bathroom lighting to possess adequate resistance against ingress from physical objects and water spray/splashing. Bathroom lighting installed in Zone 1 must be rated as at least IP44 - this rating denotes protection against solid objects larger than 1mm and splash resistance.
Zone 2 can be seen as a 0.6m extension to any areas considered to be Zone 1. This means that the area in question is less likely to experience contact with physical objects and water but is still at some risk. Zone 2 also covers a 0.6m radius around any wash-basin faucets. Bathroom lighting installed in Zone 2 must be rated as at least IPX4 (the X denotes that resistance to any form of physical contact is not a priority, whereas the ‘4’ indicates splash resistance is required).
Outside of the zones
Beyond the boundary of Zone 2, mains sockets become the most likely type of electrical installation. However, installations such as mains sockets are not immediately permitted beyond the perimeter of zone 2. A safe distance of three metres from the boundary of Zone 1 must be observed. This distance effectively rules out the option of installing mains sockets in most bathrooms.