Can I fit a socket in a bathroom?
A commonly asked question is if sockets can be installed in a bathroom or not, sockets can be installed within a bathroom or a room containing a bath or shower but only if certain conditions are satisfied, this post looks at the requirements and regulations relating to sockets in bathrooms.
BS 7671 wiring regulations and the on-site guide clearly layout the minimum requirements for sockets-outlets within a bathroom and minimum distances from a shower or bath, the reason for these regulations is because there is an increased risk of electric shock within a bathroom due to the presence of water.
For the purpose of this post were we refer to a bathroom, this also includes shower rooms and other rooms which contain a bath or shower excluding wet rooms, for wet rooms see BS 7671.
At the time of writing this post the current edition of the wiring regulations is the 18th Edition 2018 +A1:2020, we do make a note of the possible changes in Amd 2 relating to socket distances from a bath or shower which is due to come in to force on march 30th 2022.
BS 7671 Sockets in Bathrooms
BS 7671 states socket-outlets are prohibited within a distance of 3 meters horizontally from the boundary of zone 1, further information can be found in Section 701 – Locations Containing a Bath or Shower.
Section 512.2 External Influences should also be taken into consideration which mentions, equipment shall be of a design appropriate to the situation in which it is to be used or its mode of installation shall take into account of the conditions likely to be encountered.
It is worth noting that suitable RCD protection is also required for all plug sockets whether the socket is installed in a bathroom or not.
What do the NICEIC recommend for sockets in a bath or shower room
Electrical sockets are permitted in bathrooms or shower rooms as long as they are located more than 3m from the edge of the bath or shower. Specially designed shaver units are an exception to this rule and can be located slightly nearer, but still no closer than 600mm from the bath or shower.
Electrical Safety First – Bathroom Safety & Electricals
electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk Safety in the Bathroom
The charity Electrical Safety First have a wealth of information on electrical safety in the bathroom for home owners and electricians. They say,
Sockets are not allowed in bathrooms or shower rooms (apart from shaver-supply units) unless they can be fitted at least three metres from the bath or shower. Electrical shaver points must be a safe distance (in meters) from the bath or shower to avoid splashes.
Part P, Electrical Safety – Dwellings
Approved Document P of the building regulations, Requirement P1: Design and Installation states,
Socket-outlets should not be located within 3m of a bath tub or shower tray.
Shaver supply units can be installed within Zone 2 of a bathroom but it must be located where direct spray from showers is unlikely and the shaver socket must comply with BS EN 61558-2-5.
Shaver supply units (shaver sockets) must not be installed within Zone 1 or Zone 0, see regulation 701.512.3.
EICR Socket Next to Bath
If during an electrical inspection you find a socket close to a shower tray or bath tub or within a bathroom zone it would generally be coded as a C2 potentially dangerous.
How far must a socket be from a bath or shower
Sockets must be at least 3 meters horizontally away from the edge of the bath or shower. Socket-outlets or plug sockets must not be installed in a bathroom Zone 0, Zone 1 or Zone 2 of a bathroom or shower room under any circumstances.
All socket outlets must be RCD protected and installed at a distance of at least 3 meters horizontally away from the edge of the bath or shower tray.
Depending on the specific circumstances local supplementary earth bonding may also be required, other specific rules and regulations may also apply.
At the time of writing the current edition of BS 7671 is the 18th Edition 2018 Amendment 1 2020.
For switched spurs in bathrooms see Switched Spurs in a Bathroom
Sockets in Bathrooms BS 7671 Amendment 2 2022
BS 7671 18th Edition Amendment 2 2022 (draft for public comment) made a mention of reducing the 3 meter rule down to 2.5 meters as the minimum distance of a socket from a bath or shower tray.
When the amendment is published it will be worth checking to see if it made it in to the final publication due for release end of March 2022.
It is worth remembering that BS 7671 is the minimum requirement, it would be considered good practice to achieve above the minimum requirement. A minimum requirement could be interpreted as the lowest acceptable standard – If an aircraft was constructed to the lowest acceptable standard, would you get on it?
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