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Wiring Rules clause 4.5.2.3 - Recessed luminaires

4.5.2.3 Recessed luminaires

4.5.2.3.1 General requirements

  1. Recessed luminaires and their auxiliary equipment shall be installed in a manner designed to prevent-
    1. excessive temperature rise of the luminaire and auxiliary equipment; and
    2. the risk of fire from ignition of combustible materials.
  2. The requirement in (a) shall be satisfied by one of the following methods:
    1. The installation of a luminaire designed and certified by the manufacturer as being suitable for operation-
      1. in contact with combustible materials; or
      2. in contact with, or enclosed/covered by, thermal insulation material.
    2. The installation of a luminaire in combination with a barrier tested and classified in accordance with AS/NZS 5110 as being suitable for the installation conditions.
    3. The installation of a luminaire with separation from thermal insulating materials, combustible building elements and loose combustible materials not less than-
      1. the minimum clearance specified by the manufacturer of the luminaire, which may require a barrier or guard constructed of fire-resistant materials; or
      2. the default clearances as specified in Figure 4.9, which may require a barrier or guard constructed of fire-resistant materials.

Figure 4.9 Default minimum clearances for recessed luminaires

4.5.2.3.2 Warning sign

Where recessed luminaires are installed in an accessible roof space, a permanent and legible warning sign shall be installed in the roof space adjacent to the access point, in a position that is visible to a person entering the space. The sign shall contain the words shown in Figure 4.10 with a minimum size of lettering of 10 mm.

Exception: Where all recessed luminaires installed in an accessible roof space are of either IC or IC-4 classification the warning sign is not required.

Warning sign to be installed in accessible roof spaces containing recessed luminaires

4.5.2.3.3 Installation

  1. The following requirements shall be undertaken for the installation of recessed luminaires:
    1. Suitably designed and certified recessed luminaires have installation classifications and shall be marked accordingly. The manufacturer’s instructions shall provide all details in regard to restrictions for installation in certain applications.
    2. Unmarked light fittings shall be treated as ‘Do-not-cover’. For these typical fittings, the installation method shall be to provide barriers [see method in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(ii)] or clearances [see method in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(iii)] during installation, so as to prevent contact with materials that may impede airflow (e.g. thermal insulation) or that may be affected by the high temperature (e.g. combustible building elements and insulation).
    3. Where building insulation is already fitted and recessed luminaires are retrofitted, added or altered, precautions shall be taken during the installation of the luminaire so as not to compromise the safety of the installation.
    4. The presence of bulk thermal insulation, particularly over the rear of a ceiling-mounted recessed luminaire, can readily impair cooling air circulation.

      Unless the recessed luminaire manufacturer specifies otherwise [see method in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(i)] or the barrier is classified to permit insulation coverage [see method in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(ii)], the space above the luminaire shall remain clear. This space is shown as dimension HCB in Figure 4.9.
    5. Where clearances are to be applied [see method in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(iii)] and bulk thermal insulation is not fixed in position, one of the following means shall be provided and secured in position to maintain the clearances:
      1. A barrier complying with AS/NZS 5110.
      2. A guard complying with AS 3999.
      3. A barrier or guard constructed of fire-resistant materials.
    6. Unless the auxiliary equipment instructions permit otherwise, any auxiliary equipment operating at a high temperature shall be installed above any insulation as illustrated in Figure 4.9.
    7. If the recessed luminaire is supplied with a detachable barrier, the complete luminaire, including its barrier, shall be installed.
    8. For recessed luminaires with lamps of wattage higher than 100 W, only the methods in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(i) or 4.5.2.3.1(b)(iii), shall be used.
    9. Combustible materials shall be prevented from being in close proximity or contacting hot surfaces of the recessed luminaires.

      This includes structural timber which may be affected by pyrolysis which over a long exposure can result in increased susceptibility to ignition.

      Where extraneous material, such as leaves, vermin debris or combustible materials stored in a roof space, are present in proximity to the recessed luminaire, the precautions shall include the use of a suitably designed and certified recessed luminaire [see method in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(i)] or a barrier [see method in Clause 4.5.2.3.1(b)(ii)].
    10. Bulk thermal insulation may also be retrofitted, added or altered, in which case precautions shall be applied by the insulation installer, where recessed luminaires are present, or the luminaire installer, where insulation is present.
  2. The following precautions should be considered for the installation of recessed luminaires:
    1. The heat generated from lamps should be dissipated in order to prevent overtemperature damage to the luminaire or to adjacent materials. Cooling air circulation through or around the equipment is a requirement for the typical range of recessed luminaires.

      AS/NZS 60598.1, AS/NZS 60598.2 and AS/NZS 5110 detail the test method and the maximum surface temperatures permitted for recessed luminaires or barriers. Those standards permit a maximum temperature of adjacent materials to be no more than 90°C.
    2. Under National Construction Code requirements, bulk thermal insulation is prevalent in modern building construction within roofs, ceilings, walls and floors depending on the type of building and its climate zone.

      AS 3999 (in Australia) and NZS 4246 (in New Zealand) include instructions for insulation installers in relation to clearances from recessed luminaires and other types of electrical equipment that may be adversely affected by lack of cooling air circulation.

4.5.2.3.4 Classifications of recessed luminaires

Recessed luminaires are classified as follows by AS/NZS 60598.2.2:2016, Appendix ZZ:

  1. Non-IC luminaire A recessed luminaire that cannot be abutted against or covered by normally flammable materials or used in installations where building insulation or debris are, or may be, present in normal use.

    Non-IC luminaires shall not be installed in residential installations. Refer to Clause 4.5.2.3.5.

    Non-IC luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2 are marked with the symbol shown in Figure 4.11.
  2. symbol for Non-IC luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2
  3. Do-not-cover luminaire A recessed luminaire that can be used where normally flammable materials, including building insulation, are, or may be, present, but cannot be abutted against any material and cannot be covered in normal use.

    ‘Do-not-cover’ luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2 are marked with the symbol shown in Figure 4.12.
  4. symbol for ‘Do-not-cover’ luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2
  5. CA90 luminaire A recessed luminaire that can be abutted against normally flammable materials, including building insulation, but cannot be covered in normal use. Building elements, building insulation or debris have limited access to the heated parts of the luminaire.

    CA90 luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2 are marked with the symbol shown in Figure 4.13.
  6. symbol for CA90 luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2
  7. (New Zealand-only sub-clause)


  8. IC luminaire A recessed luminaire that can be abutted against normally flammable materials, including building insulation, and can be covered in normal use. Building elements, building insulation or debris have access to the heated parts of the luminaire.

    IC luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2 are marked with the symbol shown in Figure 4.15.
  9. symbol for IC luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2
  10. IC-4 luminaire A recessed luminaire that can be abutted against normally flammable materials, including building insulation, and can be covered in normal use. Building elements, building insulation or debris have restricted access to the heated parts of the luminaire. This classification of recessed luminaire is effectively a sealed unit that has a restricted flow of air between the habitable room the luminaire emits light into and the void/space where the main body of the luminaire is located.

    IC-4 luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2 are marked with the symbol shown in Figure 4.16.
  11. symbol for IC-4 luminaires complying with AS/NZS 60598.2.2

4.5.2.3.5 Requirements for specific classifications

Recessed luminaires of classifications compliant to Appendix ZZ of AS/NZS 60598.2.2 shall be installed as per the following:

  1. In residential installations, Do-not-cover, CA90, IC or IC-4 luminaires shall be installed.
  2. In non-residential installations, Non-IC, Do-not-cover, CA90, IC or IC-4 luminaires shall be installed.

CA135 luminaires shall not be installed in residential or non-residential installations.

NOTE: Table 4.3 provides information and guidance on the classifications, symbols, applications and general restrictions on recessed luminaires.

TABLE 4.3

* GUIDE TO RECESSED LUMINAIRE CLASSIFICATION, APPLICATION AND GENERAL RESTRICTIONS ON USE

TypeAbutted(1)Normal use(2)- covered Use with insulation(3)Accessibility to high temperature parts(4)Surface of luminaire normal operating temperature limitComments
Non-IC No No No Fully accessible No limit on side or top surface of luminaire

Mounting surface of luminaire limited to 90°C
Not for residential use, intended for non-residential use only

Non-IC luminaires are prohibited in residential dwellings or other places where building insulation may be installed(now or in the future)

These luminaires have not been tested to show they are safe for use with building insulation
Do-not- cover No No Yes Fully accessible No limit on side or top surface of luminaire

Mounting surface of luminaire limited to 90°C
Suitable for residential or non- residential use in Australia

Prohibited from installation in residential locations in New Zealand

Cannot be covered

Clearance distances from sides of luminaire to insulation and clearance above luminaire are to be in installation instructions supplied with the luminaire and have to be adhered to for correct installation

These luminaires have been tested to show they are safe for use with building insulation present (observing manufacturer’s stated installation clearance distances)

They are not to be covered in building insulation; however, have been tested to show if inadvertently covered they should not become a fire hazard
CA90 Yes No Yes Limited access

In this Standard, this is assessed for access to high temperature parts by use of a 5.6 mm probe to side and top of luminaire
90°C limit on side or top or mounting surface of luminaire Suitable for residential or non- residential use in Australia and New Zealand

Cannot be covered
Insulation can be placed against the sides of the luminaire

Manufacturer’s clearance above luminaire to be observed for correct installation

These luminaires have been tested to show they are safe for use with building insulation present and placed against the sides of the luminaire

They are not to be covered in building insulation; however, have been tested to show if inadvertently covered they should not become a fire hazard
CA135 Yes No Yes Some access

In this Standard, this is assessed for access to high temperature parts by use of a 50 mm probe to side and top of luminaire
135°C limit on side or top surface of luminaire

Mounting surface of luminaire limited to 90°C
Not permitted for use in Australia

New Zealand only-suitable for residential or non-residential use

Cannot be covered

Insulation can be placed against the sides of the luminaire

Manufacturer’s clearance above luminaire to be observed

Cannot be used where building materials or insulation is not rated for exposure to constant temperatures of 135°C (cannot have such materials that may be placed so as to be touching the sides of the luminaire)

These luminaires have been tested to show they are safe for use with building insulation present and placed against the sides of the luminaire

They are not to be covered in building insulation; however, have been tested to show if inadvertently covered they should not become a fire hazard
IC Yes Yes Yes Limited access

In this Standard, this is assessed for access to high temperature parts by use of a 5.6 mm probe to sides and top of luminaire
90°C limit on side or top or mounting surface of luminaire Suitable for residential or non- residential use in Australia and New Zealand

Used where some air transfer is allowed or desired between living space and roof space (there will be some air transfer between the spaces if the luminaire is not fully covered in insulation)

These luminaires have been tested to show they are safe in normal use when covered in building insulation and abutted to combustible building elements
IC-4 Yes Yes Yes Restricted access

In this Standard, this is assessed for access to high temperature parts by use of a IP4X— 1 mm probe to sides and top and front face of luminaire
90°C limit on side or top or mounting surface of luminaire Suitable for residential or non- residential use in Australia and New Zealand

Used where air transfer is not permitted or not desired between living space and roof space (there will be no air transfer between spaces even if there is no insulation covering the luminaire)

Typical use is passive house design where no air transfer is allowed

These luminaires have been tested to show they are safe in normal use when covered in building insulation and abutted to combustible building elements
No marking No No No No  Not verified as tested/compliant to
Australian/New Zealand Standards

Marking is required by standard-no marking indicates non-compliance

Do not install any luminaire that does not have one of the marking symbols or instructions specifying any clearance distances

NOTES:

1. May be abutted against normally flammable building elements or insulation.

2. Intended and tested to be used under building insulation as part of normal operation.

3. May be used where building insulation may be installed (now or in the future).

4. Classification and probe to determine access of insulation, etc. to high temperature parts.

The above extract of the Wiring Rules (AS/NZS 3000:2018) is reproduced with permission of Standards Australia under copyright licence number 1907-c092.

The Wiring Rules (AS/NZS3000:2007) as well as other Standards and technical information can be purchased from SAI Global.

Last updated
14 November 2019

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