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Hi Guys

Here is a bit of a conundrum that we are constantly having battles with during new domestic builds with various clients. The query is the siting of fan isolators and shower isolators for mechanical maintenance.

Our local NIC/EIC engineer and we agree, that fan isolators and shower isolators should be placed on the inside of the bathroom (in the correct zones obviously) so that it is under the control of the person who may carry out maintenance on a fan or shower unit in the future. The argument being that if the isolator is fitted on the outside it is not under your control, especially if the bathroom door gets closed, and anyone else in the house at the time could potentially turn the switch on without you knowing about it. I know you can get lockable isolators but are not very nice in a domestic environment.

All we can not find in any of our referance books is 'under the control for maintenance'. Does this mean the isolator should be in line of sight? Can anyone clarify this?

To make things worse I called NIC/EIC technical. They said all should be placed on the outside no matter what. I challenged this refering to 'under control'. The less than helpful guy then said just padlock off the consumer unit and place a sign saying electrician working. Also I could lock the front door to prevent people entering the house and be safe this way. Great answers! When I persisted and finally told him what our area engineer says he could see both sides of the argument and said don't know then mate. It is open to deabte.

We have a couple of customers who want isolators on the outside because it is their preferance and they are paying etc.

What do you all think?
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hello smoking muzzle, welcome to the website,

Personally, I'd put the isolator on the outside on the bathroom. And a nice looking one too, couldn't be doing with one which looks like a commercial building. If you think there would be a problem with it being turned on during maintence and maybe turned on. I think the electrician would do what he thinks best, maybe putting a bit of elecy tape on the switch. But to be honest with your question people have different opinions with different things and do different methods. So I don't think you'll get a solid answer. See what others come up with. I don't see the problem of putting the isolator switch inside the bathroom in the correct zones either.


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  • #3
For isolation for maintenance you'd think the isolator should be close to the equipment to be isolated like a cooker sw,

just looked at the site guide

pg 35, 5.3 (ii) be suitably located in a readily accessible position 462-01-02

'nuff said I think, you're right.................still they are payin' an its their bathroom:)


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  • #5
Lock out devices are a wonderful invention...

They are the answer..

You do all have and use them ??


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  • #6
i suppose, if the bathroom is upstairs or a bungalow you could have the switch next to the fan in loft space?
if not, then i would place a lockable isolator outside the bathroom.

Did the NIC/EIC explain why you could not have an isolator in the bathroom?

maybe you could have it high level with a notice on the switch 'electrical isolator for maintenance purpose '???


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  • #7
As always common sense rules the waves. Putting the isolator where you think it is safe for any one to work on it but still satisfies (In your opinion) the regulations is the best option. The rgulations like so many things is open to interpretation. That is what you need to do. If it is not clear to you then it is not clear to all. Go with what you feel is right and you probably wont go far wrong. Common sense


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  • #8
Hi, regarding the position it open to debate but what about disability access. Is a fan isolator switch ok to site at ceiling level (as most are between the door frame and ceiling ).
or should it be lower so disabled persons can switch it off in case of a panic attack ?
phil333, I think you cants have a "switch" isolator inside a bathroom full stop. It has to be on the outside. and mecanlandy regards to the disability access. In my opinion the isolator is for a skilled person "electrician" and to be honest with you, you don't really come across a physically impaired persons whos in a wheel chair whos an skilled electrician. So having your isolater high up in the air is ok. (i think, if any one can correct me, please do)


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  • #10
There is no problem installing the isolator switch for the bathroom fan in Zone 3 of the bathroom,even on the ceiling,if you wish.
Since most new build ceilings are 2.4m (to allow for plasterboard length),then installing above 2.25m and in zone 3 then all should be fine.
Maybe NIC guy need to get his tape measure calibrated!! hehe.
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