"Remodel" fixtures used in new construction? (8-10-2K)

Can Fixture Listed for Remodel be Installed?

Dear Mike, recently I had an electrical inspector interpret NEC Section 110-3(b) to mean that equipment with a UL listing for "old work" cannot be used in "new" construction. The job was a remodel of an existing store where the ceiling was dropped 5 inches. The engineer specified a recessed can that requires only 4 inches, however it is listed and labeled "remodel". The inspector said that because the drywall ceiling was new, we had to use equipment listed for new construction. The difference being that the fixture listed for new construction mounts to the ceiling-framing members, while the remodel fixture fastens to the drywall. I find this to be an interesting interpretation that I have never run into before. Would you please give me your opinion?

UL Response:

A number of recessed luminaire manufacturers provide “remodel-housing” versions of their products. The “remodel” term is the manufacturer’s way of designating that the housing can be installed from below the ceiling. The remodel version is used to minimize the amount of refinishing necessary to complete the installation. The concept of such luminaries is the same as for the use and installation of an “old work” box. The opening to install the box, or in this case, luminaire, is cut into the finished surface and the device is installed through this opening.

This does not mean that a “new construction” luminaire (or “new construction” box) cannot be used for a remodeling installation. “New construction” versions of these products can be used. The refinishing of the ceiling will be more involved than with the use of the remodel version of the product since the hole in the finished surface will in all likelihood need to be much larger to accommodate the mounting means.

Relative to Underwriters Laboratories, the requirements for “remodel-housing” and non-“remodel-housing” luminaries are the same. They are both mounted as intended when evaluated for UL Listing. Thus, from UL’s evaluation of the luminaire itself, a “remodel-housing” could be used in new construction. As the remodel housing luminaire is fastened to the ceiling itself instead of the ceiling-framing members, the luminaire may be somewhat cumbersome to work with if it is wired prior to installation of the finish ceiling.

Mr. Walter Daus
Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
Phone: 847-272-8800, ext. 43588

Mike’s Comment:

Thanks Walter for clearing this up.

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