Q Recently I had an electrical inspector interpret NEC Article 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 in. The engineer specified a recessed can that requires only 4 in., however, it's listed and labeled "remodel." The inspector said 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. This is an interesting interpretation that I have never run into before. What do you think?

A Certainly all the instructions included in the listing and labeling of a fixture must be followed. That is the requirement found in Section 110-3(b). However, I do not believe that the so-called "remodel can" is "listed" as a remodel can. UL does not mention the remodel marking in their directory or in the fixture-marking guide.The IC or TC rating, the lamp types, the suitable trims, the clearance from combustibles and similar restrictions found on the label are part of the listing and labeling.The fixtures I have seen have the same label in the "remodel" versions as in the ordinary versions.

The only reference to remodeling is in the catalog number and on the carton. Thus, I would conclude that the "remodel" intention is not part of the listing. I would consider the remodel marking to be a description of the intended mounting method. I would not consider the fixture to be restricted to old work any more than I would consider a fixture that comes with nails to be restricted to wood construction. The nails can be removed and replaced with screws without violating the listing of the fixture. Similarly, an enclosure that is identified for use outdoors is not necessarily restricted to use outdoors, and may well be suitable for indoor use as well.

The inspector may legitimately conclude that mounting from drywall is not as secure as mounting from the structure, but that does not make mounting from drywall a Code violation, even where other mounting methods are possible. Note that Article 410 does not require fixtures to be attached directly to the structure or the framing. Section 410-15 only requires that fixtures be "securely supported." If a remodel fixture can be securely supported by the drywall in old work, the same may be said for new work. For example, "old work" boxes are routinely used for installations in de-mountable walls in new work, and the rules relaxing the support requirements for "fished" wiring do not prohibit such installations in new work.