New Recessed Downlight Standard

Posted by Benjamin

Recessed Downlights Insitu

On the 1st of May 2012, NZ saw a wealth of changes to the wiring rules in particular for the new standards of recessed downlights AS/NZS 60598.2.2

There are 5 new classifications that override the current classifications. The good news is this only improves the safety of the products we have available as the standards take into account insulation AND the light fixtures.

As of May 10 downlights that do not bear one of these new classifications cannot be installed anywhere near insulation, therefore they will become downlights we cannot use for residential purposes.

Downlight with Insulation

Many of these new downlights have a thermal cut out, if you load the incorrect lamp into the light it will turn off, further prohibiting fire risk in your home.

There is still some debate over whether covering downlights is the right thing to do, In lower quality fittings lamp life will be reduced as the lamps are run to hard.

After looking at the writeup below feel free to talk to us if you have any concerns and remember, recessing you lighting is not always the only option as I discussed in an earlier article.

There are two main sets of classification CA80 or CA135 which can have insulation abutted to the sides (wrapping around the downlight) or IC and IC-F which can have insulation covering over the top of the downlight.

CA80 Symbol CA135 Symbol

Fittings with a CA80 or CA135 rating may have insulation abutted to the sides of the fixture, this will commonly be a halogen, incandescent or fluorescent fixtures.

Eclipse Downlight Luna Halogen Downlight Solaris Downlight

IC Symbol

Recessed Luminaires that have the IC rating can have insulation abutted to and/or covering them. Most of these downlights are LED but there are a few fluorescent downlights with this rating.

Tessell Square LED Downlight Aster Tilt LED Downlight R633 Fluorescent Downlight

IC Symbol

Recessed Luminaires that have the IC-F rating can have insulation abutted to and/or covering them. These downlights are also sealed to make them more fire resistant. This also means they are great for wet areas, like bathrooms.

Aqua Square LED Downlight D-Light Fixed LED Downlight E-light LED Downlight

non-IC Symbol

Downlights that have the Non-IC rating cannot be installed near insulation so they cannot be used in residential applications. Any luminaire that is unmarked is considered to be Non-IC.


It is important to note that most Drivers and Transformers must be mounted on top of the insulation. If you are intending to cover your downlights your Electrician and Builder will need to be involved to ensure they can find a solution for this. Feel free to ask for installation instructions on these downlights, they are mandatory and they may save a lot of headaches.

Downlight manufacturers are now requiring that the insulation that can abut to or cover their lights comply to a zero ignitability standard. Before using recessed lights please ensure your builder and/or insulater are aware that this is a requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am looking to replace my old downlights, do I need to use these fittings?

A. You do have the ability to do 'like for like' replacement on any fitting that was already in place on 10 November 2011 providing it does not result in an unsafe installation. You cannot cover the older styled downlights and it is important to note that older downlights, while cheaper, are not as safe.

Q. Can I get a coverable halogen downlight?

A. We have seen some models, but with the higher price you would be better to look at LED. One alternative is a plasterbox downlight, these are trimless downlights that create a sealed plaster cavity in your ceiling for the light. Please call us if you need more details on plasterbox downlights.

Q. Can I mount a coverable (IC or IC-F) Downlight directly up to timber?

A. While LED Downlights run much cooler than halogen many still have minimum clearances to timber or other combustible elements which means they cannot be mounted up to timer or building elements. Check the specifications for detail of the clearance you need between a fixture and combustible elements.

Q. If I select an IC or IC-F downlight can I install the driver under the insulation?

A. Most drivers cannot be used underneath insulation so in most cases the fitting will specify the driver to go on top of the insulation. In some cases a customer will need a higher quality driver that can be mounted underneath the insulation, this is possible with our D-Light or E-Light downlights.