We had a UK member (the one whose posts you’ve noticed missing under “right to be forgotten”) who had posted that under UK safety codes, English homes are required to have one hardwired switch in each room for each light fitting, with additional requirements for WCs.
In the US, in most jurisdictions it’s fine to have fully automated lighting systems in all rooms except the attic, so a hardwired switch is not usually required.
I don’t know if that’s still true or applies everywhere, but it would probably be a good idea to check your local regulations.
Also, those are Aurora model numbers for the down lights, correct? If so, those are Zigbee.
Regardless of the brand of hub you use, I personally wouldn’t use a setup where there’s no switch that could control the lights UNLESS the hub were functioning, and even more so if it also required the Internet and the hub’s cloud.
All of which is to say:
most hardwired dumb switches (but not all) can control dumb lamps just like any dumb switch would. This is the safest choice.
most hardwired smart switches and battery powered switches that can control smart bulbs do so by NOT controlling the current to the bulb, but just sending a direct radio message. If the switch and the smart bulb use the same protocol, such as Zigbee and Zigbee or zwave and Zwave you may (depending on model) be able to set it up so that these can speak directly to each other even if the hub is off power. This works quite well and I personally like it for a lot of use cases, but I don’t know if it meets UK code requirements.
In my own home I most often do this with a smart switch which is in addition to the existing dumb switch, sometime as a box cover.
Samotech makes a nice line of these, but there are now many brands.
if the smart switch and smart bulb use different protocols, such as in your example (Zigbee downlight, zwave switch or relay) then the setup will only work if the hub is fully functional. And in the case of some setups will also require the Internet and the hub company’s cloud. If that’s the only switch that controls the lights it would make me quite nervous.
I’d be fine if the original dumb switch were still in place, perhaps covered with a removeable wood or plastic cover, I just like to know there’s some emergency option if needed.
A quick bit of research on forums seems to be that there is no UK regulation that there must be a hardwired switch.
My thinking was to cover where the light switch would go with the Aeotec Wallmote (with dimmer module inside). However, the reliability of smart lighting being questionable, I take on board your thoughts about having a hardwired option.
I contacted Retrotouch who say there switches work with Fibaro on their website, who said that it would work with any module.
So I have refined my setup to be:
Downlight: Aurora EN-DLM981X + EN-BZ91MW
Dimmable bulbs: Aurora EN-DGU005
Aeotec Nano Dimmer
Lighting switch: Retrotouch 00219 - 2 gang to provide one for lighting on and off and one for scenes
I myself don’t know exactly how scenes with the Aeotec nano work in a smartthings context, but if you can set them up with the S2 connection, that looks perfect. hopefully someone else will know for sure.
I am willing to be corrected but I’m not aware of any legislation that says you have to have a dumb switch. We have regs stating the standards switches must meet and DDA regs that changed the building regs that say what height they must be positioned. But not aware of anything that says you must have a physical switch. As with most regs they don’t keep up with technology advances so there might be in the future, but as things don’t apply retrospectively you’d be OK there too.
But as @fido says its good practice to have a physical switch of some sort in case networks go down etc. Other than that keep a torch handy or I’m sure like most homes you’ll have a standard or table lamp. (Don’t forget the smart plug for that lol)
I completed a big retrofit project last year / this year - similar to what I think you’re aiming at.
I used retractive switches and Zigbee dimmer modules throughout the whole house. I ended up going with Hager’s retractive switches, in their grid system - just because they looked the most “normal”, and attractive/simple design in my opinion. (I don’t like the larger switches). It also allowed us more flexibility, as I’ve got 3 rooms where we wanted 4-gang.
I then used the Candeo zigbee dimmer modules for every different circuit, which have been absolutely brilliant - very fast response time, and controllable dimming speed. Most circuits go back to a retractive switch, but I’ve got a few which are smart only. Where I’ve got multiple circuits for one room (e.g. 6 in kitchen/diner), I’ve looped together the switch wire between modules so that one switch controls multiple modules. Easy to undo/redo depending on requirements and getting used to living in the space. TBH - the switches are primarily there for guests now, as voice/smart button are our standard control methods.
We used Collingwood downlights, along with GU10 spots.
I’ve not heard of this, but then there is no real reason why I would have heard about it. It may be something that applies to new builds. It could also be one of those things that isn’t explicitly required in itself, but is one way of meeting particular requirements. For example, if there is a requirement for a switch to be ‘conveniently located’, being in the same room would probably meet it.
The only thing I know is that the member who has since left the forum and had their posts removed under the “right to be forgotten“ had said that the Fibaro switch 2 with only the second switch in use as a means of providing scene control for smart bulbs but not cutting the current to the ceiling fitting would not meet local codes in England where that member had automated two houses because of a requirement that there be a hardwired switch. That it could be done for a second switch position in the room, but there had to be one hardwired.
But this was back in 2016 or 2017 when there weren’t a lot of options for switches for smart bulbs. In the US, it was no big issue because in most jurisdictions you could just rewire the switch so that the ceiling fitting always had current. But that particular member, who was one of the community experts on Fibaro devices, said there was no UK equivalent.
Since that time the answer has changed quite a bit in the US because of the release of switch devices like inovelli and Zooz that can be specifically set up for smart bulbs. I haven’t seen an equivalent device for the UK yet, though, but with the release of the “friends of hue” battery free devices which work with anything controlled through a Hue bridge or through HomeKit, again there are now other options for many use cases.
So things may have changed over time or perhaps there was some local regulation that that member was referring to.
Anyway, if it’s not an issue, it’s not an issue. So good news there.