Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    Default Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Hello Everyone,
    When a basement is finished and a new wall is built in front of the main panel often a cut out and hatch is used to access the panel. It seems to me the only way to make this comply short of installing a new panel flush with the new finished wall, would be to create a cut out that gave 30" of space side to side and down to the floor, essentially creating a door to access the existing panel. Does this make sense? And should I be writing up panels with smaller access openings as restricted?

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Kearney View Post
    Does this make sense? And should I be writing up panels with smaller access openings as restricted?
    Matt,

    Yes and yes.

    The new wall which projects out past the front of the panel obstructs the required safe working space and, when the wall has a recessed or stepped back area to provide the required working space, the minimum finished width is 30" (and wider if needed) finished surface to finished surface.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Thanks Jerry! I appreciate it.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Kearney View Post
    Hello Everyone,
    When a basement is finished and a new wall is built in front of the main panel often a cut out and hatch is used to access the panel. It seems to me the only way to make this comply short of installing a new panel flush with the new finished wall, would be to create a cut out that gave 30" of space side to side and down to the floor, essentially creating a door to access the existing panel. Does this make sense? And should I be writing up panels with smaller access openings as restricted?
    The many inspectors (myself included) do not sweat the small insignificant small stuff such as the panel cover being recessed an inch back from the finished surface of the wall.
    Such worry only serves to trivialize the code and bring laughter at your expense.

    As long as the cover seals against the enclosure, the cover can easily be removed, and the surrounding opening is sufficient for easy working access, continue on your inspection.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    The many inspectors (myself included) do not sweat the small insignificant small stuff such as the panel cover being recessed an inch back from the finished surface of the wall.
    Such worry only serves to trivialize the code and bring laughter at your expense.

    As long as the cover seals against the enclosure, the cover can easily be removed, and the surrounding opening is sufficient for easy working access, continue on your inspection.
    Many inspectors (code inspectors) I know do not trivialize the potentials of things like that which could lead to increased injury levels when something goes wrong, they do not get laughter, they get respect, it is the inspectors who try to trivialize things which brings laughter at their expense.

    Guess it depends on what part of the country one does inspections ... I know it makes a big difference from one end of Florida to the other, and to neighboring states, which I have also inspected in.

    What it comes down to is that the more populated the area, the more stringent the inspections are, and the more stringent the inspections are expect to be; whereas in the less populated and rural areas the attitude is more likely whatever goes is okay.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
    Posts
    1,394

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    The many inspectors (myself included) do not sweat the small insignificant small stuff such as the panel cover being recessed an inch back from the finished surface of the wall.
    Such worry only serves to trivialize the code and bring laughter at your expense.

    As long as the cover seals against the enclosure, the cover can easily be removed, and the surrounding opening is sufficient for easy working access, continue on your inspection.
    I'm with Bob on this. This is one of the many things we see on inspections that fall into that category of "Wrong, but unlikely to ever cause a problem". We see molehills and mountains all the time and we get respect by knowing the difference. Many, maybe most, clients know the difference too, and if you're trying to tell them that a molehill is a mountain, they'll start to filter everything else you say.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    The OP's question was
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Kearney View Post
    ... should I be writing up panels with smaller access openings as restricted?
    I think the answer should be Yes.
    You do not have to make a mountain of it, but it does need to be noted in the report.
    Would you (do you) report a dripping faucet? I do. It's not a biggie, but it is noted.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    The many inspectors (myself included) do not sweat the small insignificant small stuff such as the panel cover being recessed an inch back from the finished surface of the wall.
    Such worry only serves to trivialize the code and bring laughter at your expense.

    As long as the cover seals against the enclosure, the cover can easily be removed, and the surrounding opening is sufficient for easy working access, continue on your inspection.
    Sorry Bob, but I think your comment is minimizing the condition.
    First the OP did not say it was "...recessed an inch back." Actually we don't know, but it sounds like it was more likely 4".
    Second, you, as a code inspector, would likely be inspection the installation for the current homeowner, IE the person living there now who is having the work done. Where as an HI is inspecting for someone not living there and did not agree to having the codes "Fudged a little". They may not be as willing to accept it, and would at least want to know about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Kearney View Post
    When a basement is finished and a new wall is built in front of the main panel ...


    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Sorry Bob, but I think your comment is minimizing the condition.
    First the OP did not say it was "...recessed an inch back." Actually we don't know, but it sounds like it was more likely 4".
    Second, you, as a code inspector, would likely be inspection the installation for the current homeowner, IE the person living there now who is having the work done. Where as an HI is inspecting for someone not living there and did not agree to having the codes "Fudged a little". They may not be as willing to accept it, and would at least want to know about it.
    I stated 1 inch as it is the typical in a finished basement. Panel is mounted to the wall and usually is between 1/2 - 1" recessed when completed. That is if the new studded walls are plumb.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Main panel clearance in finished basement

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    I stated 1 inch as it is the typical in a finished basement. Panel is mounted to the wall and usually is between 1/2 - 1" recessed when completed. That is if the new studded walls are plumb.
    OK, lets go with 1".
    Is there any wiring in that 1" space, perhaps to new switches or outlets?
    Is the wiring protected from nails? Were boxes installed, how were the boxes secured? If no outlets are there, should there be? Is this now a habitual space?
    Lots of possible concerns I can envision.
    Basically, was a permit obtained that allowed for construction of the wall?
    Too simply say that it's "small insignificant small stuff ", well....

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •