Can Inspectors Remove the Covers on Breaker Boxes?
I have heard from several realtors and buyers that their inspector did not remove the cover to the breaker box and sub-panel. Some inspectors say that only a licensed electrician is allowed to do this, and we as home inspectors have no business removing panel covers. This means that the inspection of the electrical panel is limited to looking at the outside… and that’s about it. It would be like inspecting a house, but not looking inside.
The basis for this seems to be claiming that this procedure is actually considered electrical work and we are not licensed electricians.
So to research the terms for this debate is as follows:
Unlicensed individuals. (a) An unlicensed individual means an individual who has not been licensed by the department to perform specific electrical work. An unlicensed individual shall not perform electrical workrequired to be performed by a licensed individual unless the individual has first registered with the department as an unlicensed individual. Thereafter, an unlicense individual shall not perform electrical work required to be performed by a licensed individual unless the work is performed under the direct supervision of an individual actually licensed to perform such work. The licensed individual and unlicensed individual must be employed by the same employer.
So what is considered electrical work? This term actually defines electrical work:
Electrical work: “Electrical work” means the installing, altering, repairing, planning, or laying out of electrical wiring, apparatus, or equipment for electrical light, heat, power, technology circuits or systems, or other purposes.
Clearly, removing a panel cover to inspect the inside does not constitute electrical work, but follows the minimum guidelines set forth by TREC.
There are times when panels cannot be accessed, such as locks, screws, furniture placement, paint, etc. but when clear access is given the panel should be removed.