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Inaccessible Electrical Panel... stupid


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The cover to the main electrical panel cannot be removed without removing the railing for the overhead garage door. The railing actually touches the panel and there are screws in the top holes. The door cannot be closed and there are screws behind the open door. The cover to the subpanel cannot be removed without removing the cover to the main panel.

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I blame crap like this on the GC or whoever is overseeing construction. While I'm sure not as much as you guys, I have been on many new construction sites through the years. One trade does not care about the trades who follow him in installation. They only care about gettin in and getting out. Too many times the last guy has to do something stupid because an earlier trade didn't care or wasn't told what would follow. When thinking about the wood structure of a house I sometimes wonder which is worse, termites, electricians or plumbers.

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In response to Tim, I have to say that I'd like to know the whole story. I suspect a remodeling with significant DIY involvement. Or it could be a "low bidder" remodeling job. Either way is just as bad. I was a homebuilder for 24 years and while part of the reason I walked away is that subs do dumb stuff, I have never known an electrician that would choose to place a panel high on a side wall. It's wrong and stupid, but if we assume that it was done during initial construction it's not likely if for no other reason than the simple fact that it would have to have been done while on a ladder. Who would CHOOSE to do that and make the job harder?

Judging from the patched drywall around the box, all the twistouts removed without breakers in place, and the fact that it's a surface mount box instead of a recessed one, I have to assume it's some sort of remodeling job, not a panel placed during construction of a new home. I also would bet that it wasn't likely done by a real electrician.

What were conditions inside of the box and what did the rest of the job look like?

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The house was built in 1958, 3 bedroom 1 bath and a finished basement. The panel is obviously not the original, but is in the original location, which happens to be in the garage. The garage door track is older than this panel. I could not see why it was not mounted lower. There will be a city occupancy inspection. I'd love to hear what they have to say about it - if anything. Some jurisdictions remove the cover to look inside the panels, some don't.

On another note there are bedrooms above the garage. Most likely when the home was built there was no fire separation between garage and living area and the drywall on the ceiling was added later (recently most likely). They left a gap in the ceiling for the center guide rails for the two garage door openers, so nice try but no cigar.

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This is new 200 amp service. Someone had to remove the kitchen wall cabinets, hack out the back, and rehang them without the panel cover. Astonishing work. Can't wait for someone to put away the dishes.

The service drop in the back yard was about 6' above grade.

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Jawdropping, Mike.

Here's what I think happened, because cabinets look so new as to be part of a general kitchen remodel. GC did not coordinate cabinet man and electrician. Electrician installed panel in bare-walled kitchen before cabinets arrived, while pretending not to notice clearance to grade outside.

Cabinet man arrives and hatchet-jobs his install (at least he opened the panel door for you) in order to get outa here and paid.

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Here's what I think happened, because cabinets look so new as to be part of a general kitchen remodel. GC did not coordinate cabinet man and electrician. Electrician installed panel in bare-walled kitchen before cabinets arrived, while pretending not to notice clearance to grade outside.

Cabinet man arrives and hatchet-jobs his install (at least he opened the panel door for you) in order to get outa here and paid.

That's probably right. The protective breaker cover from the panel is missing and gone. It would make sense the electrician installed it but ...

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Thing is, if it is that high to be blocked by the damn GD track I'd bet that the highest breaker is more than 6'7" off the floor. Just add that to the long list of violations.

Also, it is extremely unfortunate how many panels I see inside, or blocked by, kitchen cabinets. Some people have no scruples and should simply NOT be doing construction work.

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  • 1 year later...

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