Massachusetts Home Inspector, Changes in SOP


Next Meeting will be held on March 8, 2006 at 8 AM at: 239 Causeway Street, Boston, Massachusetts

To discuss proposed changes to the Massachusetts Home Inspector SOP in CMR 266.

  1. Home Inspectors should advise of the defect(s) and that they should be repaired.

Stop referring to the electrician, or other expert, gives credence to the HI as a Professional soon to be permitted to use a State Seal also proposed.

  1. According to the Massachusetts State Board of Electrical Examiners it will be proposed to make it illegal for a Home Inspector to remove any panel cover, because that work must be done only by licensed electricians.

  2. Wearing PPE during inspections

  3. Editorial changes to correct language and add specific recognized terms used in the electrical industry.

  4. Make it clear that repairs should be made in accordance with any codes or standards recognized by the State of Massachusetts.

  5. Suggested use of NFPA 73 Electrical Inspection Code for Existing Dwellings

See the attachment for NFPA 73 as a PDF file below

**Document Scope: **1.1 Purpose. The purpose of this code is to provide requirements for evaluating installed electrical systems within and associated with existing dwellings to identify safety, fire, and shock hazards, such as improper installations, overheating, physical deterioration, abuse, and similar conditions. This code provides criteria that enable the identification of the hazardous conditions that are evident during a visual inspection of an existing dwelling. This code does not define installation requirements that might be desired for convenience or utilitarian purposes.

Current Edition: 2006 Next Revision Cycle: Annual 2010

PS: I will be there!

Hi to all,

Joe, where does it state that only licensed electricians are allowed to remove panel fronts?

I believe the actual verbage says “qualified pesons” and the deffinition of a qualified person is someone who has been trained or instructed as to the safety issues surrounding the inspection of electrical installations.

Am I wrong, is there something different under Massachusetts law?



I think it is only a proposal to make this change. I also think that it will harm the home buyers since it will result in many uninspected panels. The reason is that many people will not ever get the electrician out there to inspect it.

Many places such as here still need the work done by electricians inspected by home inspectors. Typically about 50 to 75 percent of the writeups are actually fixed and many times one or two new problems are inserted during the process.

Hi to all,

Bruce, I know you are correct. typically we report electrical defects in a very high % of inspected properties, and if we are limited from doing so that will be to the detriment of our clients, we commonly find issues that require repairing that affect the safety of people within the home.

I think the electrical industries attempt to stop Home Inspectors from evaluating panels is merely an attempt to control what they percieve as solely their business.

I actually think NFPA 73 is a good document, but so is NFPA 70 which defines a “qualified person” my job as an educator is to ensure thaat home inspectors are qualified persons, so they are able to do their job well and in a safe manner.

I am very interested to hear Joe Tedesco’s opinion of this.



Gerry I met the MA Bd of Elec Sec’y when I was having my coffee at the 2/8/06 ,meeting, and mentioned that I was requesting support for HI PPE because I wanted HI safety to be considered. He said that he would address the board in March indicating his concern related too the removal of panel covers by HI’s.I support the “qualified person” definition. I believe he is interested in bringing the Board up to speed with changes in the industry related to dwellings and arc flash accidents. I sent Nick a panel with over 50 Defects to be used to Qualify our people.


I understand you will be there when this takes place, Understanding your dislike for HI’s to go into the panels in the first place I would be interested in knowing your position on this.

I do not recall an increase of HI’s deaths due to inspection of Electrical Panels, in fact I think it increases the safety aspect of the home owner and makes MY job as an Electrician less task oriented and more direct in solving problems.

I only see this panel proposing these issues with the guidence of someone, I am not saying it is you but someone with a negative view or slant on the HI industry is obviously peeping into the correct peoples ear on issues.

OK…First the HI side of me will come out…Ok…From a HI standpoint I am trained to look at the obvious ( speaking as an HI only now…not ELE )…Most all HI’s have some sort of formal training and if not they will not last long…anyway the majority of observations in an electrical panel are simple and straight forward and when it is obvious the Electrician is bought in…clean and simple solution…two eyes are better than one set of them in my opinion.

OK…my Electrical Hat will now go on…I do not agree with the idea of making it only offered to electricians to do this very BASIC of observation…it is MY opinion that HI’s for the most part do a fine job in finding the basics of anything electrical that are within a service enclosure…they are not fixing it, they are not removing anything regarding it…Also if the effort is to save HI lives…I do not believe I recall any HI’s who have died from removing a service panel cover…but again maybe you have more faxtual info on that occurance.

As an Electrician I simply do not have the time nor desire to do cheap electrical inspections so that a homeowner can pay me 75.00- 100.00 to look at something the HI could do as part of their normal inspection…if their is something obvious I will get the call anyway and THEN I can do the inspection with the idea of getting the work as well…spending my time to make 75.00 or 100.00 is not something most ACTIVE electricians want to spend time doing …this is from experience as I am in the field everyday working and doing this trade…not simply as a inspector…but actually DOING the wiring…getting my hands dirty so to speak.

Now…I have an opinion on the motive behind the MASS Board personally…but will reserve to keep it to myself…however, if the intent is to create a training program just for HI’s is the purpose it is a WASTE of time and effort…this is already being done my some of the fine work Gerry and other Educators are doing nationwide…

Ok…time for the GOD complex…While I care about safety, I care about my fellow man and all that JAZZ…Electricians are no GODS…we pull the panels like anyone else…call me what you will…but HEY i physically PASSED (3) STATEWIDE exams to get my licences…not a cracker jack box or gifts from the state…( TRUST ME IT HAPPENS )

I have just done it so many times…and well I also do wear glasses with plastic lenses so it affords me some slack but when asked to nearly 2 dozen of my electrical buddies, do they wear PPE when they pull a panel…well 100% of them just do not…so that comes to the term " Qualified Persons "

As defined by the 2002 NEC- One who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training on the hazzards involved.

Ok the change from previous was the addition of " Safety Training "…ok…now leaving it to a board to define WHO can and WHO DOES the safety training is where I start to have issues…because to be honest with you most HI’s get this on a daily basis just by reading this board…but I will stop right their before I inject to much of a personal feeling and flavor to it.

So…is the MASS Board going to determine WHERE a HI can get " Safety Training " to meet the Qualifed Person requirement…Hell I could put that together in a online seminar in less than 2 weeks…

Personally I think every organization NACHI, ASHI, NAHI and others can rectify any change why simply offering a class regarding electrical safety…IN fact it can be put into a CD format…but I do not see the need to have HI’s PAY to achieve this…

I have to say…as an Electrician with over 18 years experience in the trenches…I am not threatened by HI’s…I think they create work for my industry, I think they keep an eye on things we electricians may not see because the happy homeowner may never invite an electrician in the house for years after it is built…

ALSO I see a conflict of interest…if you let the electrician do the inspection and they find things wrong…are they going to be allowed to FIX IT…or will it be looked at as a conflict and if NOT…why say it is when a home inspector finds something and then cant offer to fix it…creates a whole new meaning to seperation from the issue at hand…

I think in closing the HI does a valued job…and not because I am one…I coudl give up the HI business tomorrow and I am in my heart a FULL BLOODED electrician…that i cant change…it is in my family…but I have no problem at all with HI’s doing the basic evaluation…WHY because I know in my heart if they find something and as we can see HI’s spend ALOT of time learning electrical issues…which is why I spend alot of time here answering them…dont you think I have BETTER things to do…well I do fella’s but the members of NACHI need us…to give our views and points…having Me, Greg, Joe who are in the field and had BOB but not sure where he went…he is missed…we give field perspective…then those with advanced knowledge like Gerry, Jeff, Jay and others come in and add additional information…

If you do not call that creating some of the BEST " Qualifed Persons " to do an evaluation I dont know who is…in many states Electricians have no continued education as well…but good ones ALWAYS strive to learn more…I learn EVERY DAY…NO one is too smart to learn why 6ma’s can kill ya…NO ONE.

Nice post Paul. :cool:

Yes he is.

Hi to all,

great post Paul, it would be nice to think that common sense prevails in this area.



Hey Guys- To be honest with you I am against government medling at all levels…I think I spelled that wrong…anyway…I think the concept of PPE and great…and will save lives…I think people SHOULD be qualifed to open panels…BUT as stated I think HI’s meet this very basic of requirement as it pertains to inspections…

Now…not in regards to installing it…as govered by the NEC…just in terms of inspecting it…after all my X-RAY eyes dont always work either when looking into walls that are finished.

I think if the MASS BOARD wants to mandate something they should simply say that upon basic obversation that a Licensed Electrical Contractor…NOT ELECTRICIAN…Electrical Contractor should be contacted…

What this says to the consumer is…if basic principles of electrical installation and safety are not followed…it is REQUIRED that the HI call in the Electrical Contractor…again NOT Electrician and I wont go into why I feel that way on that…

Just seems to me JOE can be positive in pushing this to the MASS Board at the meeting…ok…PPE is fine…push that and well it only costs 5-10 bucks for some eyewear and so on…BUT simply push that HI’s are qualified persons under the idea of inspections and require them to refer to licensed electrical contractors upon observation…this is what HI’s want to do anyway…

I think JOE can assist in this here if JOE agrees to the concept…What do you say JOE…?

I always wear my glasses and some good gloves. I also always check the box, pipes etc. with my “buzz and blink” tester before touching anything that could possibly be hot.

I would like to think most folks do the same.


I like your attitude regarding any Electrical proposals that may come to light in the very near future in Ma. due to circumstances beyond our (meaning us HI’s) control.

It would be fantastic to have someone like you to attend this upcoming MA HI board meeting.

Very nice post…

Hmm…I am not sure I understand this reasoning…the basis for HI’s are to be generalists…not experts in any one field unless of course they are…the basic principles applie to detection but do not make someone an expert.

OK…so what is the SEAL FOR…what will the home inspector inspect if they cant refer it when they find it…This methodology is FLAWED…

The saving grace to most HI’s are the ability to refer and use it wisely…hell a home owner with many years of experience could probably do their own home inspections…we all know this…BUT having it done by a professional EVALUATOR who knows when to call in an EXPERT is a value needed to the end consumer…

Am I reading that quote wrong…please help me understand this way of thinking…

If they would like me to attend…I will attend…BUT I think JOE can be a voice for the HI’s if he undertands what I am saying and see’s the value in it…probably a better voice than me since they know him.

I will add to this discussion that as inspectors we only “add” to the financial well being of electrical contractors with all the stuff we find wrong electrically on inspections!

I have asked Joe T to provide the proposed list of PPE regarding the removal of dead front covers on residential electrical panels for the past year and a half. I have spoken at length to electrical inspectors and electricians about this issue. They all look at me like a cow staring at a passing train.

Prohibiting home inspectors from removing a panel cover is an incredibly thinly veiled attempt at controlling the paid actions of others. If you stop to think that many of the sub-standard installations and defects we see could have actually been done by “electricians”, perhaps we are the ones most qualified to give the panel a thorough review.

As to arc-flash injuries, I suspect that they are far and few. I’d be curious to know, of those supposed incidents, how many of the victims were electricians, as opposed to homeowners and home inspectors.

Statistically, the deck is stacked against those who spend a mahority of their time inside the panel. For the purposes of this conversation, that aint the home inspector.

Once again, I find myself asking what a “qualified” person is. I brought up an interesting point regarding OSHA requirements for safe working environment. s and confined space entry. We all go into areas that are treacherous, and potentially deadly. I believe some of the situations we find ourselves in are far more likely to bring harm, than taking a panel cover off.

Again, I’d like to know what “qualified” means in terms of removing as panel cover, I’d like to review the statistics.e behind the need for this action, and I would like to know, specifically, what we are speaking of with regard to PPE. Glasses, gloves, shoes, no frayed clothing, and common sense. You cant buy that last item in any store, though

NEC’s Term : Qualified Persons

Qualified Persons - One who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training on the hazzards involved.

Ok…now the question is who has the right to give the received safety training on the hazzards involved… personally do not think the local government should have control over this training…Many people can provide this training…but anyway that is what the NEC defines Qualifed Person as…

BTW…Sorry Joe F…My phone died…been getting ALOT of calls lately…lol

Taken from another site, and specifically relating to arc-blast and arc-flash hazards.

These injuries typically take place at construction sites, to electricians, and. most times dealing with uncovered incompletely wired panels. It also calls for arc-flash analysis.

Finally, the injuries happen to “qualified” personnel. My point in all this is that we need to keep focused on the real dangers faces in OUR industry, and we must keep in mind that being “qualified” is no more of a safeguard than basic education and common sense.

Read on…

One of the most important issues discussed is the application of NFPA 70E to construction site activity and, particularly, the flash hazard issue. This issue has not been well-addressed in the construction industry even though there is a significant risk.

Electrical accident fatality data indicates that a high number of fatalities occur each year among electricians due to an arc blast or arc flash. The data indicates that 80 percent of the fatalities among qualified persons is due to a burn-related incident.

The possibility of an arc flash and the extreme amount of heat that it produces is not new information. In 1990, OSHA promulgated its electrical safety-related work practices regulations. OSHA did not specifically mention arc-flash hazard. Its approach was to be somewhat performance-oriented and let the employer assume the responsibility of determining what hazards were present and how they would be addressed.

This approach did not work as well as some may have anticipated, and another important document had to assume the responsibility of being more specific. This document is NFPA 70E - Standard for Electrical Safety for Employee Workplaces, 2000 Edition. Section 2-1.3.3 in Part II states that a flash hazard analysis must be performed before an employee can approach any exposed electrical conductor or circuit part that has not been placed in an electrically safe work condition.

Yes, I have to admit here…as a HI I do not nearly see the hazzards of ARC FLASH that I do when I was working in the Commerical Field of Electrical Wiring…

While ARC FLASH is something to contend with I see it more in the electrical field than I do in the HI field…maybe it is because Electricians get used to mondain tasks and we sometimes forget safety…I dont know…I know I almost watched a helper get killed in an ARC blast back 15 years ago while working in a 1200A panel…on a METAL ladder no less…bringing in wires to a live panel…and well he got careless…and well…he is VERY lucky today…BTW…he became a GREAT electrician some years later…

Point is…I do not think ARC FAULT is nearly as solid a reason to require only Electricians to inspect a panel…speaking ratios…as Joe F has stated…I do not recall a HI getting ARC issues nearly as much as Electricians…

The entire MA SOP is being considered for revision. There are no specific drafts available, and when they are will become available for Public review and hearings.I only mentioned the proposed changes in the electrical rules.Massachusetts needs a HI who will be the NACHI VOICE.As far as any PPE list, I believe that Gerry has tailored it well and presented it during his class at the convention.Joe F., haven’t you seen the presentation yet?