Some Thoughts on Electrical Inspections at a Commercial Property

Are you interested in learning about some of the similarities and differences between the electrical portion of a residential and commercial inspection? Read this brief Q&A with Paul Roebuck, CMI®.

Paul wrote a good article, especially for the home inspectors considering entering the commercial arena:

From article:

"Before taking on a commercial inspection project, assess your level of comfort with the
specific type of commercial building and the systems and components present. Then, plan accordingly:

  • Based on your level of experience, comfort level, and time constraints, should you singlehandedly take on the project?
  • If yes, does your insurance cover it?
  • If no, should you bring specialty consultants on, or pass on the job?

If you decide to take on the project using a team of specialty consultants, remember that you are acting like the coach of a football team. Does your team qualify for the project, and do they have clear instructions and expectations? The same considerations for health and safety also applies to them."

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If you are going to open an electrical panel, especially a panel in a commercial or industrial environment you should understand this chart and why it is necessary.

Click for full image:

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Wow, good timing for this thread as I just posted one wanting to enter the commercial side haha. Can’t wait to read this article.

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“For example, if a property is occupied, tripping a breaker can create major issues for a business, which, of course, comes back on the inspector. If you turn their computers off and they do not have it backed up, this can create a big issue for you. This is not a situation that I would want to encounter.”

Ok, I have a confession. I was in Washington DC doing two 15-story office towers. First one went fine. Second one, I was in the fire command center, trying to check the age of the main panel. It was a large Simplex system, with about 100 of the old-style pin toggle switches in the module bays on the lower half, and a great big hinged door. I go to swing the cabinet door open, and wham, the whole panel door comes off the front, and as it guillotines down to the floor, it shuts off almost every toggle switch. The FACP service company had drilled out the hinges on the door, and had the door hanging from the top edge of the enclosure. Anyway, the alarm goes off, everyone spills out into the street, fire trucks come. Fun times.

Absolutely. Good article and information.

Darren - thats the kind of excitement a person doesn’t need. Sounds like your heartburn level was up for while :grin: