MASS law about electric panel?

Does anyone know of any rules about the placement of an electric panel in a unit in Massachusetts?

Specifically, I was planning to enclose the panel behind a cabinet door. Someone mentioned they thought that was illegal, and that it had to be exposed.

I’ve got a permit for these renovations, so will be asking the inspector this week, but thought I’d see if anyone knew here?


I think that you could probably find the answer you’re looking for in the National Electric Code 2005. I think in section 110.26 it mentions the amount of clearance you need around the panel.

I do happen to have a copy and basically it says you need to be able to open the panel up to 90 degrees and have 3-4 feet of space in front of it accessible and also about 30 inches on the side or the width of the panel, whichever is greater. The working space also can’t be used for storage.

I’m not an electrician though so maybe someone else who knows more could chip in, but yeah, I think you’d have a hard time getting that passed the inspector. I’ve seen a lot of houses and I don’t think I’ve seen any so far that have had the panel enclosed in a cabinet.

yep, NEC (National Electric Code) is what is follwed. No, I do not think an inspector will pass a panel inside a cabinet, but you can ask.

hmmm… will have to read that closer.

Putting a second (more decorative) door in front of the panel does not seem to affect any of the items mentioned.

Once the more decorative door was opened, the panel door could then open normally, etc.

If the inspector kills this plan, then I’m going to have some extra work either pulling the panel forward… or somehow filling in the extra space cleanly. I’ll check with him tomorrow and post up his answer. (I assume it’s the building inspector and not the wiring inspector I need to ask?)

You can not cover or block an electrical panel. You tenant is going to have to look at the ugly metal case. You can however put it so it door is flush with the wall and not sticking out.

I think a cabinet would violate the idea of having working space in front of a panel.

The other thing you can do is paint the panel, I’ve seen several that were painted white with the walls.

The wiring inspector will probably be pretty familiar with the code. I suppose you could also check with the building inspector as he’ll probably have to sign off on it too.

Thanks for the info.

Maybe painting it would be the answer.

I’ll look into bringing it flush with the rest of the wall.

It’s metal, so probably spray paint would look better than brush strokes?

Inspectors have no problem with my plan, so everything is a go for this unit.

In the next one, I will simply pull the panel flush with the wall and spray paint it white and avoid any potential issues.

Thanks all.