Regular electrical inspections are legally required. Here’s how to know the technician is doing it well.

Key takeaways:

  • There’s no way to avoid electrical inspections if you want to stay in business.
  • One assessment per year is the suggested minimum.
  • Your local authorities will have their own set of inspection rules.
  • Working with electrical professionals can help make your next inspection less stressful.

Electrical safety in the workplace is an absolute must, and scheduling a commercial electrical inspection is a great place to start. These visits get the same kind of bad rap as tax and building assessments, but there’s no need to get nervous!

A good electrical inspection is a serious matter because the experts have to check a property from top to bottom to ensure code compliance. It helps to remember that they are there to root out any hazards that may be putting people and property at risk. Their list of to-dos is a mile long, so we’ve spotlighted some of the key processes and general inspection categories to give you a good idea of what to expect.

The basic things to look for (and avoid) in a commercial electrical inspection

The first thing you’ll want is to work with a qualified inspector. Here are some key tips for selecting the right one for your business:

  • Florida requires its electrical inspectors to have five years of experience with everything they’re evaluating. Be sure you verify an inspector’s credentials. 
  • Inspectors should also be operating from the latest edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s handbook. They should be able to answer all your questions about the inspection process and any necessary follow-up action, too.

It may seem tempting to slip an official some cash to overlook expensive repairs, but don’t! Bribery might land one or both of you in hot water for committing a second-degree felony which comes with a fine of $10,000 and up to 15 years in jail (Section 2(d)).

Every business should schedule an electrical inspection at least once per year. This is the minimum to stay code compliant and safe from power and fire dangers. How often you need to be reinspected differs from county to county, so check with your local authorities for that timeline.

A quick rule of thumb: It’s generally advised to have things looked at whenever new electrical systems are installed or when your power is turned back on after being disconnected for any reason (particularly after a hurricane).

The first boxes on an electrical inspection checklist

A big component of your inspector’s duties is checking the electrical panels and wiring in your workplace as well as the quality of any installation and repair work you’ve had done. Wiring isn’t one-size-fits-all, though. Certain buildings have to be wired in particular ways, and your inspector will look to see if your configuration is code compliant and safe for the type of professional occupancy and people inside. In a nutshell, your building has to comply with the National Electric Code (NEC) or you’re going to have to make some changes.

Bonding and grounding are two very important aspects of both electrical installation and safety, which puts them among an inspector’s priorities. Improperly grounded or bonded equipment can cause serious physical damage to people and property, and can even result in fatalities.

Some businesses will have a commercial generator, but not all businesses know how to choose the right one. Your electrical inspector will be able to tell if yours isn’t up to the job of handling the necessary power load in an emergency. This can result in the inspector saying either “This is mildly serious, get it fixed” or “If this isn’t fixed immediately then you’re on your way to court.”

More ways to pass (or fail) the inspector test

The inspector will proceed to check that all electrical outlets, equipment, and circuit boxes are clearly labeled for safety and that non-qualified personnel know not to mess with them. 

Any electrically sensitive areas have to be guarded from environmental hazards like exposure to water or any corrosive factors. Inspectors really don’t like to see these access points uncovered.

Inspectors will also take a look at your ceilings and floors, as these are two areas that take a lot of beating from the elements and everyday foot traffic. Wiring has to be sufficiently protected against both these problems.

Surge protection is another great thing to show an inspector. This is especially true if you’re in an area like Florida, where power can be knocked out by natural disasters and then suddenly turn back on at full strength. Electrical inspectors like to see that you’re prepared for the worst. Have an electrical safety plan in place and plenty of operational fire extinguishers at key points, such as next to fuse boxes and generators.

Even a bad electrical score isn’t the end of the world. Show the inspector that you genuinely care about any problems, and you truly intend to fix them right away. Be committed to the health and safety of your building, team, and operations.

Speak to the electrical experts with any questions

You’ll likely need to get in touch with some reputable electrical professionals once the inspector hands over their report. That’s where the UES team comes in. Our experts are ready to assist you with understanding what’s required to comply. Call us to take a look at your electrical setup today so you can be confident that your next inspection will go well.

The Universal Electrical Team has more than 20 years of experience in diagnosing electrical issues, providing top-class maintenance, and helping different industries create an electrical environment they can be proud of. Visit our contact page if you have any questions or concerns about electrical matters and we’ll be happy to help!