Living in a rural community (even one populated with two state univeristies - the Univeristy of Idaho and Washington State University) often leads to interesting discussions since everybody knows everybody else.
Case in point is a debate that the home inspectors here have been having with several electrical contractors regarding Federal Pacific Electrical panels. The debate has gone on for the better part of four years. We insist that the panels are problematic, the electrical contractor declares them fine and says nothing is wrong with them.
Since the Consumer Product Safety Commission finished their testing (they didn't have the money for testing), excuses have been made that the panels and breakers are okay. Even the CPSC found that the breakers didn't not operate correctly under UL testing.
That debate may soon be ended though. The proposed Standards of Practice for State of Washington Home iNspector licensing explicitly states:
(h) Report on any circuit breaker panel or subpanel known within the home inspection profession to have safety concerns.
This will relieve the pressure on the inspectors that do report on FPE and other panels - not eveyone does because they don't want to be perceived as a deal killer - and major electrical issues can and do kill deals. At the same time, it is implicitly endorsing the idea that there are some very bad panels out there and the consumer should be warned.
Most of the standards seem to be a rehash of the ASHI standards but this one change is going to help the Washington home inspectors do a better job of protecting our clients.
Score one for the good guys on the Board.