Here is one of the panels I recently installed....and I'm in code violation!
Please note that every breaker is identified in both English and Chinese. Colored tape also identifies breakers on common systems (such as the Ansul).
A strict reading of the NEC, however, will tell you the markings must be on the supplied panel directory. These other markings are allowed- it's just that, as you can see, the directory has not been filled in. Am I the only one who thinks the NEC needs a little editing on this point?
I had also located my panels along the main walkway, serving the kitchen, main dining room, and bathroom. No matter....the second pic is from "opening day." These folks wasted no time piling (literally) a ton of stuff around the panels. They've since added a work table...
Reno The means of marking on tape next to the breakers will not stand up to the test of time. I agree that it should not have to be marked on the door, but for now that is the requirement. Remember some panels have no doors.
I work in a facility that is getting ready to celebrate its 25 year of processing. The original panel schedules were typed (yes, with a typewriter) on the supplied white cards and installed behind the supplied plastic windows. They are perfectly legible today. Your arguments smack of situational ethics - it is going to be screw up anyway so why should I follow the rules? Personally, I use Excel templates and can create a new shedule for a panel I've done before in just seconds and only use a few minutes to create a new one from scratch. We can not asume the future, we must do our work to the current standards.
One thing I will not accept is folded up panel schedules cut out from the plans. Most of the time these aren't accurate anyway, due to field changes. I insist that the directory be readable without taking it out. I've seen too many boards with no directories. I also insist they remove the old one when they do a TI. It is a bit more than the code addresses, but I'm an electrician who used to work on panels with no directories and it was not easy tracing everything out. I don't have the time to check out every circuit to see it does what the directory says, but I spot check a few. I always take the cover off to see there is a wire where the directory says there is a load. I find lots of mistakes here. I will accept sharpie on deadfront next to C/B's as long as it's readable. OK, fire slings and arrows at will.
Sometimes I wonder if would be best to take a few minutes of time to sweep the floor an a couple of bucks worth or that black and bright yellow striped sticky backed warning tape to mark the boundary on the floor in front of the panels. People have no clue what the code requirements for working space is and will almost always stack stuff in front of the panels. By marking a barrier there is a remote possibility that they may wonder why someone put it there. Taking care of details as well as a neat on professional installation provides an opportunity for one to differentiate you from the competitor.
Fire regulations alone mean that stuff can't be piled in front of the DBs
Big Jim is right when he says that door charts can be produced quickly and easily in Excel. Whether the existing charts are accurate or not is another matter and should be factored into the quote (bid).
At some stage the owner is going to have to take responsibility for inaccurate switchboard door chats.
It's been my experience that people might not know the details, but they know that there is, in general, a requirement for access to these panels. They just don't care. We see our slice and our job, they see theirs- and as their viewpoint is that they never have problems and never have to get into that panel, they weigh that against the convenience factor of being able to pile up stuff and up it goes.
I've been in rooms piled so high and so tight with junk that I literally didn't even know a panel existed, letalone that there was a hidden MBT and 5kVA transformer bank under there too! And this was a a room that was supposed to be kept clear of stuff like that for completely unrelated reasons and the electronic techs were the guilty party, which made it even worse.
It all comes back around- how many times have the carpenters and masons cursed you all behind your backs for putting holes in their critical structure?
Back on subject, I come from a highly documented corner of the industry and don't see why it isn't absolutely required to not only label the breakers, but also the cables and to include the drawings of the entire electrical system- so you can tell exactly what is on what breaker and what all else is tied to it. I mean, we almost always have them on hand already, it's a simple matter to bag it to the door.
Personally John, From an electrician's point of view, I'd mark both. I use a Label-maker that prints self-adhesive labels that I use to stick to the dead-front next to the breakers. I also make up my own panel schedule that goes on the inside of the door. But for speed, I prefer the labelled breakers, provided of course that you can read the writing of the Electrician that wrote on the dead-front in the first place. That's the reason why I use the label-maker.
You probably should not lable breakers. If you replace one the label is gone. Not all electricians carry a lable maker on thier truck. But they do have a pen. Same with lableing the dead front with labels or perminant marker.