There are plenty of things wrong with this idea, but, code citations aside, I think the most worrysome is that it reveals the inverted sence of priorities that the remodeler and home owner had.
To them, the panel was a barely necessary evil, something that they really wish they didn't have to deal with. "What's the worst that can happen? I pop a breaker, I just have to reach in and reset it."
When I moved to Nevada (From Chicago), I was surprised to see homes with all the breakers located outside at the service. (I had not seen an 'all-in-one' before). Until this very moment, I thought that was a pretty lame idea - the difficulties faced when adding circuits, the need to go outside at 3AM with a flashlight to reset one, etc.
Yet, thinking it over today ... all the efforts we see to hide, cover, tuck away panels. Placing them in closets and cupbords. On stairways and in halls. Behind furnaces, water heaters, and laundry equipment. I have to wonder if, maybe, putting the breakers outside - where the homeowner will prompltly place a big bush - is a better idea.
For those doing design work, all I can say is: put the panels behind the swing of a door. Operating the door will prevent anything else from getting placed there. It's the best I can figure out.
When I can't get them in a closet on a Commercial job, I try to get them on a wall along a walkway. That way there might be pictures and stuff covering it; but there won't be a pile of junk in front of it.
It will never cease to amaze me how quickly a dedicated 'electrical room', some if not all with a placard on the door, turns into 'storage'.
Going back to a 'newer' car dealership (<1 year); for inspection of minor work...the exterior entry only, 750 Sq ft, dual egress, 'Electrical Room' was stuffed. Floor maint equip, buffers, motrized sweeper, wheeled vac, de-icer, etc.
Contacted the EC; he said his guys spent 'quite a while' clearing the room so they could get in.
Hot Line ... what can I say? Follow Shakespere and say 'second, shoot all the architects?
You have an 'electrical room' that, more often than not, also houses the telephone equipment, the alarm system, the sprinkler main, the video surveilance system, the main computer server,a transformer, the water heater, and some HVAC stuff. Nearly everything that's needed to make the building work ... and, if the trades do their jobs, it's almost never necessary to actually get in there to work on the stuff.
Add to this the complete disregard (by both the customer and the architect) for the needs of the maintenance staff. Why do you think we're always having to move the mop bucket, or find the top of the tranny has become a desk?
Which makes me wonder ... perhaps we need to re-think this idea of having everything in a central location. Instead of designing a bank of panels all neatly grouped together, maybe scatter them about, in the open, closer to the areas they actually serve. After all, I really can't think of any particular reason that the electrical HAS to be grouped together with the plumbing.