Electrical: centralized breakerbox

I'm building a new house in the country. There are no inspection issues as the county doesn't do that. However, we do want to adhere to code wherever possible. I built my current house and this new one will be elsewhere on the same property. I do plan to have an electrician do the breaker box(es) and supply from the utility, the meter etc. One question I have though, is can the breaker box be located centrally so that it's shorter runs to where the electrical needs to go throughout the house. Regarding some sort of main shutoff, I was thinking of having a cutoff switch just inside the garage door, but then the breakers in a box centrally located in the house.
Is this a logical thing to do, and if so, what is the main cutoff actually called? If I'm talking with an electrician, how do I explain what it is we want to do here?
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HockeyFan wrote:

the switch is called a service disconnect, which is needed where the breaker panel is a certain distance from where the service enters the house. (don't remember the exact number). If you want shorter runs to your breaker panel to save money, I think it is more expensive to go with the disconnect. a sub panel would be another way to go.
What state do you live in? I have lived in a county that didn't building inspections or plan review, but the state still did electrical inspections.
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The main line switch needs to be installed near the service entrance location. You can ask your electrical contractor to install a combination meter enclosure/main line switch device (the meter enclosure has a built in main line switch), then you can place the panel anywhere you'd like ...except for in a closet or in a bathroom. The panel needs 30" clearance on either side, and 36" clearance from the front to meet code.

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then you can place the panel anywhere you'd like

What's the deal with that? I've seen quite a few panels in bathrooms.
JC
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It's prohibited by the National Electrical Code.

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