Construction and Building Inspectors
Construction and building inspectors examine the construction, repair or alterations of buildings, dams, bridges, sewer and water systems, highways and streets and other types of structures to make sure they comply with building codes and ordinances, contract specifications and zoning regulations. Building codes and standards are utilized to assure the health and safety of the public. Many inspectors investigate the construction or alterations being performed without the necessary permits.
Construction and building inspectors make their first inspection during the initial phase of the construction project. They perform additional inspections throughout the construction process to check for compliance with regulations.
Building inspectors evaluate the structural quality and safety of buildings. Inspectors visit the project site before the foundation is poured. They visit throughout the construction process and make a thorough inspection after the project has been completed. Building inspectors also check for fire safety. Some building inspectors have a speciality such as structural steel buildings.
Home inspectors perform inspections of newly constructed homes, previously owned houses, apartments, condominiums and manufactured homes. They are often hired by potential home buyers to evaluate the condition of the house. They evaluate structural quality and all the systems and features of the home. They check for and report violations of building codes, however home inspectors do not have the authority to enforce compliance with codes.
Plumbing inspectors evaluate piping systems to ensure the health and safety of the drinking water system. They also inspect the sanitary disposal of waste and chemical process piping for industrial uses.
Electrical inspectors evaluate the installation of electrical systems and equipment to make sure they are in compliance with electrical codes and standards and function properly. They visit project sites and examine items such as appliances, heating and air conditioning systems, lighting, security systems and sound systems.
Public works inspectors make sure that local, state and federal government highways, streets, water and sewer systems, bridges and dams comply with contract specifications. Some pubic work inspectors have a specialty such as reinforced concrete.
Elevator inspectors evaluate lifting and conveying devises including elevators, escalators, ski lifts, amusement rides and moving sidewalks.
Mechanical inspectors examine the installation of mechanical components in structures such as commercial kitchen appliances and heating and air-conditioning equipment to make sure they are installed and functioning properly.
- Make sure building sites adhere to building codes, safety standards and specifications
- Review and interpret plans
- Issue violation notices and stop-work orders
- Inspect structures and ensure they comply with regulations
- Ensure installation of systems and equipment comply with regulations and function properly
- Provide approval and sign plans that meet specifications
- Keep inspection records
Construction and building inspectors typically work alone. However, large projects may be evaluated by several inspectors. Although they spend a lot of their time at construction sites they also work in a field office evaluating blueprints, writing reports and other tasks. They may have to crawl around in tight spaces and climb ladders. Inspectors usually have standard work hours. Non-government inspectors, particularly self-employed inspectors may have a varied work schedule.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast a 17 percent growth in employment of construction and building inspectors from 2008 to 2018 which is faster than average for all occupations. Issues including green and sustainable design will also increase the demand for construction and building inspectors.
The median annual salary for construction and building inspectors in 2008 was $50,180. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $78,070. Regarding the sectors employing the largest number of construction and building inspectors, the federal executive branch had the highest median annual salary. Building inspectors, including plan examiners, usually earn the highest salaries.
An applicant's employment opportunities may be enhanced by becoming a member of a nationally recognized inspection association. The International Code Council and many other professional associations provide certifications in a variety of specialties. Supervisory positions often require a degree in architecture or engineering.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Employers prefer applicants that have experience as an electrician or a plumber or in another trade and also have formal training. Most employers require candidates to have at least a high school diploma, including applicants that have extensive experience. They typically seek candidates that have studied architecture or engineering.
Those with degrees from community colleges that have completed courses in home inspection, building inspection, drafting and construction technology also have opportunities for employment. A number of community colleges provide associate degree and certificate programs in building inspection technology.
The training requirements vary by the state and the type of the inspector. Typically, inspectors acquire much of their training on the job. They're trained by an experienced inspector.
Many local jurisdictions and states require some type of license or certification for construction and building inspectors. Requirements may vary by local municipality and state. Requirements for licensure or certification usually require a minimum education level, such as a high school diploma, previous experience and passing a state approved examination. Home inspectors, in some states, are required to obtain a state issued license or certification.
- International Code Council
- Association of Construction Inspectors
- International Association of Electrical Inspectors
- American Society of Home Inspectors
The top employers are municipal and county building departments and architectural and engineering firms.
Schools for Construction And Building Inspectors are listed in the Browse Schools Section.