Job description

Construction and building inspectors evaluate ongoing and completed construction to make sure it is structurally sound. They ensure that structures adhere to contract specifications, building codes, environmental regulations, safety standards and all other laws and ordinances. Inspectors typically specialise in one or more areas, including electrical, plumbing and elevators.

Duties

    • Review building plans to ensure they follow contract specifications
    • Review plans for compliance with building codes, local regulations and other ordinances
    • Approve plans that meet all requirements
    • Inspect construction, including foundations and structures, for structural integrity
    • Measure and verify elevation, level and alignment of structures and fixtures
    • Monitor installation of utilities and appliances to ensure safety and adherence to building codes
    • Ensure that ongoing and completed construction meets all safety and environmental regulations
    • Inspect elevators, escalators, ski lifts and other conveying devices for safety and code compliance
    • Conduct air quality and environmental hazard tests to identify problems
    • Use measuring and metering devices, survey instruments and other test equipment for inspections
    • Document all inspections, including photographic evidence
    • Coordinate with other inspectors
    • Issue permits for construction, renovation or demolition
    • Issue violations and stop work orders for non-compliant construction
    • Provide written and oral feedback after final inspections

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Compliance software
Cad software
Project management software
Engineering
Mathematics
Attention to detail
Building codes
Reading comprehension
Critical thinking
Problem-solving
Coordination
Physical stamina
Time management
Writing
Communication
Integrity

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

40hweek

Typical schedule

Full Time

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

Most construction and building inspectors work full time. Inspections can include outside work, climbing ladders, enclosed spaces, and hazardous conditions. You'll also spend substantial time in an office environment, inspecting plans and writing reports.

Inspectors typically operate during normal business hours, but busy projects and on-site accidents can require overtime. Certain specialties like home inspector may require alternate schedules to accommodate clients.

Inspectors typically work alone, but you may collaborate with other inspectors on large projects.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$35k

Median

$60k

Top 10%

$97k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High School

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

2years

Training and education requirements vary greatly between specialties, employers and regions. Experience in construction, architecture, plumbing and other related fields is desirable and often required for an inspector role. Extensive experience will often offset some education prerequisites.

You will have to study all local codes and regulations on your own time. On-the-job training and apprenticeship programmes help you learn inspection techniques and procedures.

Most states require some form of licensing or certification for building and construction inspectors. Consult with your state's licensing authority for specifics. Certification is often offered by the relevant specialty association.

An associate's or bachelor's degree in engineering, architecture or related field can also boost your CV for inspector positions.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.

10%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

10.5k

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

63%

Career progression

A construction inspector position is often the next career step for tradesmen such as electricians and carpenters. After gaining training and experience as an inspector, you can progress to higher-paying positions, including leadership.

Some inspectors start their own business. Establishing a reputation for quality inspections and integrity can help you earn clients and set higher rates.