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 and responsibilities
- 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 and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
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.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Specialty certification or apprenticeship
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.
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.