nspectors are classified into the following major categories: 1) Construction Inspectors; 2) Building Inspectors; 3) Electrical Inspectors; 4) Home Inspectors; 5) Mechanical Inspectors; 6) Plumbing Inspectors; and 7) Public Works Inspectors.
Both construction and building inspectors work collaboratively to ensure the safety of the building and the environment. Construction Inspectors evaluate and inspect building systems. They examine highways. They repair dam and water structures. They comply with national building and zoning regulations established by the International Code Council (ICC). Building Inspectors evaluate the building structure for adherence to national safety codes and inspect all fire protection-related equipment. They inspect the foundation and the soil to determine suitability for building. Their major concentration is in concrete structures.
Electrical Inspectors evaluate the connections of electrical systems in a building. They adhere to national electrical standards. They inspect building electrical security to include the wiring and the generator. They also inspect the air-conditioning systems, the escalators, other building lifting devices, and all equipment connected to an electrical motor. Home Inspectors evaluate the quality of new and used homes such as apartments, houses, and buildings zoned for commercial use in residential neighborhoods. They visit homes before they are purchased to inspect for code violations. They examine the home’s structure and its features, to include the foundation, the plumbing, the electrical, and the heating and cooling systems.
Mechanical Inspectors examine and review all systems of the building that require a motor and various installations. They examine the ventilation, the heating and cooling systems, and the refrigeration devices. They also inspect the gas stove and commercial equipment. Plumbing Inspectors inspect the plumbing systems. They ensure that the system is suitable and safe for drinking and ensure that waste disposal complies with national health and sanitary standards. They typically conduct inspections of the layout of the pipes, the fixtures, and the backflow of the plumbing. Public Works Inspectors inspect building structures to ensure that federal and national government standards are met. They inspect such structures as dams, highways, and water systems; excavation operations; and concrete structures. They report findings to their superiors. They may specialize in dredging.
Inspectors in the field use a laptop or computer terminal to record measurements and other inspection findings. They work with checklists and they track and monitor their inspections. They follow up with recommendations and ensure that builders have the proper permits. They use tools to record their findings such as instruments designed for surveying land and devices designed for measuring.
Employment for construction and building inspectors is expected to grow by seventeen percent in the next ten years with the advent of new construction technology. Qualified construction and building inspectors can expect to experience great prospects for job satisfaction.
Construction, Building, and Electrical Inspection Job Responsibilities
Construction and building inspectors work with little or no supervision. They work regular forty-hour weeks. They are typically assigned to large projects. They inspect sites and spend much time reading blueprints. They write and submit reports and schedule inspections. They practice safety according to national standards by wearing the proper gear at work locations. They also respond to safety concerns. Inspectors who are self-employed typically work longer hours, including weekends.
Construction, Building, and Electrical Inspection Training and Education Requirements
Although most training for construction and building inspectors is learned on the job, they are required to have an extensive knowledge of construction procedures and principles and national standards. They must have a license and be certified in a specialty, if required for some areas in the industry. Although construction and building inspectors are not required to have a bachelor’s or an advanced degree, they may choose to pursue study beyond a high school diploma. Employers look favorably on those construction and building inspectors who have majored in engineering and architecture. Construction and building inspectors may also supplement their educational studies with coursework in construction contracts, technology principles, home inspection procedures, blueprint reading guidelines, geometry, and English.
Construction, Building, and Electrical Inspection Salary and Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for construction and building inspectors was $50,180 in May 2008, the highest earning $78,070. For construction and building inspectors working for the federal government, the median annual wage was $62,120, that is $3,600 less than those working for a construction management company. The median annual wage for those construction and building inspectors who worked for local government earned approximately $50,330 more than those working for state government ($45,700). The highest wages were attributed to building inspectors who were also assessors.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Construction and building inspectors enjoy great benefits that include health insurance and medical leave.
Construction, Building, and Electrical Inspection Certifications
In addition to a driving license, Construction, Building, and Electrical Inspectors are required to be certified in their fields of knowledge. To receive a license, construction and building inspectors must have finished high school and must pass a national examination. Such licensing bodies include the following: 1) the International Code Council, 2) the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, and 3) the National Fire Protection Association.
The International Code Council (ICC) offers two certifications: 1) Certified Building Official (CBO) and 2) Residential Building Inspector (RBI). The Certified Building Official designation is designed for construction and building inspectors to learn about code compliance; and the RBI is a program designed for home inspectors. For both certification programs, an examination is required.
Construction and building inspectors may also be certified through The Association of Construction Inspectors. They may receive certification on three levels:
- Certified Construction Inspector (CII)
- Certified Construction Project Manager (CCPM)
- Certified Construction Consultant (CCC)
In the Certified Constructor Inspector program, students learn how to verify construction percentages in terms of completion schedules and payment arrangements. In the Certified Construction Project Manager program, students learn how to manage a construction project. They study case studies on topics such as payment arrangements. They evaluate construction plans, monitor schedules, and summarize construction activities into a report to the client. In the Certified Construction Consultant program, students learn how to study the construction market and make professional recommendations.
Construction and building inspectors can also complete a certification program through the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. The following two certifications are available:
- National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors (NCPCCI)
- IAEI Certified Electrical Inspector (CEI)
For the first program, students learn about construction testing procedures. For the second program, students learn about the National Electrical Code and they master concepts that focus on residential wiring.
Construction, Building, and Electrical Inspection Professional Associations
Construction and building inspectors may join The Association of Construction Inspectors (ACI). The Association establishes standards and national regulations for the residential and commercial construction industry. Membership benefits include certification, guide books, conferences, networking, and partnership discounts. Members who are certified in any of the association’s programs pay $215 in annual dues. Members may be classified as an Affiliate Member who is a professional in the industry or a retired member who serves in an advisory capacity.
Construction and building inspectors may also join the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). The IAEI functions as an advocacy group for electrical inspectors in the industry. They promote uniform electrical codes. Membership benefits include a magazine subscription and discounts on annual seminars; partnership discounts on travel and insurance and auto rentals; and healthcare benefits through SecureCare.
Construction and building inspectors may also join The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAMPO). The IAMPO is a leading national code organization. Membership benefits include magazine subscription and membership in a local chapter. Inspectors may join as a regular member under either an “individual” or “government” category. Government membership dues range from $150 to $300 depending upon the group totals. Individual members pay $75 in annual dues. Professional organizations join for $425.
Members who are sixty-two years or older may join for $15. An Apprentice/Student membership is $25.