Building Inspection

Building inspectors make sure structures meet government and safety regulatory requirements. Read about the job duties of building inspectors and the process to become one, in addition to the job outlook and potential salary for this field.

Is Building Inspection for Me?

Career Summary

When structures and buildings are being built or modified, it is the responsibility of building inspectors to ensure that the structures comply with city codes and regulations. As an inspector, if you find that a code has been violated, you must notify the building's owner of the violation and make recommendations to correct the problem. Other responsibilities include reviewing and examining blueprints and building plans before construction begins. You also spend a significant amount of time at construction sites and should be prepared to work in dusty and noisy locations.

You should have strong organizational skills, as you will be required to keep daily logs and visual records of the construction process. You will likely have the option to work independently as a building inspector.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that construction and building inspectors were anticipated to experience a 12% growth in job opportunities between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). Inspectors who have experience in construction or who are certified in construction inspection are likely to have the best job prospects. Building inspection workers made a median annual income of $54,450 in 2013.

How Can I Become a Building Inspector?

Education Options

Most employers prefer applicants who have completed high school. You usually work with an experienced building inspector to learn the basics of the profession. This experience can sometimes be substituted with completion of a degree in construction technology or building inspection technology.

An associate degree in building inspection technology teaches you construction codes, blueprint reviews and communication skills. Some associate programs help you find internship opportunities, in addition to classroom instruction. You can take a variety of core building inspection courses, including engineering and structural principles, disabled access codes, masonry inspection and principles of steel construction.

Licensing and Certification

License and certification requirements vary between each state, so it's a good idea to explore the prerequisites of the state you wish to work in before pursuing employment. Certification can be a good way for you to gain advancement or improve your job prospects. The International Code Council offers a wide range of designations, such as Certified Electrical Code Official, Certified Plumbing Code Official and Certified Building Code Official (www.iccsafe.org). Most certifications require satisfactory completion of a set of exams. The diversity of designation options allows you to find a certification that fits your area of expertise.

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