Career as a Construction Inspector

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Construction inspectors basically examine buildings, water and sewerage systems, streets and highways, bridges, dams and other kinds of structures. They ensure that the construction, alteration and repairs if any are compliant with building ordinances and codes, contract specifications and zoning regulations. Building standards and codes are primary requirements and means by which regulation of building construction is done in the United States. This is solely for the safety and health of the public. All these construction codes are designed, standardized, published and regulated by the International Code Council (ICC). However, some localities have a few additional codes and ordinances that are added to the National Model Codes.

Job Profile/ Description/ Responsibilities

As a construction inspector you are required to monitor building's construction and ensure that it's compliant with the regulations. The first inspection of the building is to be done when the construction is in the initial phase. Follow ups have to be conducted throughout the duration of construction. Inspections can vary as well, for instance, when weather conditions become severe or there are natural disasters, the building inspector needs to monitor the compliance issues and check if they are according to the safety regulations, apart from the regular standards. They need to ensure that the building is designed specifically for the protection of the occupants and is capable of standing sever natural calamities.


Academic - To start with a minimum high school diploma or an equivalent degree would be necessary to apply for the job. Even if the candidate has prior work experience, it would be dealt as a minimal criterion for the post of a building inspector which includes huge responsibility. One misjudgment and lives could be at stake. So a high school diploma guarantees you at least a 30% chance of getting the job. Employers also look for students from an Architectural Engineering background. Candidates with a degree from community college in building inspection, construction technology, home inspection, mathematics and drafting would be preferred. Many colleges do offer associate or certificate degree programs in construction engineering and building inspection technology. There are also courses available in algebra; blueprint reading, geometry which could act like an added advantage while looking for employment. Entering the field with a college degree serves instead of previous experience at times.

Skill Sets - Construction inspectors need to have an impeccable understanding of written documents related to the job. They need to be active listeners and give full attention to what is being said by the construction professionals. They need to be critical thinkers, hence logical reasoning abilities in order to identify weaknesses and suggest strengths of the alternative solutions would be necessary. Active learning and understanding of the implications of relatively new information for decision making and problem solving is also essential. Time management, social perceptiveness and quality control analysis are other skills required.

Training - Training differs on the basis of the kind of inspector you are. Construction inspectors usually acquire most of their training while on the job. And by working with an instructor who is experienced helps them learn techniques for the job as well. As a trainee, one would attend to supervised inspections on-site at the same time going through assigned reading and learn to build standards and codes.

Prior Experience - As mentioned in academic requirements, a college degree usually can be a substitute for prior experience. Training also qualifies as prior experience.
Employment outlook

Career Prospects - In 2006 alone 110,000 jobs were held by construction inspectors alone. 41% of them were employed by local governments. 26% were employed by engineering and architectural services. Only 1 in 10 building inspectors was self employed. So this proves that the scope for the job is quite vast. The employment prospects are expected to increase by about 18% in the 2006 to 2016 decade and this increase is anticipated to be faster than any other occupation's average. Even during the recession, losing jobs is unlikely as inspectors are also required during repair and maintenance work.

Salary - The annual income of construction inspectors was $46,570 in 2006. It has now risen to $56,000 per year. And with the expected estimated growth, it is going to increase much more. Again, those employed in metropolitan areas are paid higher than those employed in smaller jurisdictions.

Benefits of being a construction inspector vary quite a bit. Those who work for both private companies as well as the government usually receive benefits like medical and health insurance plan, annual leave and retirement plans. However, self employed inspectors do not enjoy these benefits.
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