Building Inspector

Hwo to Become a Building Inspector
Building Inspector Job Duties
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Building Inspector
Building Inspector Salaries
Influential Professionals In This Field
Leading Organizations For Building Inspectors
Top Cities for Building Inspector Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Building Inspector

Most employers of building inspectors require at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, even for inspectors with ample experience. Employers are looking for people who have an architectural or engineering background or a degree from a community college with classes in inspection, drafting, construction technology, and mathematics. Classes in algebra, geometry, blueprint reading, and English are also beneficial. Several community colleges offer an associate's degree or certification in building inspection. A growing number of inspectors are entering the profession with a college degree, which can substitute for prior experience.

In general, building inspectors receive ample on the job training, but they must learn building codes and standards on their own. On the job training usually occurs under the guidance of an experienced inspector who will teach them inspection techniques, ordinances and regulations, contract specifications, and recordkeeping and reporting obligations.

Many states and jurisdictions require some type of license or certification for building inspectors. These requirements vary, so prospective building inspectors should check the requirements of the area where they wish to work. Typically licensing or certification requirements include previous experience, a minimum level of educational attainment, and the passing of an examination.

What does a Building Inspector do?

A building inspector examines buildings to ensure that construction, alteration, or repair complies with building codes, ordinances, zoning, and contract requirements. In the United States, building codes are the primary regulation on construction for the health and safety of the public. Building inspectors will conduct multiple inspections throughout the construction process, focusing on the structural integrity and general safety of the building. Fire safety is also a primary concern for building inspectors. The number of inspections conducted for a given building varies based on its size, type, and speed of completion.

Inspections are primarily visual, but building inspectors may use tape measures, surveying instruments, metering devices, and other equipment to aid their inspection. Inspectors keep a log of their observations, take photographs, and write reports. Increasingly, inspectors are using laptop computers and other portable electronic devices at inspection sites to document their findings, and possibly notify the proper authorities if something does not pass inspection.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Building Inspector?

Employers prefer applicants who have both formal training and experience in the field because building inspection requires a balance of technical skills, experience, and education. Many individuals new to building inspection have previously worked in some aspect of construction. Building inspectors must have a broad range of knowledge regarding several specialties. Building inspectors should also have physical stamina to conduct their inspections and a driver's license and vehicle to ensure prompt arrival at all appointments.

How much do Building Inspectors make?

Building inspectors who work in large metropolitan areas tend to make substantially more money than those working in rural areas. In 2006 the median annual earnings for all building and construction inspectors were $46,570. The middle fifty percent earned between $36,610 and $58,780 per year.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Stephen I. Shapiro is the current president of the International Code Council Board of Directors. He has been involved in code enforcement for twenty nine years, most of them in Hampton, Virginia where he serves as the Director of Codes Compliance. In his role as Director of Codes Compliance, Shapiro is responsible for oversight of new construction, property maintenance, and zoning. He has been an active participant in the International Code Council since 1983, serving on several committees.

Adolf A. Zubia is the Vice President of the International Code Council Board of Directors and the Fire Chief for Las Cruces, New Mexico. He has been a member of the International Code Council Board of Directors since 2003 and currently chairs the Fire and Life Safety Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He has previously served as President of the New Mexico's Fire Chief Association.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

In 1994 the nation's three model code groups, Building Officials and Code Administrators International, International Conference of Building Officials, and Southern Building Code Congress International, came together as the International Code Council to develop a single, comprehensive set of building codes. This organization was founded on the belief that consistent codes across the nation can lead to a more efficient use of resources and better construction. The ICC has put together a comprehensive set of codes for each aspect of construction that are coordinated with one another. Members of this organization receive assistance in applying the codes, opportunities for education and certification, plan reviews, and regular publications.

What are the top cities for Building Inspector jobs?

One of the top cities for aspiring building inspectors to find work is currently Indianapolis, Indiana. Indianapolis is closely followed by Charlotte, North Carolina and New York City. Building inspectors who prefer states farther to the west might want to look at opportunities available in Houston, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona.

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