CHOOSING A CAREER / OCT. 06, 2014
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How to Become a Construction or Building Inspector in the US

Many people take how majestic buildings are built for granted. Without construction or building inspectors, such buildings may not exist. You too can help to make the world better to live in by becoming a construction or building inspector.

What Does a Construction or Building Inspector Do?

Employers expect construction and building inspectors to do the following tasks:

  • Liaise with architects, building designers and the client to ensure that no aspect of the upcoming building is in contravention of the building code, safety regulations, zoning requirements or other local authority ordinances.
  • Approve plans that meet all the stipulated specifications and legal requirements
  • Offer advice on improving cost-effectiveness and energy conservation without compromising the safety of the proposed building
  • Inspect the building to ascertain that it is structurally sound, the quality of the materials used is up to standard and that the workmanship is faultless.
  • Monitor construction and installation to ensure adherence to environmental regulations.
  • Issue notice when building codes and specifications are violated
  • Oversee demolition of buildings that are rendered unsafe either due to poor construction methods or damage caused by adverse weather conditions or fire

 

Qualifications

If you want to become a constructions or building inspector, you must have the following qualifications:

  • At least a high school diploma or GED
  • Be licensed and certified in the state in which you wish to practice. Certification from a recognized professional association such as the National Association of Home Inspectors, American Society of Home Inspectors and International Code Council will enhance your employability
  • Undertake on-the-job training to get experience, to familiarize yourself with:

        -   The building codes

        -   Regulations

        -   Inspection techniques

        -   Recordkeeping

        -   Citations

Reporting requirements

  • You will also need to pass a written exam administered by the relevant state authority
  • A driving license

 

Useful Skills

The following skills can help you become an effective construction or building inspector:

  • Attention to detail
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Excellent reading skills to read and interpret blueprints, plans and other technical drawings
  • Competence in the use of a variety of testing equipment such as spirit levels, multi-meters, concrete-strength measurers, circuit testers and liquid leak testers.
  • Report writing, time management and organizational skills
  • Excellent knowledge of the building, safety and environmental laws that apply to building construction

Salary

The table below shows the median wage for three levels:

Entry level

 

$32050

Mid career

 

$53450

Experienced

 

$83760

 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment

Building or construction inspectors work regular hours, and they are rarely called on at other times unless there is an emergency, such as a collapsed building. They spend most of their time in the field, although they also work in offices filing reports, updating their inspection logs and reading up on the latest building and construction codes. Site visits can be hazardous, so you will always need to wear a hardhat and protective clothing during inspection. You may also have to contend with heights, depths and cramped spaces when inspecting different types of buildings.

Career Prospects

The job outlook is positive as concerns over safety and environmental sustainability continue to take center stage. Inspectors are hired both in the public sector by state and federal governments and in the private sector by architectural and engineering firms and real estate inspection companies.

If you think these prospects are bright, then go on and make this occupation your first career choice.

Image Source: Blog.manufacturedhomes.com

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