Building Inspector: Job Duties, Employment Outlook, and Training Requirements
A building inspector evaluates a structure for safety and soundness. Learn about the job duties for this occupation, and get information on employment prospects and training options. Schools offering Home Inspection degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Are My Job Duties as a Building Inspector?
As a building inspector, you're responsible for reviewing a building's structural soundness and safety features. You may verify that building codes, ordinances, contract requirements and zoning regulations are met for the structure before it's built, as it's being built and after construction is completed. Early in the building process, you may check the structure's foundation and make sure it is safe and that the ground is stable. At later stages in the building's development, you'll make sure it has the necessary fire exits, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems and other alarm systems in accordance with local and state requirements.
Most of your inspection work is done on a visual basis, but you may use a variety of instruments to measure finer details. You'll keep records of your building visits because you may be expected to follow up on your findings. If you find that building codes or permit procedures have been violated and not corrected in a timely manner, then you may report your findings to halt that building's operations.
How Is My Employment Outlook?
Your building inspector job prospects look favorable, since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2008 that the profession would grow by 17% through 2018 (www.bls.gov). Public safety concerns and improved building technology may be responsible for this growth. A PayScale.com search in May 2011 showed that if you earn what most building inspectors do, then your annual salary could range from $32,623 to $61,277. According to the BLS in 2008, local governments employed 44% of building inspectors, and you may enjoy better job opportunities with certification and training.
What Are My Training Requirements?
You will need a high school diploma to be considered for employment, but many employers may favor candidates with college-level experience in architecture, engineering, building inspection or construction technology. You can enroll in an associate's degree program that focuses on building inspection technology. As a building inspection technology student, you may take courses in fire safety, blueprint reading, mechanical codes, electrical inspection and structural assessment as well as go on field visits to inspect construction sites.
Many states have certification requirements you must fulfill before you may practice as a building inspector. You can earn numerous, relevant certifications through the International Code Council (ICC), such as commercial building inspector or residential building inspector (www.iccsafe.org). For each certification, you will need to pass an examination that deals with numerous aspects of building codes, features and procedures. You will also need to keep track of changes in building codes and meet continuing education requirements to keep your certification.
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