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Working as a Construction Inspector

What Does a Construction Inspector Do

Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.

Duties

Construction and building inspectors typically do the following:

  • Review plans to ensure they meet building codes, local ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications
  • Approve building plans that are satisfactory
  • Monitor construction sites periodically to ensure overall compliance
  • Use survey instruments, metering devices, and test equipment to perform inspections
  • Inspect plumbing, electrical, and other systems to ensure that they meet code
  • Verify alignment, level, and elevation of structures to ensure building meets specifications
  • Issue violation notices and stop-work orders until building is compliant
  • Keep daily logs, including photographs taken during inspections
  • Provide written documentation of findings

People want to live and work in safe places, and construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets codified requirements. Construction and building inspectors examine buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures. They also inspect electrical; heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR); and plumbing systems. Although no two inspections are alike, inspectors perform an initial check during the first phase of construction and followup inspections throughout the construction project. When the project is finished, they perform a final, comprehensive inspection and provide written and oral feedback related to their findings.

The following are examples of types of construction and building inspectors:

Building inspectors check the structural quality and general safety of buildings. Some specialize further, inspecting only structural steel or reinforced-concrete structures, for example.

Coating inspectors examine the exterior paint and coating on bridges, pipelines, and large holding tanks. Inspectors perform checks at various stages of the painting process to ensure proper coating.

Electrical inspectors examine the installed electrical systems to ensure they function properly and comply with electrical codes and standards. The inspectors visit worksites to inspect new and existing sound and security systems, wiring, lighting, motors, photovoltaic systems, and generating equipment. They also inspect the installed electrical wiring for HVACR systems and appliances.

Elevator inspectors examine lifting and conveying devices, such as elevators, escalators, moving sidewalks, lifts and hoists, inclined railways, ski lifts, and amusement rides. The inspections include both the mechanical and electrical control systems.

Home inspectors typically inspect newly built or previously owned homes, condominiums, townhomes, and other dwellings. Prospective home buyers often hire home inspectors to check and report on a home’s structure and overall condition. Sometimes, homeowners hire a home inspector to evaluate their home’s condition before placing it on the market.

In addition to examining structural quality, home inspectors examine all home systems and features, including the roof, exterior walls, attached garage or carport, foundation, interior, plumbing, electrical, and HVACR systems. They look for violations of building codes, but home inspectors do not have the power to enforce compliance with the codes.

Mechanical inspectors examine the installation of HVACR systems and equipment to ensure that they are installed and function properly. They may also inspect commercial kitchen equipment, gas-fired appliances, and boilers. Mechanical inspectors should not be confused with quality control inspectors, who inspect goods at manufacturing plants.

Plan examiners determine whether the plans for a building or other structure comply with building codes. They also determine whether the structure is suited to the engineering and environmental demands of the building site.

Plumbing inspectors examine the installation of systems that ensure the safety and health of drinking water, the sanitary disposal of waste, and the safety of industrial piping.

Public works inspectors ensure that the construction of federal, state, and local government water and sewer systems, highways, streets, bridges, and dams conforms to detailed contract specifications. Workers inspect excavation and fill operations, the placement of forms for concrete, concrete mixing and pouring, asphalt paving, and grading operations. Public works inspectors may specialize in highways, structural steel, reinforced concrete, or ditches. Others may specialize in dredging operations required for bridges, dams, or harbors.

Specification inspectors ensure that construction work is performed according to design specifications. Specification inspectors represent the owner’s interests, not those of the general public. Insurance companies and financial institutions also may use their services.

Some building inspectors are concerned with fire prevention safety. Fire inspectors and investigators ensure that buildings meet fire codes.

How To Become a Construction Inspector

Most employers require construction and building inspectors to have at least a high school diploma and considerable knowledge of construction trades. Inspectors typically learn on the job. Many states and local jurisdictions require some type of license or certification.

Education

Most employers require inspectors to have at least a high school diploma, even for workers who have considerable related work experience.

Employers also seek candidates who have studied engineering or architecture or who have a certificate or an associate’s degree that includes courses in building inspection, home inspection, construction technology, and drafting. Many community colleges offer programs in building inspection technology. Courses in blueprint reading, vocational subjects, algebra, geometry, and writing are also useful. Courses in business management are helpful for those who plan to run their own inspection business.

A growing number of construction and building inspectors are entering the occupation with a bachelor’s degree, which can often substitute for related work experience.

Training

Training requirements vary by state, locality, and type of inspector. In general, construction and building inspectors receive much of their training on the job, although they must learn building codes and standards on their own. Working with an experienced inspector, they learn about inspection techniques; codes, ordinances, and regulations; contract specifications; and recordkeeping and reporting duties. Training also may include supervised onsite inspections.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Because inspectors must possess the right mix of technical knowledge, work experience, and education, employers prefer applicants who have both training and experience in a construction trade. For example, many inspectors have experience working as carpenters, electricians, or plumbers. Many home inspectors combine knowledge of multiple specialties, so many of them enter the occupation having a combination of certifications and previous experience in various construction trades.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states and local jurisdictions require construction and building inspectors to have a license or certification. Some states have individual licensing programs for construction and building inspectors. Others may require certification by associations such as the International Code Council, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, and the National Fire Protection Association.

Similarly, most states require home inspectors to follow defined trade practices or obtain a state-issued license or certification. Currently, 36 states have policies regulating the conduct of home inspectors; a few states are considering adding licensure or certification requirements for home inspectors.

Home inspector license or certification requirements vary by state but may require that inspectors do the following:

  • Achieve a specified level of education
  • Possess experience with inspections
  • Maintain liability insurance
  • Pass an exam

The exam is often based on the American Society of Home Inspectors and National Association of Home Inspectors certification exams. Most inspectors must renew their license periodically and take continuing education courses.

Inspectors must have a valid driver’s license because they must travel to inspection sites.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Inspectors must have good communication skills in order to explain any problems they find and to help people understand what is needed to fix the problems. In addition, they need to provide a written report of their findings.

Craft experience. Inspectors perform checks and inspections throughout the construction project. Experience in a related construction occupation provides inspectors with the necessary background to become certified.

Detail oriented. Inspectors must thoroughly examine many different construction activities, often at the same time. Therefore, they must pay close attention to detail so as to not overlook any items that need to be checked.

Mechanical knowledge. Inspectors use a variety of testing equipment as they check complex systems. In order to perform tests properly, they also must have detailed knowledge of how the systems operate.

Physical stamina. Inspectors are constantly on their feet and often must crawl through attics and other tight spaces. As a result, they should be somewhat physically fit.

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Average Salary$56,094
Job Growth Rate7%

Construction Inspector Jobs

Construction Inspector Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Construction Inspector. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Construction Inspector Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Construction Inspector resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Construction Inspector Career Paths

Top Careers Before Construction Inspector

Top Careers After Construction Inspector

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Construction Inspector

Construction Inspectors in America make an average salary of $56,094 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $73,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $42,000 per year.
Average Salary
$56,094

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range51k - 88k$67k$67,363
Salary Range46k - 83k$62k$62,498
Salary Range46k - 82k$62k$61,693
Salary Range41k - 84k$59k$58,774
Salary Range42k - 78k$58k$57,597
Salary Range41k - 73k$55k$55,309
$32k
$88k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Construction Inspector I
Construction Inspector I
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)
Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$48,94010/30/2020
$48,940
Construction Inspector I
Construction Inspector I
Cobb County Police Department
Cobb County Police Department
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$41,76110/23/2020
$41,761
Transportation Construction Inspector
Transportation Construction Inspector
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
10/21/2020
10/21/2020
$39,90210/21/2020
$39,902
Construction Management Inspector
Construction Management Inspector
Clark County, Nv
Clark County, Nv
10/20/2020
10/20/2020
$55,01310/20/2020
$55,013
Construction Inspector-Transportation Generalist Senior/Transportation Generalist
Construction Inspector-Transportation Generalist Senior/Transportation Generalist
State of Minnesota
State of Minnesota
10/13/2020
10/13/2020
$46,91710/13/2020
$46,917
See More Recent Salaries

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Construction Inspector Demographics

Gender

male

86.5%

female

9.9%

unknown

3.7%

Ethnicity

White

74.2%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Black or African American

7.7%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

54.6%

French

7.2%

Arabic

6.2%
See More Demographics

Construction Inspector Education

Degrees

Bachelors

50.1%

Associate

17.7%

Masters

11.5%

Top Colleges for Construction Inspectors

1. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

Tuition and fees
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA

Tuition and fees
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN

Tuition and fees
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

4. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA

Tuition and fees
$15,887
Enrollment
23,202

5. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

Tuition and fees
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Tuition and fees
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

7. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI

Tuition and fees
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Tuition and fees
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

10. University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition and fees
$13,226
Enrollment
31,568
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Construction Inspector

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Construction Inspector

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.7% of construction inspectors listed construction activities on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and math skills are important as well.

Best States For a Construction Inspector

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a construction inspector. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Construction inspectors make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $68,089. Whereas in Massachusetts and Connecticut, they would average $67,939 and $67,072, respectively. While construction inspectors would only make an average of $67,034 in New Hampshire, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Construction Inspector Jobs:
22
Highest 10% Earn:
$109,000
Location Quotient:
1.22
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Vermont

Total Construction Inspector Jobs:
15
Highest 10% Earn:
$98,000
Location Quotient:
2.17
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Connecticut

Total Construction Inspector Jobs:
39
Highest 10% Earn:
$112,000
Location Quotient:
1.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

Construction Inspector Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a construction inspector. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless construction inspector resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Construction Inspector Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless construction inspector resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Construction Inspector Employers

1. Missouri Department of Transportation
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$43,686
Construction Inspectors Hired: 
36+
2. Parsons
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$73,894
Construction Inspectors Hired: 
33+
3. PARKING PLAZA @ KCI
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$49,199
Construction Inspectors Hired: 
32+
4. AECOM
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$62,702
Construction Inspectors Hired: 
32+
5. Tectonic Engineering
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$60,533
Construction Inspectors Hired: 
23+
6. Erdman Anthony
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$61,851
Construction Inspectors Hired: 
22+

Construction Inspector Videos

Recently Added Construction Inspector Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020