What is a Building Inspector?

A building inspector is employed by a city or township to make sure specific safety standards are in place for buildings and homes. Building inspectors enforce the building code, which has detailed and specific standards that need to be adhered to.

Buildings could be new-builds, remodeling projects, or even prospective real estate purchases that need an inspection before purchase.

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What does a Building Inspector do?

Building inspectors check the structural integrity and safety of buildings, and determine if the materials used are appropriate and comply with specific standards.

Building code is designed with a certain level of safety and construction quality in mind. Before a structure can be used, the building inspector needs to be called and brought in to thoroughly examine it, approving that it is up to code and safe for use.

A building inspector making sure a building is up to code and safe for use.

Only after the inspection has passed can the building be occupied or sold. Often, building inspectors will take a look at plans for new construction before a structure is even built. The plans are brought to the government offices for approval, thus saving time and money by identifying any issues early on.

When homeowners that are remodeling their home want to make additions or improvements, or tear down part or all of their home, they need to apply for a permit to do so. A building inspector will be involved in this process, making sure it is legally and properly done at different stages of completion.

Building inspectors tend to be meticulous and picky with their inspections. The reason for this is that if an inspector approves a building, and a serious issue develops later on, the inspector could be held liable. It would be helpful for individuals to keep this is mind, as cooperating with the inspector and listening to any of his suggestions or tips can help with quicker inspections and approvals.

Building inspectors can also flag any violations, such as a homeowner putting an unauthorized addition onto the home. The homeowner will be given a certain time period to correct the violation. If it is not corrected, the homeowner could face legal complications.

Building codes change frequently, therefore building inspectors must keep up to date on the latest additions or removals to the code.

A building inspector is typically certified in one or more disciplines, either as a commercial or residential building inspector, or a plumbing, electrical, or mechanical inspector.

Home Inspectors - check existing or newly-built residential dwellings (houses, condos and townhomes), for the structural quality and condition of the roof, garage/carport, interior and exterior walls, plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and refrigeration systems. They are typically called upon by potential homebuyers who want to see what the condition and structure of a home is before buying it.

Electrical Inspectors - inspect electrical systems to determine if they follow electrical codes and standards. They will check installed electrical wiring for appliances, lighting, wiring, motors, generating equipment, and sound and security systems.

Mechanical Inspectors - will check the installation of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) systems and equipment to determine if they work well. They also determine if boilers, commercial kitchen equipment, and gas appliances are installed and functioning properly.

Plumbing Inspectors - will check the installation of water systems, and make sure the water is potable and safe to drink. They will also make sure that waste is being disposed of in a sanitary manner by inspecting the industrial piping.

Plan Examiners - will check to make sure that the plans for a structure or a building follow building codes and standards. They also ensure that the building can withstand engineering demands and environmental stresses.

Specification Inspectors - work for the owners of a structure or a building. They make sure that the building is constructed as per the specifications of the plan. Insurance firms and financial institutions sometimes hire these types of inspectors.

Fire Inspectors - make sure that the building complies with fire codes and standards, and is not a potential fire hazards that will endanger lives and other infrastructure surrounding it.

Public Works Inspectors - are construction inspectors, and see to it that water and sewer systems, bridges, streets, dams, and highways of local, state, and federal governments are in compliance with contract specifications and do not violate the terms of the agreement already signed. They may specialize in checking ditches, dredging operations, structural steel, highways, and reinforced concrete.

Coating Inspectors - check to make sure that the painting process is followed properly on bridges, pipelines, and holding tanks, in order to ensure they are properly coated.

Elevator Inspectors - check to make sure that the mechanical and electrical control systems of escalators, hoists, elevators, lifts, moving sidewalks, amusement rides, and other lifting and conveying systems are installed correctly and working properly.

Are you suited to be a building inspector?

Building inspectors have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also conventional, meaning they’re conscientious and conservative.

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What is the workplace of a Building Inspector like?

Most building inspectors work full time, primarily during weekdays. Occasionally, some night or weekend hours may be required.

Inspectors split their time between completing evaluations of buildings on location and then in an office setting, where they draw up conclusive reports. Protective clothing and gear is often used to keep inspectors safe while in the field.

Building Inspectors are also known as:
Building and Construction Inspector Construction and Building Inspector Construction Inspector