Summary Guide for Construction and Building Inspectors in California
May also be called: Architectural Inspectors; Building Code Administrators; Building Officials; Code Inspectors; Construction Inspectors
Specialties within this occupation include: Electrical Inspectors; Elevator Inspectors; Home Inspectors; Mechanical Inspectors; Plumbing Inspectors; Public Works Inspectors; Specification Inspectors
What Would I Do?
Construction and Building Inspectors examine buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures. Inspectors ensure that construction, alterations, or repairs comply with building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. Inspectors make an initial inspection during the first phase of construction and follow up with additional inspections throughout the construction project.
Green Economy: Construction and Building Inspectors are expected to play an important role in the green economy by inspecting new and retrofitted buildings as well as working with governmental and regulatory agencies.
Construction and Building Inspectors usually work alone. However, several may be assigned to large, complex projects, particularly because Inspectors tend to specialize in different areas of construction. Inspectors may have to climb ladders, many flights of stairs, or crawl around in tight spaces. Although their work generally is not considered hazardous, Inspectors, like other construction workers, must wear hardhats and adhere to other safety requirements while at construction sites, many of which are dirty and may be cluttered with tools, materials, or debris.
Inspectors normally work 40-hour weeks; however, they may work additional hours during periods of increased construction or if an accident occurs at a construction site. When construction work is decreased, Inspectors sometimes switch to inspecting renovation work or attend training. Inspectors who work for private firms or who are self-employed may have a varied work schedule, at times working evenings and weekends.
Will This Job Fit Me?
The job of Construction and Building Inspector may appeal to those who prefer work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions; working outside; and following set procedures and routines while working with data and details.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2016 for Construction and Building Inspectors in California was $83,609 annually, or $40.20 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Benefits vary by employer, but generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Those who are self-employed are responsible for their own insurance and retirement plans.
What is the Job Outlook?
Concern for public safety and a desire to improve the quality of construction should continue to stimulate demand for Construction and Building Inspectors in government, as well as in firms specializing in architectural, engineering, and related services. Those who are self-employed are more likely to be affected by economic ups and downs in the real estate market. Inspectors with construction experience or those with a degree; certification; or knowledge of green and sustainable design, engineering, or architecture should have the best job prospects. Inspectors with knowledge of green standards and practices from the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) may also find more job opportunities.
How Do I Qualify?
Most employers require at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, even for workers with considerable experience. More often, employers look for persons who have a degree from a community college with coursework in engineering, architecture, building inspection, home inspection, construction technology, drafting, or mathematics. Many community colleges offer certificate or associate degree programs in building inspection technology. A growing number of Construction and Building Inspectors are also entering the occupation with a bachelor's degree, which often can substitute for experience.
Finding a Job
Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at colleges and universities. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
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