Construction Inspector Training Programs and Requirements
Construction inspectors review the construction of drainage systems, homes, buildings and highways to ensure that all building, health and safety codes are followed. Construction inspector training is available through colleges and universities and includes instruction in construction technology, code compliance and building inspection.
Training Requirements and Recommendations
A standard track for receiving construction inspector training isn't in place; however, many employers prefer, if not require, construction inspector applicants to possess an associate's degree. While some candidates gain formal training through college programs, others learn through hands-on training in construction. Many candidates even have a combination of college training and experience. At times, employers may consider experience or professional certifications in place of a degree. Architects and engineers also have the background needed to work in construction inspection.
While bachelor's degree programs in construction are available, employers more commonly request associate's degree holders; experienced construction workers seeking formal training often pursue certificate programs. Students learn the foundations of construction inspection through participation in labs, lectures and cooperative work experiences.
Certificate in Construction Inspection
A construction inspector certificate program can typically be completed in a year or less and prepares students to pass the licensing exams that are required by many states. Certificate programs provide instruction in different areas, such as electrical and structural construction, inspection regulations, framing and plumbing. Some programs may offer specializations, including residential or commercial inspection and updated codes.
Associate of Applied Science in Building Inspection Technology
Students learn to perform inspections on electrical systems, building structures and plumbing for building code compliance and fire safety. The procedures for writing correction notices and building code reports are taught. Class topics may include construction material composition, blueprint reading, water drainage and soils.
Associate of Applied Science in Construction Technology
Construction technology students learn about building tools, design plans and materials. Techniques in milling, framing, roofing and finishing are studied to create masonry, wooden and concrete constructions. Skills are gained in construction preparation, cost estimating, site surveying and project management.
The majority of construction and building inspectors are employed by local and state governments, but a substantial number also work for private engineering or architectural companies. Opportunities are best for construction managers and inspectors with extensive field experience or formal construction training. Individuals who completed a college training program have usually participated in at least one internship experience. Employers, however, often require 2-5 years of supervised construction experience for entry-level inspector positions and more than ten years for senior level inspector positions. Experience in a particular sub-field, such as transportation or residential construction, may be required.
Licenses and Certifications
Some states require construction inspectors to be licensed or certified. Although requirements vary by state, applicants generally need to meet minimum education and experience standards before passing an exam. Additionally, voluntary certifications are often preferred by employers and available from organizations, such as the International Code Council (www.iccsafe.org), which offers credentials for residential building inspectors and certified building officials. The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (www.nicet.org) offers three levels of certification in specific construction fields, including construction materials testing and building construction. Voluntary certifications are typically valid for three years, and continuing education is required to maintain certification and state licensure.
Workshops and Seminars
Local governments and industry associations often sponsor educational workshops and seminars, which can last for a few hours or a full day. Topics include pre-construction project preparation, final inspection procedures, risk management and code compliance. Construction-related websites may also host a series of webinars on topics of interest to construction inspectors.
Additional Professional Development
Construction inspectors can look to printed materials for everyday training. These references may include regulatory reference books, inspector handbooks and construction magazines. Participation in online message boards is possible, as well as subscribing to construction-related bulletins.
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