What Are The Different Types Of Building Inspectors?

Construction and building inspectors perform a very crucial job of making sure that the buildings and structures that people move in and out of are safe. By making sure that only infrastructure that complies with building codes, ordinances and zoning laws are allowed to be constructed, they do the public a great service by ensuring that buildings don’t just collapse any time.

While they are known under the umbrella term of building inspectors, there are actually different types of inspectors. Strictly speaking, the job of building inspectors entails checking the structural integrity and safety of offices, skyscrapers and other buildings. They determine if the materials used are appropriate and if other components like their alignment, level and elevation comply with the standards.

Home inspectors, on the other hand, specialize in inspection of newly-constructed or existing residential dwellings such as townhomes, condominiums and previously-owned homes. They also look at its structural quality by checking the condition of the roofing, carport, interior and exterior walls, plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Although they cannot enforce compliance with building codes, home inspectors still report any violations in the structure. Home inspectors are generally called upon by potential homebuyers who want to see what the condition and structure is of a home before they purchase it. In some cases, homeowners who are thinking of selling their home will also hire a home inspector to check their home and determine its value before they put it up for sale.

Electrical inspectors scrutinize installed electrical systems to determine if they work as they should and follow electrical codes and standards. They check the wiring, lighting, sound and security systems, motors, generating equipment and the installed electrical wiring for appliances as well as that of heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) systems. It should be made clear that mechanical inspectors are the ones who will check the installation of the HVACR systems and equipment itself to determine if they work well. Moreover, mechanical inspectors also determine if boilers, commercial kitchen equipment and gas-fired appliances are installed and functioning correctly.

Plumbing inspectors see to it that drinking water systems are installed properly and that the water is potable and safe to drink. They also inspect industrial piping and check if waste is being disposed of in a sanitary manner.

Plan examiners are inspectors that check if the plans for buildings and other structures follow building codes and standards. They see to it that the structure is able to withstand the environmental stresses and engineering demands of a particular site. Specification inspectors, on the other hand, work for the owners of buildings and other structures. They see to it that the building is being constructed according to the specifications in the plan. They are sometimes hired by insurance firms and financial institutions.

Fire prevention is very important as buildings that don’t meet fire codes are fire hazards that could potentially endanger lives and other infrastructure surrounding it. The task of ensuring that buildings comply with fire codes and standards goes to fire inspectors and investigators who are also considered as construction and building inspectors.

Public works inspectors are construction inspectors who see to it that the water and sewer systems, streets, bridges, highways and dams of federal, state and local governments are in compliance with the specifications in the contract. They check that the various operations involved in the construction of these public works projects do not violate the terms of the agreement already signed. Depending on their area of expertise, they may specialize in checking ditches, dredging operations, structural steel, highways and reinforced concrete.

Other types of construction and building inspectors are coating inspectors and elevator inspectors. Coating inspectors check that the painting process is properly followed on bridges, holding tanks and pipelines in order to ensure that these pieces of infrastructure are properly coated. Elevator inspectors, meanwhile, check that the mechanical and electrical control systems of lifts, elevators, hoists, escalators, amusement rides, moving sidewalks and other lifting and conveying devices are correctly installed and working properly.

The career outlook of building inspectors looks promising in the next few years, with the employment rate set to grow 12 percent. The demand will be fueled by the growing concern for public safety and the need to enhance the quality of building construction in the country.

Career Spotlight: Building Inspector

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