Construction or Building Inspector

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Salary Range: $60,000 to $79,999

Average Hourly: $30.22

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Number of Jobs: 129,300

Jobs Added to 2029: -3,800

Growth: Decline

Go here to see salary and job data specific to the United Kingdom.

What Construction and Building Inspectors Do

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


Construction and building inspectors typically do the following:

  • Review building plans and approve those that meet requirements
  • Monitor construction sites periodically to ensure overall compliance
  • Use equipment and testing devices, such as moisture meters to check for plumbing leaks or flooding damage and electrical testers to ensure that electrical components are functional
  • Inspect plumbing, electrical, and other systems to ensure that they meet code
  • Use survey equipment to verify alignment, level, and elevation of structures and ensure building meets specifications
  • Issue violation notices and stop-work orders if building is not compliant
  • Keep daily logs, which may include digital images from inspections
  • Document findings in writing

Construction and building inspectors ensure safety compliance of buildings, dams, bridges, and other structures; highways and streets; and sewer and water systems. They also inspect electrical; heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR); and plumbing systems. Inspectors typically check a project several times: for an initial check in the early construction phase, for followup inspections as the project progresses, and for a comprehensive examination after its completion. At each inspection, they may provide written or oral feedback about their findings.

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

Building inspectors check the structural quality, architectural requirements, and general safety of buildings. Some building inspectors focus on fire prevention and safety. Fire inspectors and investigators ensure that buildings meet fire codes.

Coating inspectors examine the exterior paint and coating on bridges, pipelines, and large holding tanks. In their checks throughout the painting process, inspectors ensure that protective layers are correctly applied.

Electrical inspectors examine a building’s installed electrical systems to ensure compliance and proper functioning. These systems may include new and existing sound and security systems, lighting, photovoltaic systems, generating equipment, and 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. They inspect both the mechanical and electrical control systems.

Home inspectors typically examine houses, condominiums, townhomes, and other dwellings to report on their structure and overall condition. Home sellers or home buyers, or both, may seek inspectors’ objective assessment of a dwelling before placing it on the market or submitting an offer.

In addition to checking structural quality, home inspectors examine home systems and features, including the roof, foundation, interior and exterior walls, and plumbing, electrical, and HVACR systems. They may identify violations of building codes but do not have the authority to enforce compliance.

Mechanical inspectors examine HVACR systems and equipment to ensure that they are installed and function properly. They also may inspect commercial kitchen equipment, gas-fired appliances, and boilers. Mechanical inspectors’ work differs from that of quality control inspectors, who inspect goods at manufacturing plants.

Plans examiners determine whether the plans for a building or other structure comply with adopted building codes, regulations, and ordinances.

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

Public works inspectors ensure that the construction of federal, state, and local government water and sewer systems; roads and bridges; and dams conforms to specifications. They may specialize in projects such as highways, structural steel, or dredging operations required for bridges, dams, or harbors.

Special inspectors ensure that critical construction work, such as high-strength concrete, steel fabrication, and welding, is installed and tested according to design specifications. Special inspectors represent the owner’s interests, not those of the general public. Insurance companies and financial institutions also may use their services.

Work Environment

Construction and building inspectors held about 129,300 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of construction and building inspectors were as follows:
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 33%
Engineering services 17
Self-employed workers 11
Construction 6
State government, excluding education and hospitals 4

Although construction and building inspectors spend most of their time examining worksites, they also spend time in an office reviewing blueprints, writing reports, and scheduling inspections.

Some inspectors climb ladders or crawl in tight spaces as part of their work.

Inspectors typically work alone. However, inspectors may work as part of a team on large, complex projects, particularly if they specialize in one area of construction.

Work Schedules

Most inspectors work full time during regular business hours. However, some work additional hours during periods of heavy construction. Also, if an accident occurs at a construction site, inspectors must respond immediately and may work additional hours to complete their report. Some inspectors—especially those who are self-employed—work evenings and weekends. This is particularly true of home inspectors, who typically inspect homes during the day and write reports in the evening.

Job Outlook

Employment of construction and building inspectors is projected to decline 3 percent from 2020 to 2030.

Despite declining employment, about 14,300 openings for construction and building inspectors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

How to Become a Construction or Building Inspector

Construction and building inspectors usually need a high school diploma and work experience in a construction trade to enter the occupation. They typically learn on the job to attain competency. Many states and localities require some type of license or certification.


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

Some employers may seek candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or architecture or who have another postsecondary credential. Many community colleges offer a certificate or an associate’s degree program in building inspection technology and have courses in building inspection, home inspection, construction technology, and drafting. 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.

Some jurisdictions require that construction and building inspectors take continuing education courses to maintain their credentials.


Training requirements vary by state, locality, and type of inspector. In general, construction and building inspectors receive much of their training on the job. Construction and building inspectors learn building codes and standards as a prerequisite to obtaining their license and through continuing education. 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

Employers may prefer to hire 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 get experience in multiple specialties and enter the occupation with a combination of certifications and experience.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states and localities 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 International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.

Similarly, most states require home inspectors to follow defined trade practices or to get a state-issued license or certification.

Home inspector license or certification requirements vary by state but may require that inspectors have experience with inspections, maintain liability insurance, and pass an exam.

Many states use the National Home Inspector Examination as part of the licensing process. Most inspectors must renew their license periodically and take continuing education courses.

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


Construction and building inspectors may advance to become a plans examiner or building official. Advancement opportunities may require additional education, along with experience as a construction or building inspector. 

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Inspectors must be able to explain problems they discover and to write a report that clearly describes their findings.

Detail oriented. Inspectors thoroughly examine many different construction activities. They must pay close attention so as not to overlook any details.

Mechanical knowledge. Inspectors use a variety of testing equipment to check complex systems and must therefore understand how the systems operate.

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

United Kingdom Job Data


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Construction and Building Inspectors, at (visited ).