Construction and Building Inspectors
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Inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. Inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.
This career appears to require experience.
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Responsibilities and activities

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.

Median salary: $62,860 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $48,860 and $80,970.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for construction and building inspectors
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Construction and Building Inspectors
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of construction and building inspectors who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (63%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (55%)
  • High Conflict Frequency (44%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health (40%)
  • Unpleasant or Angry People (38%)
  • High Places (33%)
  • Hazardous Equipment (32%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Construction and Building Inspectors? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
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.
Injury and Illness
About 43 construction and building inspectors become injured or ill for every 10,000 workers, making this job more dangerous than 65% of other careers. The most common specific concerns detailed following.
Sprains, strains, tears
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by construction and building inspectors
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction and building inspectors typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as construction and building inspectors as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for construction and building inspectors

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.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for construction and building inspectors

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.

Education level of Construction and Building Inspectors
Only 29% of construction and building inspectors have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by construction and building inspectors
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
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Programs recommended by the Department of Education
The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.
Number of degrees awarded in 2018
Education level of awarded degrees
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Construction and Building Inspectors per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most construction and building inspectors? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as construction and building inspectors. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where construction and building inspectors earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for construction and building inspectors compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for construction and building inspectors.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which construction and building inspectors earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Construction and Building Inspectors (ACS)
9% of Construction and building inspectors are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 9% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 58% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of construction and building inspectors by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$54K$57K$49K$53K$51K$69K$46K$63K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Construction and building inspectors and gender
With 12% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 77% of careers.
Gender of Construction and building inspectors
Men (88%)
Women (12%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%, and the difference for construction and building inspectors tops that, with the median salary for men 23% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Construction and building inspectors
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Construction and building inspectors.
Race/origin of construction and building inspectors
White (80% )
Black (10% )
Other (3% )
Asian (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
$45K$49K$49K$53K$55K$63K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KAmerican IndianOtherBlackMultiracialWhiteAsian
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.