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How Do I Become a Code Inspector?

By Rebecca Mecomber
Updated Jan 29, 2024
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To become a code inspector, you must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent thereof, such as a General Educational Development (GED®) certificate. A higher education is not necessarily required, but most employers prefer candidates with some kind of formal secondary training, such as an associate's degree or trade school certificate. Prospective employees might receive supervised training, particularly in fieldwork and code inspection procedures. Finally, an applicant must pass written tests and receive a license or certificate to officially become a code inspector. A code inspector must be very familiar with construction techniques and engineering.

Nearly every municipality maintains a set of building codes for that community. Building codes ensure that all structures in the community are constructed according to current standards for safety and accessibility. A code inspector must be knowledgeable of the code inspection regulations. He or she also must be constantly apprised of new standards that are added, such as national, state or provincial building regulations for handicapped persons. To become a code inspector is to shoulder these responsibilities as well as maintain and organize a litany of written documentation for residential and commercial buildings.

A typical day for a code inspector is divided between working in the office and working in the field. He or she might answer telephone calls from inquisitive home renovators, review blueprints for a new housing development or issue a building permit for reconstruction of a residence. The code inspector might draw up fines or receive payment for building code violations and inspect a number of residential and commercial structures for code compliance. To become a code inspector, you must juggle your vast, updated knowledge of the code regulations with on-site inspections, offering sage advice when needed and penalizing code breakers as necessary.

The code inspector must also be physically fit. Many construction sites are littered with construction tools, materials and debris. You must be able to climb ladders, squeeze through crawlspaces and handle meters and tape measures. Much of the training to become a code inspector is acquired through on-the-job by working alongside an experienced inspector. Some municipalities require on-site testing before obtaining a license of qualification.

This is an important position, and a code inspector often wields much authority and supervises others. An inspector watches over and evaluates the construction of residential and commercial buildings, ensuring that structures meet national or local electrical, plumbing, fire and building codes. Code inspectors are usually employed by their local municipalities. They issue building permits, enforcing building regulations and inspecting on-site construction for compliance. Code inspectors might also maintain zoning regulations and inspect bridges, dams, roadways and wastewater systems.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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