What Does a Concrete Inspector Do?

B. Leslie Baird
B. Leslie Baird
Cracked concrete.
Cracked concrete.

A concrete inspector performs a variety of tasks during construction projects. Inspectors verify that the correct type of concrete is used and that is it poured to the right depth. They also check the mix of concrete being used, what reinforcements are necessary, and how weather conditions affected the work, such as the way the concrete cured. An inspector is also responsible for insuring that final concrete work meets code requirements, which can be vital to the structural integrity of buildings and roadways.

A closeup of a crack in concrete.
A closeup of a crack in concrete.

Education is necessary to prepare to become a concrete inspector. This training typically includes a basic knowledge of chemistry, math, and blueprint-reading, as well as general building inspection and code requirements. Inspectors must also understand Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. Most employers require a minimum of a high school diploma and experience in this field, but a two-year degree, and sometimes more education than that, is the average requirement.

Wet concrete being poured.
Wet concrete being poured.

Certifications in concrete inspection can usually be obtained through various trade schools and agencies. Having one of these certifications can provide better opportunities for employment in the industry. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) is one group that provides such accredited training. International certification programs are also available. Concrete inspectors often start out as concrete laborers or finishers, allowing them to learn the entire process — and all the included facets — of concrete work.

A man smoothing out a concrete floor.
A man smoothing out a concrete floor.

Inspectors should fully understand the final cured strength of various concrete mixes. They must know the differences in how concrete cures, depending on weather conditions, because heat, cold, and moisture all affect how concrete cures, or hardens. The thickness of poured concrete is also critical to its strength and the amount of weight it can safely support. Inspectors must measure depth and ensure that reinforcements are used as required.

Working as a concrete inspector normally entails a considerable amount of time out in the field, on constructions sites. Laboratory testing of concrete samples may also be done by a concrete inspector or an independent laboratory. Since construction site work occurs in all types of weather and in many different kinds of locations, inspectors should be prepared to perform in some adverse working conditions at times.

Many types of job opportunities are available for a concrete inspector. People in this position may work for government agencies, concrete supply companies, or commercial builders. Jobs may also be available with temporary agencies that specialize in the construction industry. Inspectors can also find opportunities to work in cost estimation and engineering fields. In large cities, an inspector may find full-time work available in a laboratory setting.

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    • Cracked concrete.
      Cracked concrete.
    • A closeup of a crack in concrete.
      By: Taweesak Ngamamornpi
      A closeup of a crack in concrete.
    • Wet concrete being poured.
      By: uwimages
      Wet concrete being poured.
    • A man smoothing out a concrete floor.
      By: Lilyana Vynogradova
      A man smoothing out a concrete floor.