The role of building inspector is usually affiliated with local government. Over 40% of all building inspectors work for municipal or county governments. Their primary job is to ensure that building plans submitted for a construction permit meet code requirements, and to periodically inspect a construction job once it is underway.
They must be thoroughly knowledgeable with code requirements, which are often detailed and cover all manner of construction issues. Meeting fire safety codes is one of the priority code issues. Some building inspectors specialize in electrical systems and some in plumbing, especially in the bigger cities. There are also some specialists in structural issues such as foundations and steel framing.
Some inspectors come to the job with extensive construction experience. More often today, applicants have at least an associate's degree with courses in building inspection, construction technology, home inspection and mathematics. Inspectors must know how to read a blueprint and how to keep records on a construction job as it moves through various permitting and inspection phases. In 2006, over two thirds of all building and home inspectors had some college experience. Certification or licensing may be required by the state or local government.
According to Labor Department statistics there were 110,000 construction and building inspectors working in the United States in 2006.
Jobs in this sector are expected to grow by 18% over the decade 2006 - 2016, which is considerably faster than the projected growth rate of jobs overall. These projections were made prior to the collapse of the housing market however, and so may be somewhat optimistic.
10th Percentile $31,270
Median Salary $50,180
90th Percentile $78,070
Source: U.S. Department of Labor