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Construction and Building Inspectors

Construction and building inspectors ensure that new construction, changes, or repairs comply with local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications. Show Details

Duties

Construction and building inspectors typically do the following:

  • Review and approve plans that meet building codes, local ordinances, and zoning regulations
  • Inspect and monitor construction sites to ensure overall compliance
  • Use survey instruments, metering devices, and test equipment to perform inspections
  • Monitor installation of plumbing, electrical, and other systems to ensure that the building meets codes
  • Verify level, alignment, and elevation of structures and fixtures to ensure building compliance
  • Issue violation notices and stop-work orders until building is compliant
  • Keep daily logs, including photographs taken during inspection

Construction and building inspectors examine buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures. They also inspect electrical; heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR); and plumbing systems. Although no two inspections are alike, inspectors do an initial check during the first phase of construction and follow-up inspections throughout the construction project. When the project is finished, they do a final, comprehensive inspection.

The following are types of construction and building inspectors:

Building inspectors check the structural quality and general safety of buildings. Some specialize in structural steel or reinforced-concrete structures, for example.

Electrical inspectors examine the installed electrical systems to ensure they function properly and comply with electrical codes and standards. The inspectors visit worksites to inspect new and existing sound and security systems, wiring, lighting, motors, and generating equipment. They also inspect the installed electrical 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.

Home inspectors typically inspect newly built or previously owned homes, condominiums, townhomes, and other dwellings. Prospective home buyers often hire home inspectors to check and report on a home’s structure and overall condition. Sometimes, homeowners hire a home inspector to evaluate their home’s condition before placing it on the market.

In addition to examining structural quality, home inspectors examine all home systems and features, including roofing, exterior walls, attached garage or carport, foundation, interior, plumbing, electrical, and HVACR systems. They look for and report violations of building codes, but they do not have the power to enforce compliance with the codes.

Mechanical inspectors examine the installation of 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.

Plan examiners determine whether the plans for a building or other structure comply with building codes. They also determine whether the structure is suited to the engineering and environmental demands of the building site.

Plumbing inspectors examine the installation of potable water, waste, and vent piping systems to ensure the safety and health of the drinking water system, piping for industrial uses, and the sanitary disposal of waste.

Public works inspectors ensure that federal, state, and local government water and sewer systems, highways, streets, bridges, and dam construction conform to detailed contract specifications. Workers inspect excavation and fill operations, the placement of forms for concrete, concrete mixing and pouring, asphalt paving, and grading operations. Public works inspectors may specialize in highways, structural steel, reinforced concrete, or ditches. Others specialize in dredging operations required for bridges and dams or for harbors.

Specification inspectors ensure that work is performed according to design specifications. Specification inspectors represent the owner’s interests, not those of the general public. Insurance companies and financial institutions also may use their services.

A primary concern of building inspectors is fire prevention safety. For more information, see the profile on fire inspectors and investigators.

Electrical and Electronics Installers and Repairers

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers install, repair, or replace a variety of electrical equipment in telecommunications, transportation, utilities, and other industries. Show Details

Duties

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers typically do the following:

  • Prepare cost estimates for clients
  • Refer to service guides, schematics, and manufacturer specifications
  • Repair or replace defective parts, such as motors, fuses, or gaskets
  • Reassemble and test equipment after repairs
  • Maintain records of parts used, labor time, and final charges

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers work on complex pieces of electronic equipment.

Automated electronic control systems are becoming increasingly complex. As a result, repairers use software programs and testing equipment to diagnose malfunctions. Among their diagnostic tools are multimeters—which measure voltage, current, and resistance—and advanced multimeters, which measure the capacitance, inductance, and current gain of transistors.

Repairers also use signal generators, which provide test signals, and oscilloscopes, which display signals graphically. In addition, repairers use handtools such as pliers, screwdrivers, soldering irons, and wrenches to replace faulty parts and adjust equipment.

Commercial and industrial equipment electrical and electronics repairers repair, test, adjust, or install electronic equipment, such as industrial controls, transmitters, and antennas.

Electrical and electronics installers and repairers of transportation equipment install, adjust, or maintain mobile communication equipment, including sound, sonar, security, navigation, and surveillance systems on trains, watercraft, or other vehicles.

Powerhouse, substation, and relay electrical and electronics repairers inspect, test, maintain, or repair electrical equipment used in generating stations, substations, and inservice relays. These workers may be known as powerhouse electricians, relay technicians, or power transformer repairers.

Electric motor, power tool, and related repairerssuch as armature winders, generator mechanics, and electric golf cart repairers—specialize in installing, maintaining, and repairing electric motors, wiring, or switches.

Electronic equipment installers and repairers of motor vehicles install, diagnose, and repair sound, security, and navigation equipment in motor vehicles. Motor vehicle installers and repairers work with an increasingly complex range of electronic equipment, including DVD players, navigation systems, and passive and active security systems.

Electrical and electronic installers and repairers may specialize, according to how and where they work:

Field technicians often travel to factories or other locations to repair equipment. When equipment breaks down, field technicians go to a customer's site to repair the equipment. Because repairing components is a complex activity, workers on the factory floor usually remove and replace defective units, such as circuit boards, instead of fixing them. Defective units are discarded or returned to the manufacturer or a specialized shop for repair.

Bench technicians work in repair shops in factories and service centers, fixing components that cannot be repaired on the factory floor. These workers also locate and repair circuit defects, such as poorly soldered joints, blown fuses, or malfunctioning transistors.

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