Building Inspector Career Profile

Building inspectors are primarily investigators, whose role is to report on the condition of the structure of buildings. To be a building inspector, you will need to be a qualified expert in building and construction. Building inspectors also hold formal qualifications in engineering and they may work for local government authorities, real estate agents, home buyers, and in some cases major corporations involved in large construction projects.

The work environment 

In most countries, licenses are required to act as a building inspector. In many cases the reports have a legal or statutory status. Building inspectors are required to write formal reports for their clients. Reports cover the state of the building or structure from the condition of the foundations through to the state of building materials. These reports can be very detailed and in some cases clients will demand specific information. 

For example, a solicitor acting for a intending home buyer will require comprehensive information about the condition of the building as part of the purchasing process. The solicitor, under an obligation to use "due diligence" on behalf of the client, commissions the building inspector to do a thorough investigation. The building inspector will also report on any site issues like structural damage, drainage, subsidence, or any other matters affecting purchase, as part of this report. There are big responsibilities in this work. The building inspector is commissioned on the basis of responsibility for the report. If the report is misleading or inaccurate, the building inspector can be sued, and lose their license. 

Building inspectors also have to know the laws and regulations regarding construction and building. Some building inspectors are employed by public authorities specifically to check that building work is carried out according to relevant laws. Their role is to ensure that construction standards and statutory requirements are being met. If a building is not properly constructed, the building inspector's report will be the basis of the public authority's action against the builder. This action can be an order to rectify defects, but can also include prosecution.

Building inspector career options and progression

The ultra technical nature of building inspection work, and the relative degrees of complexity in the jobs means that a building inspector's career has to graduate through the promotional hierarchy of job roles. Advanced qualifications are also required, but the level of liability means that the experienced building inspectors get the higher paying jobs. 

The qualification level of jobs is the benchmark for salaries. Building inspectors usually start at undergraduate or graduate salary levels. The pay scale, however, can improve dramatically at higher levels. Some building inspectors can command big fees. Their expertise is very valuable to their clients, who may have to commit big money to the buildings. A building inspector can be a purchaser or developer's best defense against added costs and risks. 

The top of the pay scale is reached when building inspectors become building consultants. In this role they become advisers, often working on huge construction projects where their expertise is directly linked to their client's expenditure.