A building inspector is an individual who is licensed by a municipal, state or county and usually is qualified in one or several fields that qualifies them to render qualified and objective judgment on whether a proposed building meets applicable building code provisions. This includes determining if the building is safe for human habitation. It also involves determining whether the proposed building is safe from earthquakes, hurricanes, or fire damage. In cases where the inspector determines that the building does not meet applicable codes, they may propose changes that the owners must agree to or must reject.
A building inspector is typically employed by a building contractor or builder constructing a commercial building, usually a high-rise, and who wishes to ensure compliance with applicable building codes. The types of code modifications that a building inspector is likely to make on a commercial construction site are changes to mechanical and electrical systems, such as installing new equipment, expanding existing facilities, and adding additional spaces. Such changes will generally not affect the public’s safety, although the building inspector will always take into account the public’s safety when determining whether changes are justified. For example, additional accessible parking is generally required by building codes with existing public parking. Still, additional accessible spaces would not usually be accepted unless such changes can also serve the purpose of preventing traffic problems.
Professional building inspectors perform a significant and vital role in the construction industry. Without them, construction projects would not go ahead. In addition, without professional building inspections, many problems would go unnoticed. The following broad categories reflect different types of building inspections. These inspections have a wide range of requirements, although the most commonly encountered ones are discussed below. These include:
General building inspections are conducted before any construction commences. As soon as a construction plan is approved, the inspector performs an examination. The primary aim of this inspection is to ensure that the proposed project is in accordance with building regulations. This inspection also ensures compliance with special requirements, such as those related to permits. Permits play a crucial role in ensuring that the construction project is implemented according to all legal requirements. The inspector performs a thorough inspection of the permit application and recommends whether the application is satisfactory.
Although building inspectors do not have the same skill level as structural engineers, they possess the necessary expertise to detect any defects in a structure. This allows them to make recommendations for remedying problems before the construction is underway. Without this specialized knowledge, it would be extremely difficult to correct problems once the building is under construction. Inspectors also play an essential role in overseeing compliance with building codes and regulations. They are the first line of defence in preventing serious safety hazards during and after construction.