how to become a building inspector

Building inspectors are the ultimate professional. You oversee construction projects from start to finish. Making sure construction professionals follow Australia’s building code of practice. You monitor the whole process from the initial design stages right up until completion. You keep an eagle eye out for aspects of the design which could render a building unsafe and advise the architects on ways to improve. Once you approve a design you continue to monitor the construction. In order to make sure the completed building is safe, liveable and sustainable. As a building inspector, you have a very important role. This is because you act as the stop point where construction errors or safety problems get identified and prevented.
 
Are you ready to take a stand and keep an eye on construction to make sure buildings are safe and sustainable? Would you like to use your technical abilities in a career with a purpose? Then, why not consider becoming a building inspector. There is no time like the present, so keep reading and we will give you all the information you need to get started. 

Step one: Get started with a vocational course

Taking a vocational course is a good option as your first step towards becoming a building inspector. You will find a background in Maths and/or Engineering helpful, but this is not a requirement. Choosing a course which teaches you a foundation of knowledge, in relation to construction, will stand you in good stead

Step two: Apply for a Construction Induction Card

Once you have completed your course, then before you can work you need to have a Construction Induction Card. You can find more information in the resources section about what you need to do to get this card. In addition, you can consider joining a professional building inspector association. This is not a requirement, but membership can improve your chances when applying for work.

Step three: Look for your first job

Now, the exciting moment has come to look for work for the first time after qualifying. There is strong demand for building inspectors. The construction industry has been growing over the last five years and this looks set to continue. Forecasts expect there to be demand in both rural and built-up areas. When applying don’t forget to highlight your strengths, your qualifications and any relevant experience you have.

Step four: Consider a specialisation

Building inspectors oversee all aspects of the construction process. This experience gives them very useful broad knowledge. You can take the building inspector skill set and apply this to work successfully in a number of different specialisations. Here are three to consider.
 
Construction Estimator
 
In this specialisation, you focus your knowledge on estimating the material needed for a given project. This role is highly important in the construction industry because you help reduce wastage. While at the same time, you ensure building can continue without delays if materials run out. If you are keen on making calculations you will excel in this role.
 
Surveyor
 
If you have experience as a building inspector you will find this advantageous when progressing your career to become a surveyor. When you are a surveyor you take precise measurements, using special measuring tools. This way you ensure the building is in the right place and consistent with the plans. You give advice to planners, builders, and developers.
 
Building Consultant
 
In this specialisation, you establish yourself as an independent consultant. Advising developers you use your experience in construction to help them find effective ways to keep within budget. Usually, you will work on a few projects at a time on a contractual basis.

What do Building Inspectors Do?

You work with architects as they develop their plans. Then once the project moves into construction you begin to inspect and monitor the construction site activities. A building inspector must have a keen eye for detail and expert knowledge about safety and structural requirements. You need to confidently apply your knowledge to the building itself, checking the project follows the building codes. You do this by making multiple visits to the construction site. After making your inspection you give your recommendations. When satisfied you then sign off and issue a building certificate for the build.  You divide your time between the office, where you complete paperwork in relation to the inspections and advise you are giving. And between the construction site where you carry out your inspections.

Tasks

  • Ensuring developers meet all codes of compliance and legislation
  • Giving advice to builders, owners, and developers
  • Assessing building plans for compliance with building regulations
  • Issuing compliance certificates and building permits
  • Inspecting buildings for safety conditions, energy efficiency, and accessibility

Skills for Success

Firstly, you must have expert knowledge of the regulations and legislation for construction projects. Your job bears a lot of responsibility because you must catch and call out any bad practice or potential safety issues you uncover Furthermore, you must pay attention to details or you may miss something important when carrying out your inspection. As a part of your work, you also have to communicate and work with people. Now, sometimes you may need to give them bad news or make recommendations for changes they need to make. This calls for assertiveness and good communication skills, so you can make sure everyone understands you. There are times when you play a part in estimating the time, costs and resources needed for a project. An analytical mind will help you with this aspect of your work.

Skills and attributes

  • Highly technical analytical mind 
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Good at communication and listening
  • Management and leadership skills
  • Forecasting abilities
  • Organisational extraordinaire
  • Pays attention to detail

How much do Building Inspectors make in Australia?

In Australia, building inspectors earn a median wage of $72,625 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.
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