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What does a Code Inspector do?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2016
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A code inspector works to make sure a structure meets certain building, electrical, plumbing and fire codes as set out by a local or national government, depending on where one lives. Most of the time, a code inspector is hired by a local government and the position is mainly funded through building permit fees. Code inspectors often have great authority and can determine whether a building is livable or not.

There are many different types of inspectors and more than one code inspector is often needed, especially for new construction. For example, the codes applying to fire safety are often very specific and require a great deal more expertise than regular building requirements. Further, plumbing and electrical work may also require a specific expertise.

A building code inspector will often check during the construction process to make sure all housing code rules are being met. This may include following proper setbacks, using proper materials and making sure the work is done according to quality standards outlined. A code inspector may also inspect new streets and roads to make sure they are done right as well.

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The fire code inspector is one that inspects not only new construction, but may also annually inspect businesses and rental properties to make sure they are meeting fire codes. Initially, the inspection will consist of making sure proper exit points are there, checking the size of escape windows, as well as looking for fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Subsequent visits will likely need to be made for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, as well as making sure proper escape mechanisms, such as rope ladders, if required, are in place.

Of course, the plumbing and electrical code inspectors check on this portion of any buildings as well. These are no less important than the other areas. In fact, problems with the plumbing and electrical systems could lead to severe damage, including fire or water damage, and be very expensive to correct. Therefore, the inspectors who take care of these issues should have the proper education and training.

A general code inspector usually starts out between $30,000 US Dollars (USD) and $40,000 US a year. Those with specific expertise, which takes additional training and experience to achieve, may make a little more than that, depending on the situation and the local pay structure. The job opportunities for code inspectors are expected to remain relatively high.

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