Construction Inspection Program
Construction Inspection is a 26-unit certificate program at Palomar College. A student can earn an Associate of Arts (AA) degree by completing a minimum of 34 additional units of general education. Contact a Palomar College counselor to prepare an educational plan to complete an AA degree.
Construction and Building Inspectors examine buildings, highways and streets, sewer and water systems, dams, bridges, and other structures. They ensure that the construction, alterations, or repairs comply with codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, construction plans, and contract specifications. To monitor compliance with regulations, inspectors make an initial inspection during the first phase of construction and follow up with further inspections throughout the construction project. The size and type of structure, as well as the rate at which it proceeds toward completion, determines the number of additional site visits they must make. Upon completion of the project, they make a final, comprehensive inspection. Inspectors also monitor compliance with additional safety regulations designed to protect structures and occupants during natural disasters and severe weather.
Many Inspectors investigate construction or changes being done to buildings without proper permits. Inspectors advise violators to obtain permits and submit to inspection. Inspectors may testify in court against code violators. They check the status of construction inspection activities and keep track of permits issued. If needed, Inspectors act on their findings. If a problem is found and not corrected within a specified period of time, government Inspectors have the authority to send out a “stop-work” order. Although Inspectors spend considerable time inspecting construction worksites, they also spend time in field offices reviewing blueprints, answering letters or telephone calls, writing reports, and scheduling inspections.
CAREER PATHWAYS – Careers in Public Works and Management and wages.
Some specialties within this occupation include:
Building Inspectors are employed by public agencies and examine buildings, structures and accessory structures for compliance with the Building Code and new construction standards. They inspect foundations, framing, glass, roofing, insulation, stucco, drywall and all aspects of new construction. Building inspectors review construction drawings and field verify that the construction conforms to the approved plans. They investigate complaints, inspect substandard housing, provide code enforcement services and keep records of inspection results on permits and project documents. They perform a final inspection that allows occupancy of the building.
Public Works Inspectors are employed by public agencies and examine streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lights, road medians, bridges and other new construction in the public right of way. They inspect drainage systems and grading operations on private property and enforce dust control, traffic control and pollution prevention measures related to storm water runoff. Public works inspectors inspect new public parks, the maintenance work on existing streets and the construction and maintenance work on public trails and bike lanes. They perform a final inspection that allows the streets to be used by the public.
Special Inspectors are employed by testing labs and general contractors to inspect new construction that requires continuous inspection and the testing of materials. These inspectors have certifications for reinforced concrete, welding, steel framed buildings and masonry buildings. Special Inspectors inspect public schools, hospitals and other State owned buildings and structures. Special Inspectors work as independent third party inspectors and play a vital role in the construction of large, complex projects.
Electrical Inspectors examine the installation of wiring, conduits, breakers, panel boards, main services, grounding methods and other requirements to insure the electrical equipment operates safely in compliance with the Electrical Code. They inspect permanent and temporary wiring, review load calculations, examine electrical schematics, and inspect wiring to machine motors and equipment. They approve the release of service to the electric company to allow occupancy of the building.
Plumbing Inspectors examine the gas, water and sewer systems installed in new and remodeled buildings for compliance with the Plumbing Code. They inspect pipe sizes, minimum slope for drainage, venting, boilers, water heaters, cross connection control devices and other fixtures and equipment that keeps the water supply and waste systems safe and sanitary. They review plans and installation specifications for compliance with State and national standards.
Mechanical Inspectors examine air-conditioning, heating and exhaust air equipment and systems for compliance with the Mechanical Code. They review plans and energy efficiency documents for compliance with the State Energy Efficiency Standards. They inspect vent ducts, exhaust hoods in restaurants and duct systems to convey air to specific locations.
Construction Inspection Faculty
CI 89 Plumbing Codes
- Paul Donaldson, City of San Marcos
CI 90 Mechanical Codes
CI 125 Plan Reading
- Bill Melton, Port of San Diego
CI 100/101 Building Codes I & II
CI 115 Nonstructural Plan Review
CI 130 Cal Green Codes
- Carl Blaisdell
CI 105/106 Electrical Codes I & II
- Eric Jensen, Esgil Corporation
The International Code Council offers an extensive list of certifications for inspection and plans examiner. Assembly Bill 717 in California requires the personnel in building departments that perform inspections and plan checking services to be certified and qualified. Most agencies require applicants to pass a written and oral exam to establish their proficiency for a position. The Construction Inspection Program at Palomar provides the educational tools to pass the exams and achieve certification.
Links to Other Professional Organizations
California Building Standards Commission
California Energy Commission
California Real Estate Inspection Association
International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials
International Code Council
National Fire Protection Association
U.S. Green Building Council
Links to Palomar Sites