According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 117,300 people worked as building officials in 2018. A building official divides their time between finishing evaluations of buildings on location and drawing up conclusive reports in their office. Although most building officials work full-time during weekdays, they occasionally work nights and weekends.
If you’re looking for your next job or a career change, learn more here about how you can become a building official.
Building Official Duties
As a building official, you ensure that construction meets local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations and contract specifications. Your duties include approving satisfactory building plans, periodically monitoring construction sites to ensure compliance, and using survey instruments, metering devices and test equipment to perform inspections. You also inspect plumbing, electrical and other systems to ensure they meet code, verify alignment, level, and elevation of structures to ensure they meet specifications and issue violation notices and stop-work orders until a building is compliant. Then, you take photos and provide written documentation of your findings in a daily log as evidence of what you discovered during each inspection.
Related Work Experience
Since you need the appropriate blend of technical knowledge, work experience, and education to work as a building official, most employers prefer you have training and 1-5 years’ experience in a construction trade. For instance, you could have experience working as a carpenter, electrician or plumber.
Typically, you must have a high school diploma and extensive knowledge of construction trades to become a building official. Some employers prefer candidates who studied engineering or architecture. Others require a certificate or associate’s degree including courses in building inspection, home inspection, construction technology, and drafting. Classes involving blueprint reading, vocational subjects, algebra, geometry, and writing are beneficial. A bachelor’s degree can substitute for related work experience.
Your training requirements to become a building official depends on your state, locality and the type of inspector you want to become. In most cases, you have to learn building codes and standards on your own, but receive the rest of your training on the job. You work with an experienced inspector to learn about inspection techniques and codes, ordinances and regulations, contract specifications, recordkeeping, and recordkeeping duties. You could receive supervised onsite inspections as well.
Licenses, Certifications and Registrations
Your state or jurisdiction might require you to be licensed or certified to work as a building official. Check whether your state has an individual licensing program. Depending on which type of building official you want to be, you may need to be certified by an association such as the International Code Council, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, International Association of Electrical Inspectors or National Fire Protection Association. You must have a valid driver’s license to travel to inspection sites.
Find a Building Official Job
Find a municipal building official job through MuniTemps. We provide the training and job opportunities you need to excel in your career. Discover which jobs are available today.