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Building Careers for Today’s Generation

There is a tremendous work opportunity for qualified candidates seeking a job in the building industry, including code officials.

Professions within the building safety field vary widely in their specialties, and the industry offers many well-paying career options for today’s workforce:

  • Building inspectors inspect structures to determine compliance with the various building codes and standards adopted by the jurisdiction.
  • Building officials manage the development, administration, interpretation, application and enforcement of the codes adopted by their jurisdiction.
  • Special inspectors provide a specialized inspection of structural material fabrication and placement, such as poured concrete, structural steel installation and fasteners, etc.
  • Permit technicians assist in the issuance of construction and development permits to ensure compliance with the provisions of a jurisdiction’s adopted regulations and codes
  • Fire marshals develop and deliver fire prevention and implements public fire safety programs that provide for inspections of occupancies for life safety and fire issues in accordance with codes and standards adopted by their jurisdiction.
  • Plumbing inspectors inspect the installation, maintenance and alteration of plumbing systems complete with their fixtures, equipment, accessories, and appliances.
  • Electrical inspectors check the quality of materials, the installation work, and the safeguards in electrical systems. They make sure electrical systems meet city, state or national codes, and electrical codes and standards. Electrical inspectors look closely at new wiring and fixtures in businesses, public buildings, and in homes.
  • Mechanical inspectors focus on heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) concerns. This includes inspection of: mechanical appliances and equipment; air distribution systems; kitchen exhaust equipment; boilers and water heaters; hydronic piping; gas piping systems; flammable and combustible liquid storage and piping systems; fireplaces, chimneys and vents; refrigeration systems; incinerators and crematories. The mechanical inspector also checks for air quality and energy conservation measures.
  • Public works inspectors check digging and fill operations, and the placement of forms for concrete. They observe the concrete mixing and pouring, asphalt paving and grading operations and keep records of all work performed and the materials used. Public works inspectors may be specialists in one kind of operation such as reinforced concrete, dredging or ditches.
  • Property maintenance or housing inspectors inspect existing buildings to check for health or safety violations and the condition of the exterior property.
  • Plan reviewers or examiners begin the evaluation process which ensures that a building or structure conforms to the requirements of the local or specified code. The plan reviewer examines the construction documents used to describe a project, including architectural, structural, site plan, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and fire protection drawings as well as the corresponding specifications, structural design calculations and soil report.
  • Code enforcement officers evaluate and enforce local building codes. They typically issue warnings or give citations for any code violations they find.

Check out the Code Council’s career step-by-step guide to help you get started in the building safety profession.

If you are a student or professional looking for a new career, check out the Building Safety Career Path Initiative.

If you are a community looking to fund building code training, check out FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs, which can fund eligible building code activities including: providing or pursuing training for building safety professionals; developing planning, training, and exercises for post-disaster building code enforcement through ICC’s “When Disaster Strike’s Institute” training course; and training building department staff on new software acquired through the grant program.

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