Become a Building Code Enforcer: Education and Career Roadmap

Jan 22, 2022

Should I Become a Building Code Enforcer?

Building code enforcers, also known as building or housing inspectors, examine the exterior and interior of structures like new homes and buildings to ensure that construction complies with all government building codes, local ordinances, and other requirements. These workers also review and approve plans that involve the repair or renovation of structures. Cities, counties, and larger government agencies employ many of these enforcers.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Certificate or associate's degree may be preferred by employers
Degree Field Building inspection or construction technology; code enforcement technology
Licensure and/or Certification State-issued licensure or professional certification required in many states; both may be preferred by employers
Experience Several years of experience in construction trades such as carpentry, electrical work or plumbing
Key Skills Communication skills and attention to detail; ability to work well independently, understanding of mapping, drafting and other field-specific software, strong mechanical knowledge of testing equipment
Salary (2020) $62,860 yearly (median for all construction and building inspectors)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings in November 2012, O*NET OnLine

Step 1: Obtain Formal Training

Employers typically look for building code enforcer applicants who have knowledge of the construction trades. Aspiring building code enforcers may obtain this training through certificate and associate's degree programs in building inspection, construction technology or a related field. These programs cover subjects such as electrical inspections, uniform building codes, ADA building requirements, engineering and structural principles, construction materials and building plans.

Step 2: Seek Employment

Employers sought applicants to inspect properties, such as new residential construction and public works projects, for compliance with local building and zoning codes and to perform other technical tasks, according to a sample of November 2012 job postings. Requirements for these jobs included experience in drafting, property maintenance inspection and roadway construction inspection. Applicants also needed to have strong organizational and communication skills, as well as the ability to interpret technical information from blueprints, schematics and other sources. Some employers also required a background check, certification in a certain specialty and a valid driver's license.

Step 3: Complete State Licensing or Certification

Many states and cities require building code enforcers to possess some type of license or certification, depending on the type of work performed. Certification requirements vary by state but generally include a minimal level of education and work experience, as well as the passage of an exam. It may also require candidates to purchase liability insurance.

Building code enforcers may seek a professional credential from the International Code Council (ICC) or their state. The ICC administers testing and certification programs at the local, state and national levels. Certifications include the Certified Code Safety Professional Certification.

Success Tip:

  • Continue gaining relevant education. Building code enforcers may want to pursue additional training to improve career opportunities and for continuing education. For example, those who want to become construction managers generally need to have a bachelor's degree in construction management, engineering, architecture or construction science. Also, the ICC offers online training such as webinars to help individuals stay current with code development and other changes in the construction industry.
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