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PUBLIC WORKS INSPECTION

When you order a Big Mac from Macdonald's you know exactly how the product should look, smell, taste and how much it will cost. When a company undertakes to build a public works project they need someone to ensure all stages are completed properly to ensure the end result is as imagined. This is the role that a public works inspector plays in the construction of public works projects.

It is the job of a public works inspector to provide quality control to ensure that public works projects (which includes construction projects, such as buildings or civil projects, such as pipelines) are completed to design specifications. The public works inspector will inspect and manage the construction of public works to ensure that workmanship, quality and materials comply with designs.

They will inspect the project throughout its various construction stages and again upon completion to authorize payment for work done to specifications laid out by the client.

Training/Accreditation Available

You can obtain three levels as a public works inspector. Each of these levels is explained below and details the responsibilities at each level as well as the necessary education to reach that level.

Certified Public Works Inspector - Level 1

Function: Inspector One is an entry level position. Working under direct supervision, an Inspector One may perform routine duties such as quality control in a limited area and assist senior staff in overall project inspection. An Inspector One prepares and maintains accurate records, reports and other materials related to the work. An Inspector One is able to read and interpret plans and specifications in the discipline and jurisdiction in which the inspector is working.

Education & Experience: Completion of Grade 12 supplemented by a course in inspection from a recognized technical school and a minimum of two years related experience. As an alternative, a minimum of two years inspection experience and one year related experience.

Certified Public Works Inspector - Level 2

Function: Inspector Two is an intermediate level position. An Inspector Two has completed the requirements of an Inspector One and generally works under minimal supervision. Complex problems may be referred to a supervisor. An Inspector Two may perform quality control inspections encompassing various utilities and types of construction works or must display a demonstrated expertise in a specialized field of inspection. An Inspector Two is responsible for compiling pertinent data and maintaining accurate records to be used in the preparation of progress estimates, reports and as-constructed plans. An Inspector Two will review materials and test reports and is able to recommend acceptance or rejection of materials and workmanship.

Responsibilities may include public relations, liaison and coordination with others incidental to the work. An Inspector Two exercises sound judgement and has knowledge on government regulations, plans, specifications and policies.

Education & Experience: Completion of Grade 12 supplemented by related technical courses from a recognized technical school and a minimum of five years inspection experience demonstrating an increasing responsibility. As an alternative, seven years' progressive inspection experiences with completion of courses at a recognized technical school or related work experience.

Certified Public Works Inspector - Level 3

Function: Inspector Three is a senior level position. An Inspector Three has completed the requirements of an Inspector Two and generally acts in a supervisory capacity.

An Inspector Three may schedule, supervise, and train other inspection staff. An Inspector Three is responsible for contract management including progress estimates, comprehensive reports, negotiations and resolution of construction problems and document conflicts. An Inspector Three resolves problems referred by staff. An Inspector Three has current knowledge on government regulations, plans, specifications and policies pertaining to a wide range of public works construction fields.

Education & Experience: Completion of Grade 12 supplemented by an intermediate certificate of technology from a recognized technical school and a minimum of ten years inspection experience demonstrating an increasing responsibility. As an alternative, fifteen years progressive inspection experience with completion of technical courses at a recognized technical school.

How Much Will You Earn?

Average annual salary: $53,000-$65,000

How Does the Future Look?

This field is very much influenced by the amount of development or construction occurring in the economy. Given the continual steady development in BC's economy, the future for public works inspectors is bright. The trend is turning more towards private industry, which lends itself to employment with engineering companies or opportunities to start your own consulting business. You should be prepared to live (possibly relocate) in an area where the economy is good.

How Can You Get Started?

In high school, be sure to take courses in English, mathematics (especially trigonometry) and physics.

Where Will You Work?

As a public works inspector, you might find yourself working in one of the three levels of government: municipal, provincial or federal. You may also find employment in the private sector working for an engineering company. You may choose to start your own business and provide consulting services to a variety of clients.

You need to work contractor hours, which means you will mostly be working Monday - Friday, but may find yourself working overtime and some weekends, depending on the project. The majority of your time will be spent outdoors, so you must be prepared for all weather conditions.

What Will You Need?

To pursue this career you should enjoy working in a construction environment, and be knowledgeable of civil and surveying technologies. You need an aptitude for mathematics and science, and a desire to be thorough and keep accurate records. You must have excellent communication and organization skills. You should enjoy working on your own as well as on a team.

For More Information

  • Contact Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC,
    Phone: 604-585-2788
  • Check with your career facilitator or counsellor for other sources of information applicable to education options for this technology.
  • Salary figures indicated in the 'How Much Will You Earn?' section are extracted from ASTTBC's Member Compensation Survey or other Canadian sources applicable to the specific technology discipline. These figures are representative only; actual figures will vary depending on academic training, practical experience, job responsibilities and location of employment.
  • The TechWORKS! web site is an important online resource and provides links to career information that will be of interest to students pursuing a career in technology.

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