The Role of the Construction Inspector

Being a construction site inspector is one of the toughest jobs on the construction site. The inspector is the vital link between design and its fulfillment in the field. Often times the construction inspector is an underrated position that is seen by many as a necessary evil.

There are many types of inspections that are required on the construction site including: health & safety, environments, building materials, hazardous materials, design & layout checks, regulatory requirements, etc. Often times each of these inspections are completed by a different individual, each of whom have specialty training. A construction inspector must be firm in his or her adherence to the plans and ensure that materials and practices meet the plan or established practices. An inspector must also be understanding and work with the contractor to find acceptable solutions to overcome problems.

Key functions of the construction inspector is to verify that the work installed meets the plans and specifications in the drawings. The inspector also works with the project engineer to address changes required on the plans due to errors or unforeseen circumstances. Inspectors also document the construction process and decision made along the way, serving to document the process. The importance of the job records/documentation cannot be over-emphasized. While the job diary or records may never be needed or reviewed; but when the records are needed...they will be needed badly. That being said; there is nothing too trivial to be included in the job notes.

The storm water staff at Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District conducts site inspections of active construction sites and post-construction storm water control measures (SCMs) for compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) rules. These rules are established by the USEPA and Ohio EPA and adopted by local municipalities as local code. These inspections consist primarily of temporary erosion and sediment controls devices and water quality best management practices.

While our storm water inspectors are not always the most welcome guests at a construction site our approach of 'education always' tends to break the ice. Educating and explaining the purpose of various erosion and sediment control BMPs results in greater initial compliance and also subsequent compliance in the wake of a deficiency.

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