Aging building code inspectors and government belt-tightening could cause crisis

Inspectors are edging toward retirement with no understudies in place.

February 21, 2017 |

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Most of the nation’s building code officials are within a decade or so of retirement, and many do not have understudies in place to step into the role when they call it quits.

This is a looming crisis for the real estate development and construction sector of the economy. According to a survey by the International Code Council (ICC), 80% of inspectors plan to retire within 15 years, and 30% plan to leave the profession within five years.

In years past, cities and towns tended to hire younger people who worked with experienced professionals and were able to bolster their education on the job. That practice changed, however, during and after the recession of 2008-2009 when communities laid off workers and in many cases haven’t replaced junior code inspectors that were let go.

The ICC is working to avoid an inspector shortage with programs such as one that teaches students in technical high schools how to navigate building codes. The goal is to improve code compliance and highlight the possibility of tradespeople moving to codes roles.

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