A Builder who is well-qualified and has shown the capability to handle the responsibility of an important position may be selected to serve in the role of QC inspector for the OPS Department of a NMCB. In addition, qualified Builders may find themselves assigned to a Public Works Department where they will serve as project and maintenance inspectors for the facilities at their base. A good guide to use for checking your projects is the Construction Inspector's Guide, EP 415-1-261, published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In this section, we will cover the responsibilities of the inspector and point out items checked in inspecting various parts of buildings and other structures. Bear in mind that inspections are broad in scope, so every area covered in an inspection is not listed; however, you are provided with the basics of performing an inspection. In addition to the checkpoints given here, other important points could be included in your inspection, based on plans and specification, local building codes and regulations, manufacturer's specifications, special requirements, and so on. Remember that as crew leaders and project managers, you are also inspectors of your own projects.
The prime function and responsibility of the inspector is to make certain that the work is performed in every aspect with the drawings and specifications. These requirements are usually, but not always, sufficiently exacting to necessitate high standards of quality in both materials and workmanship. In the case of temporary or emergency construction, quality requirements may be lowered intentionally. Therefore, the inspector must be careful to make certain that the work is of the required quality while being equally careful not to demand a quality of work superior to that required. In addition, the inspector should ensure that any construction changes, omissions, or additions are made to the blueprint to show the final, as-built conditions.
In some cases, the specifications for the project or the standard specifications that are included as references may establish definite tolerances over or under the measurements that will be accepted. Then the inspector only has to verify that the work is within the specified limits. However, on most phases of the work, specific tolerances cannot be fixed, and intelligent judgment is required in interpreting such requirements as plumb, true, level, and perfect. The inspector's intention is that the workmanship be of the most suitable grade for the purpose for which the finished project is to be used. The inspector, therefore, should have a comprehensive, practical knowledge of the grades of workmanship satisfactory in the various classes of structures and in the various details of the work.
The acceptable degree of accuracy is dependent on many factors. Structural framing may have to be true within one-sixteenth of an inch or, in some cases, within one-eighth of an inch. Concrete work can seldom be held closer than one-eighth of an inch; but in some special types of structures, much larger tolerances must be permitted and allowed.
The inspector must make sure that the principal center line, column lines, and controlling overall dimensions and elevations are correct; that minor errors are not permitted to accumulate, but are compensated for continuously; that exposed work is visually acceptable; and that special care is taken when greater than ordinary precision for the type of work is necessary for some special reason.
It is important that the inspector make clear at the outset of the work what will be expected and that the initial portions of the work fulfill these expectations. Invariably, the standards of accuracy established and enforced during the first few days of work will set the pattern for the rest of the work. Inspectors must be consistent in the standards they exact. They must be reasonable, but not be too lenient in this respect.
Inspections of temporary construction must be limited to assure the work is adequate and safe for the purpose for which it was intended. The inspectors should, however, be alert to note any defective construction, unsound materials, possible weaknesses, and hazards and then call them to the attention of their superiors.
Inspectors are responsible for the effective application of the safety program for the projects to which they are assigned. This responsibility covers the prevention of accidents that would cause physical injury or property damage. In the event that inspectors encounter difficulty in correcting an existing hazard, a safety violation, or preventing a future hazard, they should immediately report such conditions to a superior for the proper action and/or guidance.Continue Reading