Materials Services: Special Inspections

Inspection of construction materials and methods is a way of ensuring that builders are doing what the designer intended, that the owner is getting what they want, and ultimately that the structure will provide for the safety of the public. Most types of construction are inspected to some degree. However, in much of the United States, including Kentucky and Indiana, and in many parts of the world, building codes define specific requirements for structural and other inspection to ensure that certain essential structures provide for public safety, particularly during earthquakes and fires. “Special Inspection” is the designation given to these activities, which involves specific requirements to ensure quality in construction and performance. The codes define different levels of Special Inspections on the basis of facility importance, structure characteristics, design procedures, and seismic risk.

Kentucky, Indiana and many other states in the U.S. follow the International Building Code (IBC). The IBC stipulates that Special Inspections be conducted during construction of certain structures by a quality control agency having qualified management, supervisory personnel, field inspectors and laboratory technicians together with the appropriate equipment and facilities in accordance with the code requirements. The IBC further specifies that “the Special Inspector shall be a qualified person who shall demonstrate his/her competence to the satisfaction of the building official, for inspection of the particular type of construction or operation requiring special inspection.”