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RE: Chicago Building Inspectors

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I don?t know about Chicago or other cities, but just having a union card is
NOT good enough in Kansas City.

As a specific reference, we have a retired carpenter on staff as a ?Special
Inspector? (the local equivalent of ?Deputy Inspector?).  I?m sure he still
has a union card but this is just coincidence.  To be certified, he had to:
- Pass the ACI Level I and II exams (I believe it?s been changed lately to
an ICBO exam)
- Work under a certified inspector for 2 years
- Obtain a certain number of hours of continuing education every 2 years

He?s currently only certified for Concrete, CMU, and Wood related work.  If
he wanted to be certified for Steel he?d have to pass the related AISC

The other way I know of to become a Special Inspector is to either pass your
FE + 1 year of experience, or pass the PE.

Jason Kilgore
Leigh & O'Kane, LLC
Kansas City, Missouri
From: GSKWY(--nospam--at) [] 
Sent: Monday, November 15, 2004 7:22 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Chicago Building Inspectors

Some time ago I asked a question about unions and Chicago Building
inspectors.  It turned into a blue versus red discussion, and I was very
disappointed that none of the terribly intelligent responses  managed to
include a reference to ketchup.
My question - which I would think most structural engineers in Chicago would
want to know the answer to -- no SHOULD know the answer to -- is whether
someone who has become a Chicago building inspector by virtue of having a
union card and two years of construction experience is considered qualified
to inspect high rise buildings in Chicago.
It hit the Chicago papers  in September (probably didn't make Fox news, so
maybe very few engineers heard about it) - when the 19-year-old son of the
carpenter's local secretary-treasurer was hired as a building inspector. 
The job pays $50,000 year plus benefits - why bother getting an engineering
degree?  Turns out the 23-year old son the carpenter's local president was
also a building inspector.
Some people I have asked seemed to think these are just porch inspectors -
depositions in the porch collapse that killed 13 people have found the
inspectors got their jobs by having union cards.  But had simply bought the
cards, had no construction experience.  Although one of them at least could
read.  He just hadn't read any of the manuals he was supposed to.
My question (again)  is whether these guys with carpenter's union cards are
also inspecting high rises?
Also,  is belonging to the carpenter's union enough to get you a job as a
building inspector in any other city?
Gail Kelley

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