Mechanical Inspection: The Complete Guide to Mechanical Inspector Jobs, Career Planning, and More
Everything that we build and manufacture, from elevators to cars, homes, and industry-specific machinery needs to be inspected for quality and compliance. Businesses and individuals need a mechanical inspector to evaluate the state of on-site equipment and numerous other assets.
This is an important step in the quality control process, just like document control, which is why mechanical inspector jobs and education requirements will vary between fields. Getting a mechanical inspector certification in different industries is a matter of specialisation, so you will need to think about your professional aspirations and long-term career goals.
Let’s put all of this into perspective and talk about mechanical inspection as a whole, mechanical inspector responsibilities and jobs, and everything else you need to know to become a successful mechanical inspector. Here’s everything you need to kick-start your career.
What Does Mechanical Inspection Entail?
To start, let’s take an in-depth look at mechanical inspection, focusing on what the job typically entails and what doesn’t fall under the mechanical inspector responsibilities or their process.
In general, mechanical inspection is the process of overseeing the installation of a variety of mechanical work to ensure public safety. This is a threefold process that entails:
- Conducting safety inspections
- Supervising machine maintenance
- Designing mechanical safety tests
Mechanical inspection is required in a myriad of private, government, and residential sectors, employing a mechanical inspector for:
- Homeowner information
- Pre-purchase contracts
- Rental property condition
- Mechanical asset maintenance for businesses
- Handling complaints regarding machine maintenance and operation
Mechanical inspection does not always cover regulatory inspection to ensure the machinery is up to code with the latest industry standards. Determining compliance with codes is an industry-specific process for which the mechanical inspector needs to have the appropriate certifications.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the general mechanical QC inspector responsibilities.
What is a Mechanical Inspector?
As we mentioned above, the typical mechanical inspector responsibilities are inspection, supervising maintenance, and designing safety tests. But of course, there is much more to this role, and the scope of your work will depend on the industry you choose to specialise in.
Typically, a mechanical inspector or a senior mechanical inspector will work for a government agency, a safety agency, or a company dealing in installation and maintenance in a specific field. More often than not, however, a mechanical inspector will be tasked with machine inspection in workplace environments, such as warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and factories.
This is to ensure that all machinery is up to code within the specified industry parameters, to ensure safety, and to make asset maintenance efficient and cost-effective. Needless to say, this process is essential in a variety of sectors, and as a mechanical inspector you will be contracted for:
- Plumbing and electrical machinery
- Boilers and unfired pressure vessels
- Elevators, escalators, wheel-chair lifts, and dumbwaiters
- Recreational devices
- Contractor licensing enforcement
- Boiler Operator, Hazardous Paint, Explosive Handler, & Asbestos Abatement Licences
As you can see, depending on the industry and sector you specialise in, you will be handling many duties as a mechanical QC inspector. The scope of work and mechanical inspector responsibilities is determined by the position and seniority level, so let’s move on to different mechanical integrity inspector jobs and industries.
The Different Mechanical Inspector Jobs
We’ll take a closer look at the mechanical inspector job description and what you can expect to come across as a job seeker in a moment. For now, let’s focus on the different roles, responsibilities, and mechanical inspector requirements.
Commercial Mechanical Inspector
As the name implies, a commercial mechanical inspector is tasked with performing inspections of mechanical systems installed in commercial buildings and applications. The ICC mechanical inspector certification, also known as the M2 commercial mechanical inspector, will allow you to become a professional in this field and allow you to perform your duties in the commercial sector.
As an M2 commercial mechanical inspector, you will be tasked with:
- General Administration. You will need to verify that the required permits are issued and valid. Make sure that all the products are installed according to their listing. You will also need to verify that the mechanical system is installed according to approved plans. Finally, verify that the manufacturer’s installations and the listing of the equipment have been followed for installation.
- Inspecting heating, cooling, and water heaters. Verify that all mechanical equipment, water heaters, cooling and refrigeration systems, and any other systems are installed according to code requirements.
- Inspecting exhaust and ventilation systems. This includes all commercial ventilation systems, hood and kitchen ventilation, Hazardous vapours and emergency exhaust systems, and product-conveying ventilation systems. You will need to ensure that supply, return, outside air, and environmental exhaust air is provided, and that all installations are up to code.
- Inspecting duct systems. You will be inspecting duct construction and installation, duct and plenum use, as well as smoke and fire dampers. Verify that all systems are built, placed, and installed according to code requirements.
- Inspecting combustion air. Inspect fuel-burning appliances and make sure that all of these appliances have proper sources of air supply.
- Inspecting chimneys and vents. Ensure proper venting of fuel-burning appliances, making sure that chimneys and vent connectors are up to code.
- Inspecting fuel supply systems. Ensure proper materials are used for piping systems, and make sure that all fittings, valves, connections, and transition of materials are in compliance with code.
Residential Mechanical Inspector
As a residential mechanical inspector, you will be tasked with “safeguarding life or limb, health, property, and public welfare by regulating the design, construction, installation, quality of materials, location, operation, and maintenance or use of mechanical and fuel gas systems.”
In other words, the scope of mechanical QC inspector responsibilities in this field will cover all the same responsibilities of the M2 commercial mechanical inspector, but for residential dwellings.
Your services, however, may also be used to assess the state of rental properties and for the evaluation of pre-purchase contracts, such as for a condominium.
Building Mechanical Inspector
A building mechanical inspector, on the other hand, is a position that entails the inspection of:
- Two dwelling units or less
- Swimming pools
- Accessory buildings
- Building codes
- Plumbing codes
- Electrical codes and plans
- Various infrastructure specifications and plans
Additionally you will be:
- Addressing complaints and potential code violations
- Conducting surveys to identify building deterioration or substandard conditions
- Issuing orders to comply and citations
- Training and grooming others in your department who are looking to become a building mechanical inspector.
Regardless of whether you’re a building, commercial, or residential mechanical inspector, you will be using many of the same inspection techniques in engineering taught as parts of apprenticeship programs or comprehensive online courses.
Senior Mechanical Inspector
As you might have guessed, a senior mechanical inspector is an experienced professional in the field of mechanical inspection who assumes more roles and responsibilities. Typically, to be eligible for a senior mechanical inspector position, you will need to have at least five years of experience as a certified mechanical inspector in your field.
As a senior inspector, you will take on additional mechanical inspector responsibilities and you will gain more decision-making power. For example, you will be tasked with reviewing entire building plans and blueprints, specifications, and materials lists to ensure compliance.
Being a senior inspector, you will have the authority to recommend approval or rejection based on your findings. With this position comes a higher salary range, of course, which we will cover later.
How to Become a Certified Mechanical Inspector?
If you are wondering how to become a certified mechanical inspector, keep in mind that certifications will vary depending on the field you choose. There are also several training centres where you can get the necessary education and the appropriate exams to obtain a mechanical inspector certification.
The two most popular and widely accepted certifications that will provide you with a competitive advantage are ASQ and ICC certifications. To become an ASQ certified mechanical inspector or obtain your ICC mechanical inspector certification, you will need to go through the organisation's training modules and take the appropriate exam.
Mechanical Inspector Salary by Country
As with any position, the average mechanical inspector salary will vary greatly between regions and countries. Below, we have listed the average annual earnings in the US, UK, Canada, and AU regions, but keep in mind that the salary expectations vary between states and cities as well.
Nevertheless, this should give you a good point of reference when you’re planning your career as a mechanical inspector or if you’re looking to move up to a senior mechanical inspector.
Average Mechanical Inspector Salary in the US
In the US, the median mechanical inspector salary is $50,897, however, salaries can move up to over 100k per year depending on the company, the region, and the seniority level.
Average Mechanical Inspector Salary in the UK
In the UK, the average yearly salary for mechanical inspection positions is £30,000, while the salary range is between £25,350 and £40,364.
Average Mechanical Inspector Salary in Canada
In Canada, the average yearly salary is $71,210, with a pay range from $51,507 to $87,584 per year.
Average Mechanical Inspector Salary in AU
In Australia, the gross mechanical inspector salary is $92,655 per year, with a pay range between $79,500 and $124,811 depending if you are an entry-level mechanical inspector or a senior mechanical inspector.
What Does a Mechanical Inspector Job Description Look Like?
When you’re looking at mechanical inspector jobs, you will see similar job descriptions across the board, depending on the certification you hold.
- Typical mechanical inspector responsibilities you will find in job descriptions are:
- Inspect using visual observation and mechanical testing equipment
- Ensure compliance with codes
- Analyse blueprints, manuals, verify measurements of mechanical plans
- Visually and mechanically check the use of approved materials, devices, fixtures, and equipment
- Issue written notices of code violations, review code violations and suggest corrective action
- Reviews proposed construction plans and documents
Job descriptions will also require soft skills such as good interpersonal communication and teamwork. As for education, you will need to hold a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, but that might not be a requirement for some employers.
Building a Winning Mechanical Quality Inspector Resume
To stand out to potential employers and create a winning mechanical QC inspector resume, you will need to:
- List relevant work experience in mechanical inspection or positions leading up to it
- List certifications, training, and your years of experience as a mechanical inspector specifically
- List your soft skills to show your show your ability to work with others effectively
- List your experience in training others for the role of mechanical inspector if you are a senior mechanical inspector
- Emphasise quantifiable achievements at your former positions
Your cover letter will also play a major role here, so make sure to use that opportunity to specify how all these skills would come together at your new job post. Employers will want to see that you have a genuine interest in their business.
Mechanical QA QC Inspector Interview Questions
When you reach the interview stage, you’ll want to be ready for some typical questions that the employers like to ask their top candidates.
Tell us about a particularly difficult situation you encountered on the job and how you handled it?
- Mechanical inspectors can get into some uncomfortable situations and need to demonstrate excellent leadership, communication, and professionalism. Share the story of how you handled one such scenario.
What are your biggest strengths as a mechanical QC inspector?
- List all the strengths the employer expects to hear, but save your unique selling points for last. Along with your strengths, tell the employer where you’re currently improving and how you’ll achieve that if they hire you.
How do you approach training a new mechanical inspector?
- This is a question for a senior mechanical inspector or someone who is on the path to become one. This is your opportunity to show you’re a leader and to position yourself for a higher starting salary.
Become a Mechanical Inspector Through BuildStream
Mechanical inspection is a popular vocation and an in-demand position in many industries. Now that you have in-depth insight into the mechanical inspector responsibilities, along with salary ranges and career prospects, you can finally start your career path.
If you’re wondering “where can I find the best mechanical inspector jobs near me”, BuildStream is here to help set you on the path to success. We have the processes, tools, and the expertise to match you with the best employers in your field. Sign up for free and get your resume checked by industry professionals, and then find mechanical inspector jobs easily through our intuitive and easy-to-use platform.