Do You Really Need Full-Time Inspection? 

Sain Associates has performed construction inspections for many of our city and county clients. Recently, we have had several cities utilize part-time inspectors for their projects. Construction site inspectors play a vital role in ensuring that a city’s projects are executed safely and efficiently. They serve as the “eyes and ears” of the city and make sure the construction sites comply with local and national building codes, OSHA regulations, approved project plans, and worker safety standards. Throughout a construction project, many items need a 3rd party construction inspector to observe and report on the workmanship and enforce the plans, specifications, and material requirements. 

Sain performed construction engineering and inspection services on Wares Ferry Road in Montgomery, Alabama. The ALDOT let project consisted of replacing inlets, milling, chip seal, overlay, striping, signals, and sidewalk & ADA ramp upgrades.

Typically, the Alabama Department of Transportation will require an inspector to be on the project anytime the contractor is there. However, is having a full-time inspector on site truly necessary? Those who have visited project sites have often seen the inspectors sitting in their trucks enduring long waiting periods between inspections on the project. There are many times when a contractor may be on site, and the cost of having an inspector there is unnecessary.

Starting any new item of work is a prime example of when an inspector is necessary. First, verifying that the contractor has the competencies to complete the work is important. On the other hand, if the silt fence subcontractor is out for his fourth visit to install silt fencing, and he has been doing great work thus far establishing the trust of the inspector, there is no need for the inspector to be sitting on the clock while the subcontractor completes his work.

Another example can be found during form work for concrete. A large box culvert may take several days to form. The best use of an inspector’s time here would be to spot-check dimensions and placement briefly each day while the contractor is building the forms. Then, a full inspection may be conducted of the contractor’s work once they are done and ready to pour.

The Cities of Opelika and Vestavia Hills have recently utilized Sain Associates’ part-time inspection services for city-funded projects. Their cost savings by using part-time, rather than full-time, inspectors have been significant. In Opelika’s case, the City saved over $50K over the course of their four-month project. By working closely with contractors and other city officials, construction inspectors help ensure that city projects are completed on time, within budget, and to acceptable quality and safety standards.