Updated: May 8, 2022
How does someone become a residential electrical inspector?
ICC certifications are essential for building inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials. Certifications demonstrate that the inspector or plans examiner is properly trained in their field of expertise and can effectively apply the code to construction projects. Becoming a certified residential electrical inspector requires passing an International Code Council (ICC) certification exam. The entire process requires three basic steps:
1. Learn what the ICC requires for residential electrical inspectors
The ICC residential electrical inspector exam requires the applicant to be knowledgeable in the International Residential Code (IRC). The IRC is the most commonly adopted code for residential buildings that creates minimum regulations for one- and two-family dwellings of three stories or less. It brings together all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, energy and electrical provisions for one- and two-family residences into a single book. From this code, an examinee must be able to answer questions from the following categories:
01 General Requirements 10%
0101 Project Administration 1% Verify that required permits are issued and valid. Verify that the required approved plans and specifications are available when required and retained by the building official for the period required.
0102 Public Information and Legal 1% Communicate the intent of the code using proper terminology. Answer questions about general code compliance, procedures, and materials. Identify the suitability of the installation of materials according to the listing and labeling. Communicate issues and maintain inspection reports, correction notices, stop work orders, and data for the issuance of the certificate of occupancy
0103 Electrical Theory 2% Apply basic electrical theory to determine loads and circuit ampacities for safe installation of electrical systems.
0104 Clearances and Guarding 2% Determine required working clearances, location, access, and guarding requirements for electrical installations.
0105 Connections and Splices 2% Verify that conductor connections, splices, and terminal identification meet code requirements.
0106 Conductors 2% Inspect conductors to verify correct use, type, insulations, markings, and ampacity.
02 Services 17%
0201 Service Size and Rating 8% Inspect services to verify required conductor ampacity, clearances, location, materials, and equipment.
0202 Service Grounding and Bonding 9% Verify size and type of conductors and electrodes, including location and installation. The Residential Electrical Inspector is responsible for performing inspections of the installation or alteration of electrical systems indoors and outdoors including services, conductors, equipment, components, fixtures, appliances, devices, and electrical appurtenances for one‐ and two‐family dwellings limited to 120/240 volts, single phase, up to 400 amperes.
03 Branch Circuit and Feeder Requirements 28%
0301 Feeders 5% Inspect feeders to verify conductor size, clearances, location, materials, and grounding conductors.
0302 Branch Circuit and Feeder Calculations 6% Verify that the load to be placed on branch circuits and feeders meets code provisions for the conductor, devices, materials, and equipment installed.
0303 Branch Circuit Ratings and Overcurrent Protection 7% Verify correct size, type, location, and installation of overcurrent devices.
0304 Required Branch Circuits 5% Verify that all required branch circuits are provided.
0305 Panelboards 5% Verify panelboard rating, circuit identification, overcurrent protection, and correct installation.
04 Wiring Methods And Power and Lighting Distribution 21%
0401 Installation Methods 4% Verify that installation of all conductors, cables, raceways, and fittings meets code requirements. Verify that underground wiring meets code requirements.
0402 Branch Circuit Required Outlets 4% Verify that receptacle and lighting outlets and switches are provided in all required locations.
0403 Branch Circuits – GFCI 4% Verify that ground‐fault circuit interrupter protection is provided in all required locations.
0404 Boxes and Enclosures 3% Verify that boxes are of proper type and correctly sized and installed.
0405 Equipment Grounding 3% Verify equipment bonding and grounding conductor sizes, connections, and installation.
0406 Flexible Cords 2% Verify proper use and sizing of flexible cords.
0407 Class 2 Circuits 1% Inspect low voltage control wiring, Class 2 circuits, and fire alarm circuits.
05 Devices, Lighting Fixtures, and Appliances 19%
0501 Switches and Receptacles 6% Verify that switches and receptacles are of the correct type and rating and are installed properly.
0502 Light Fixtures 4% Verify that light fixtures and fixture wires are of correct type and rating and are properly installed.
0503 Appliances 5% Inspect appliance wiring and equipment to verify correct type, use, installation, and disconnecting means.
0504 Heating and Cooling Equipment 4% Inspect space heating and cooling equipment, including air conditioning and refrigeration wiring and equipment, to verify correct type, use, installation, and disconnecting means.
06 Swimming Pools and Similar Installations 5%
0601 Swimming Pool Wiring 5% Verify proper installation of swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, hydromassage bathtubs, etc.
2. How to study for the residential electrical inspector (E1) exam
Knowing how to tackle answering questions from all of the required sections is a daunting task. Practicing answering residential electrical code questions is essential for an inspector or someone about to take an exam. In the field, an inspector should be able to answer general questions about conductors, services, feeders, and electrical equipment installations. During an exam, test takers must be able to navigate the International Residential Code fast enough to answer all of the questions within the allowed time of 120 minutes. Building Code Masters has several practice exams for electrical inspectors to test their skills and learn the most essential questions and scenarios they will be presented with. Practice exams for residential electrical inspectors can be found through the provided links below:
3. How to take the ICC residential electrical inspector exam
When taking an electrical code examination, it is essential to be able to navigate the code fast enough to find all of the answers. Most ICC examinations are open book and because of this, obscure and hard to memorize material will be included in all of the examinations i.e. large tables and mathematical formulas. The 2018 residential electrical inspector exam requires applicants to be able to answer the following questions in the allocated time:
Number of questions: 60
Time limit: 2 hours
This means that examinees will have roughly two minutes per question. It may appear as a generous amount of time but some questions will be longer and more in depth than others which requires an inspector to be able to have section locations of the book memorized. Having chapter locations memorized and pacing oneself will lead to passing the exam. Practice exams from Building Code Masters prepare test takers for the time crunch and memorization of the most important sections of the code. Whether the exam be focused on building, mechanical, electrical, or plumbing, Building Code Masters has all of the study materials available to help test takers learn how to become better educated building inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials.
For a complete list of practice exams and study materials, CLICK HERE.