Code Enforcement Officer Job Description
Code enforcement officers work in government departments. They ensure compliance with zoning laws and building ordinances within their jurisdiction, which may encompass a city, town, or county. This involves inspecting properties, whether as part of regular assessment or in response to complaints, and recording and addressing violations. Code enforcement officers also help create or update regulations and spread awareness about these changes to the public. While they mostly stay inside the office, they sometimes travel to visit properties or talk directly to owners.
Code Enforcement Officer Duties and Responsibilities
Code enforcement officers perform several tasks depending on the scope of their jurisdiction, but these are the duties we came across most often in our analysis of job listings:
Code enforcement officers schedule and conduct property inspections to check if all rules and regulations are met. The process may take several days, since they must perform a walk-through of the entire property in addition to analyzing site plans, use permits, contracts, and other relevant documents.
When citizens or government officials file complaints about property violations, it’s up to code enforcement officers to investigate whether the claims are valid, usually through research, paperwork reviews, property inspections, and complainant, witness, and owner interviews.
Code enforcement officers are ultimately responsible for ensuring that all buildings and properties are in compliance with ordinances and zoning laws. Upon discovering violations, they promptly send out warning notices, assist owners in taking corrective steps, and charge penalties if noncompliance persists.
It’s vital for code enforcement officers to keep accurate records of complaints, property inspections, and case violations while submitting regular summary reports to supervisors. Code enforcement officers are meticulous about documentation, gathering as much information as possible and inputting data into a computer database for efficient retrieval.
Because building codes and zoning laws can be confusing, code enforcement officers must actively explain them to the public and thoroughly address inquiries, with the goal of increasing awareness so that all violations are rooted in misbehavior rather than lack of knowledge.
Code Enforcement Officer Skills and Qualifications
Successful code enforcement officers are observant and detail oriented, thoroughly studying all aspects of a property. They stay updated with regulations and maintain a strong technical understanding of construction. The following skills are in highest demand among code enforcement officers:
- Knowledge of regulations – code enforcement officers are experts in building and land code regulations for their area of jurisdiction. They can apply this knowledge to various situations and take appropriate action regarding violations
- Technical expertise – when examining for compliance, code enforcement officers should be able to interpret blueprints and analyze technical aspects of buildings, such as safety hazards or plumbing systems
- Communication skills – this job requires strong communication skills for everything from coordinating with owners for inspection schedules to tactfully explaining the reasoning behind their decisions
- Data entry – code enforcement officers maximize transparency with property or building owners through extensive documentation, so they must be able to log information quickly and accurately using both traditional and digital systems
- Organization skills – it’s common for code enforcement officers to evaluate several sites at once. They should manage their time well and organize their findings into separate case files that property owners and supervisors can easily understand
Tools of the Trade
The following are some tools used by code enforcement officers in their day-to-day work:
- Home inspection tools (such as electrical testers, gas detectors, or moisture meters)
- Building or property documents (such as blueprints, architectural drawings, or contracts)
- Code enforcement applications (such as CIVICgov, eCode, or ViewPoint Cloud)
Code Enforcement Officer Education and Training
The minimum education requirement for code enforcement officers is a high school diploma. Since each city has its own criteria and process for hiring, some employers look for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, architecture, public administration, or a related field. Successful candidates typically have at least two years of previous field experience. In addition, most cities require licensing or certification to enhance knowledge in specific code enforcement topics, and programs for this may be part of on-the-job training.
Code Enforcement Officer Salary and Outlook
PayScale reports that code enforcement officers earn a median annual salary of around $41,000. Those in the 10th percentile earn less than $30,000 every year, while the top 10 percent of earners receive more than $65,000.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for construction and building inspectors, who have many job functions in common with code enforcement officers, is likely to increase 10 percent by 2026. Major factors include urban growth and increased emphasis on public safety and building quality.
Examine these resources to learn more about what it takes to become and work as a code enforcement officer:
Code Check Building: An Illustrated Guide to the Building Codes – code enforcement officers can consult this book on-site, as it provides a clear, illustrated presentation of building codes in the US and is especially helpful for learning about construction methods and materials
American Association of Code Enforcement – while there are many US-based associations for those in code enforcement, AACE is the only one with a nationwide reach. Aside from educational opportunities, it offers several professional certifications that act as proof of technical expertise
Understanding the Law of Zoning and Land Use Controls – specific regulations vary per jurisdiction, but this book gives readers a solid foundation for understanding the principles behind zoning laws, from fundamental concepts to user compliance
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