Working as a bridge inspector

bridge inspector inspecting girders

What is a bridge inspection?

Bridge inspections are a vital measure for ensuring infrastructure is maintained and safe. Bridge inspections involve close examination of bridges and culverts to identify defects and potential problems before major issues develop.

So, what does a bridge inspector do?

Bridge inspectors collect data about bridge elements. Consistency in the collection of this data is essential. Bridge inspectors check construction meets Transport for NSW (TfNSW) specifications. Bridge inspectors read and review plans, use survey instruments and metering devices. They keep daily logs.

  • Ensure that construction meets TfNSW specifications and contract specifications
  • Read & review plans
  • Use survey instruments, metering devices, and test equipment to perform inspections
  • Keep daily logs, including photographs taken during inspections
  • Provide written documentation of findings at inspections
  • Provide detailed reports on issues found

How to become a bridge inspector

  • Training – this varies from state to state and organisation to organisation. In NSW a Transport for NSW Level 2 inspection training certificate is required.
  • Extensive experience – you have to have the right mix of technical knowledge, work experience and education. It’s unusual for a bridge inspector to have at least 5 years of experience in construction/engineering.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Good communication skills are fundamental if you want to be a successful bridge inspector. You’ll find yourself communicating with office staff, quality managers, safety officers, environmental consultants, engineers and contractors. You are the person who will be explaining issues you find and assisting in finding a solution to the issue. Your written communication will need to be top-notch as well. Detailed written reports of inspection findings are all part of a day’s job.

Experience in the craft of bridge-building. As an inspector, you’ll be expected to know the ins and outs of bridge-building. You may be required to perform inspections throughout a construction project. Experience in construction provides you with the necessary background to do this.

Detail focused. You will need the focus and diligence to thoroughly examine many different construction activities, often at the same time. Being able to pay close attention to detail so as to not overlook any items that need to be checked is vital.

Mechanical knowledge. A variety of testing equipment and the plant is used by a bridge inspector. You must have a detailed knowledge of how each piece of equipment and plant operates.

Physical fitness. A dream job for anyone who likes the outdoors. You’ll be constantly on your feet, working on uneven surfaces, working at heights and in confined spaces. Physical fitness is a must.