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Pipeline Construction Inspector

Pipeline construction inspectors oversee a range of activities from pipeline construction to site restoration. They make sure technical requirements are followed. They also promote safe work practices and environmental stewardship.

  • Avg. Salary $75,924.00
  • Avg. Wage $38.23
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 5,300
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Construction Inspector, Pipeline Foreman, Pipeline Inspector

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Construction Inspectors (2264) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Construction Inspectors (C164) 
  • 2011 NOC: Construction inspectors (2264) 
  • 2016 NOC: Construction inspectors (2264) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

38%
38%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Pipeline Construction Inspector is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Construction Inspectors
METHODICAL

Interest in handling equipment and materials to inspect steel framework, concrete forms, reinforcing steel mesh and rods, concrete and pre-stressed concrete to ensure quality standards; and in inspecting construction sites to ensure safe working conditions are maintained

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing data from inspection of sites to verify that they conform to specifications and building codes, and from inspections and tests of electrical and plumbing installations to ensure that they comply with municipal, provincial and federal regulations

directive

Interest in speaking with purchasers to inspect, assess and provide reports on new and resale homes; and in inspecting existing buildings to identify and report on structural defects, fire hazards and other threats to safety

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 12, 2021

Pipeline construction inspectors represent the pipeline owner on the construction site. They evaluate worksite activities to ensure that the contractor and workers follow:

  • Company specifications and policies
  • Government regulations
  • Environmental requirements
  • Landowner requirements

They have the authority to stop work if conditions or activities pose a danger to a person, property, or the environment.

In general, pipeline construction inspectors:

  • Complete required reports including daily inspection reports and weekly progress reports.
  • Relay survey and right-of-way information to the construction manager.
  • Correct deviations from requirements. For example, they ensure staff wear proper personal protective equipment, and pipe that crosses a watercourse is installed correctly.
  • Confirm the contractor’s operators have proper training.
  • Assist in preparing incident reports.
  • Participate in daily meetings to address issues such as quality, job safety, or environmental concerns.
  • Identify lessons learned and participate in sessions to support these lessons.
  • Review construction drawings, specifications, conditions, work plans, and procedures.
  • Identify materials (i.e. heat numbers, material specifications, joint preparation).​

Pipeline construction inspection includes several specializations.

Crossings inspectors are involved when a pipeline construction project crosses the path of a utility or another pipeline. Their understanding of crossing methods help them to ensure that:

  • The construction team follows regulations for open excavation crossings.
  • The owner company and any third-party owners coordinate activities.
  • Workers locating underground facilities use accepted procedures and techniques.
  • The construction team uses proper excavation methods when they are near the pipe.
  • All features and offsets are located and marked.
  • All stakes and flags remain visible for the entire project.

Trenchless crossings inspectors work where the crossing cannot be excavated, such as a river or road. This generally happens during horizontal directional drilling or some form of tunneling such as direct pipe. They ensure that the crossing design satisfies both the drilling company and the owner company. They also:

  • Ensure entry and exit locations are safe
  • Make sure entry and exit locations meet constraints within crossing agreements and company specifications
  • Ensure the direction or angle of the bore has not changed from the intended drill path
  • Monitor for drilling mud migration

Earthworks inspectors are also known as craft inspectors. They oversee construction activities during the clearing, grading, ditching, and excavating phases. Earthworks inspectors make sure the team follows proper procedure when they:

  • Cut, burn, or remove trees, brush, and debris from the right-of-way
  • Prepare and maintain right-of-way accesses
  • Locate buried utility lines
  • Strip and store topsoil for redistribution after the pipe has been backfilled
  • Blast, excavate, and remove rock at grade

Pipe handling inspectors oversee pipe handling activities during construction, which include:

  • Stockpiling pipe materials
  • Stringing the pipe together
  • Bending the pipe
  • Lowering the pipe into the ditch

They:

  • Inspect and log all materials received
  • Ensure pipe joints are properly laid out along the pipeline right-of-way
  • Confirm that, when pipes are bent in the field, they are bent within correct limits
  • Confirm that no damage occurs to the pipe or the coating
  • Inspect operations when lowering the pipe into the trench to avoid damage to the pipe or coating

Coating inspectors monitor adherence to company requirements for pipeline coating. They ensure that:

  • The construction team identifies and repairs all pipe-coating damage before they lower the pipe.
  • The backfill material is suitable.
  • The team places backfill material in the trench in a way that does not damage the pipe or coating.

Welding inspectors oversee welding operations. In general, they:

  • Monitor welders’ work to make sure they follow welding-related designs, drawings, and specifications
  • Check welders’ qualification records to specific processes
  • Confirm that personal protective equipment is in good condition and that welders use it

Pressure testing inspectors carry out pressure testing to confirm that the pipeline has acceptable strength. Before the pipe goes into service, they ensure that it will not leak under operating conditions. To do this, they:

  • Check that all required permits, plans, and calculations are approved and in place before testing starts
  • Review and confirm that all testing equipment is in good condition before testing starts
  • Make sure operations follow the pressure-testing plan
  • Ensure appropriate response in the event of a rupture or leak

Environmental inspectors ensure construction activities comply with environmental permits and requirements at all times. They monitor activities such as soil and water erosion, habitat damage, and air, noise and water pollution. They also follow the company’s environmental protection plan (EPP) related to:

  • Watercourses
  • Wetlands, muskeg, and swamp areas
  • Wildlife habitats
  • Migratory routes
  • Archaeological sites

Safety inspectors uphold company and industry standards to ensure safety, minimize risk, and avoid hazards at the work site. They:

  • Plan, schedule, and conduct safety meetings
  • Promote a safe working environment by communicating project issues and solutions
  • Ensure emergency medical services are available and meet requirements
  • Make sure all workers follow requirements for use of personal protective equipment
  • Enforce a “stop work” order if a safety situation arises

Maintenance inspectors oversee a range of activities on operating pipelines, so their duties overlap with other specializations. In general, they:

  • Monitor investigative digs and repairs such as buffing (smoothing the surface)
  • Monitor other areas, such as earthworks, welding, and crossings
  • Ensure cathodic protection systems are properly installed or upgraded

Chief inspectors are highly skilled and experienced individuals. They understand the inspection requirements for all of the pipeline construction phases. They oversee the specialized pipeline construction inspectors on the job site. Their specific duties vary depending on where they work.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 12, 2021

Pipeline construction inspectors typically work on a contract basis. Jobs are available for 10 to 12 months of the year. Inspectors work on 1 project at a time for its duration, typically 3 to 6 months. Their workload varies depending on each project.

Pipeline construction inspectors work outdoors in different weather conditions and terrain. On some projects, they may need to travel to remote locations. Meeting construction deadlines can make for long workdays.

Inspectors spend a lot of time on their feet. They typically do not need to lift heavy objects.

Inspectors wear personal protective equipment at all job sites.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 12, 2021

Pipeline construction inspectors need:

  • Maturity and confidence
  • Sound judgement and logical reasoning
  • Leadership skills
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Basic computer skills
  • The ability to navigate using digital mapping
  • The ability to commit to a task and then follow through
  • The ability to cooperate with project team members and guide the job to completion
  • The ability to resist pressure to ignore a problem

Pipeline construction inspectors should enjoy:

  • Interpreting plans and drawings
  • Preparing reports
  • Having clear rules and organized methods for their work
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 12, 2021

Most specializations in pipeline construction inspection require a high school diploma or equivalent.

The industry has developed training programs for many specializations. Some specializations have additional requirements. For example, environmental inspectors need a post-secondary diploma or degree in a related field. Welding inspectors and coating inspectors must complete specific training and certification requirements.

Employers may accept combinations of education, experience, and certifications. People interested in becoming inspectors should check with the relevant organization or certifying body.

For more information on the requirements for each specialization, see Centre for Pipeline Knowledge.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 12, 2021

Most employers in Alberta require API 1169 certification as a minimum.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the pipeline industry co-developed the API 1169 Pipeline Construction Inspector certification program.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 12, 2021

Pipeline construction inspectors work with:

  • Pipeline construction companies
  • Pipeline owner operators

A company may hire an inspector as a regular employee. But most large construction companies in Alberta hire pipeline construction inspectors as contractors.

As a contractor, pipeline construction inspectors usually set up a business and supply their own equipment. To set up a business, an inspector needs:

  • A business number
  • Commercial liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance or equivalent

Self-employed pipeline construction inspectors also need:

  • A valid class 5 driver’s license
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • A vehicle, preferably a pick-up truck or SUV
  • A laptop computer or tablet for filling out digital forms
  • A mobile phone connected to a major network

Pipeline construction inspection is not an entry-level position. Employers generally want to hire experienced individuals. Many pipeline construction inspectors began their careers by working for a pipeline construction company. They often start out in roles such as excavating or pipeline coating.

An inspector in any specialization can become a chief inspector. Chief inspectors often have over 10 years of inspection experience in at least 2 specializations.

Pipeline Construction Inspectors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2264: Construction inspectors. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 2264: Construction inspectors occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 78 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 12, 2021

According to Jiva Consulting, new pipeline construction inspectors can expect an annual compensation of $90,000 (2019 estimate). However, a third of individuals currently employed as pipeline inspectors earn over $250,000 per year (includes vehicle and living expenses).

Construction inspectors

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.02 $55.29 $33.23 $28.00
Overall $27.00 $62.50 $38.23 $33.65
Top $27.45 $69.71 $41.92 $37.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

38%
38%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

17%
17%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

4%
4%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Environment, Forestry and Related Studies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 12, 2021

American Petroleum Institute (API) website, certification program: www.api.org

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) website: cepa.com

Jiva School of Energy website, career resources: www.jivaconsulting.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 12, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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