Masonry Special Inspector Certification Program

All masonry construction on projects under DSA jurisdiction requires continuous inspection by an appropriately qualified individual per the California Building Code (CBC). The individual must be DSA certified in masonry inspection, as required in section 1705A.4 of the 2016 CBC and section 4-335(f) of the California Administrative Code. DSA Masonry Special Inspectors shall have a thorough knowledge of the building materials associated with masonry, shall be able to read and interpret plans and specifications, and must meet other miscellaneous qualification criteria.

Masonry Special Inspectors are listed on the DSA Certified Masonry Special Inspector List. Masonry Special Inspectors are required to recertify (renew) every four years. Though an individual may be DSA certified, DSA approval is required for each specific project when masonry special inspectors are hired independently of a DSA certified testing laboratory by a school district.

The following information will help you prepare to become a DSA Certified Masonry Special Inspector:

Application for Examination

A detailed description of the application process is as follows:

Step 1 - Applicants must hold current/valid certification as a Structural Masonry Inspector through the International Code Council (ICC).

Step 2 - Applicants shall submit all of the following to DSA as one package to apply to sit for an exam:

  • Completed DSA 177: Special Inspector Examination Application (located on the DSA Forms page).
  • Evidence of ICC certification.
  • Evidence of at least three years of experience in construction work or special inspection work on one or more projects similar to anticipated project work.
  • Completed DSA 650: Disclosure of Social Security Number and/or Federal Taxpayer Identification Number (PDF - 148 KB). Please see DSA's AB 1424 Notification page for additional application requirements related to collection of social security/tax identification numbers. This form needs to be submitted with your application. Issuance of certifications will not be granted until this information is received.
  • The application fee of $100.00.

Upon approval by DSA to sit for the exam, the applicant will receive a detailed admittance letter and exam outline. Upon passing the exam, DSA will post the applicant’s name on the DSA Certified Masonry Special Inspector List.

Renewal Process

All DSA certified Masonry Special Inspectors must renew their DSA certification every four years prior to expiring. To apply for certification renewal, follow the same steps outlined above with two exceptions: evidence of work history and resubmittal of the DSA 650 is not required.

Upon approval by DSA to sit for the exam, the applicant will receive a detailed admittance letter. Upon passing the exam, DSA will extend the applicant’s certification for another four years on the DSA Certified Masonry Special Inspector List.

Exam Information

The exam is based on the reference material stated below. The exam is 60 questions, with a two-hour time limit, and will be open-book format.

Exam References

2016 California Building Code, Title 24, Parts 1 and 2 as follows:

  • Part 1 California Administrative Code, Chapter 4 (especially sections on special inspection, special inspectors, and reporting requirements)
  • Part 2, Volume 1 California Building Code, Chapter 2, Chapter 14
  • Part 2, Volume 2 California Building Code, Chapter 17A, Chapter 21A

Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures and Related Commentaries: TMS 402-13/ACI 530-13/ASCE 5-13

ASTM Standards: A615/A615M-13, C62-13a, C90-14, C140-a, C216-14a, C270-12a, C476-10, C1019-13, C1314-12

Exam Content

  • Title 24 Administrative Requirements
  • Masonry Quality
  • Reinforcement
  • Masonry Placement
  • Grout Placement
  • Veneers

Special Inspector Certification Program Contact

If you have any questions, please contact:

Project Inspector Unit
Division of the State Architect - Headquarters
1102 Q Street, Suite 5100
Sacramento, CA 95811

Certification Unit Hotline

(916) 443-9932

Project Approval Process

Form DSA5-SI: Special Inspector Qualification and Approval (PDF - 607 KB) (project specific)

Note: Special masonry inspectors employed by the Laboratory of Record (LOR) do not file this form.

Approval for a project is only required when the Masonry Special Inspector contracts individually and directly with a school board or design professional. Application for approval shall be made on form DSA 5-SI. The Masonry Special Inspector shall forward a copy of the completed, signed form to the responsible design professional in charge of the project for his/her signature and submission to DSA for approval. A Masonry Special Inspector is not considered approved until such time as his/her completed form bears the signature of the responsible DSA Field Engineer.

Individuals will be evaluated in accordance with the following criteria prior to approval:

  • Shall be listed on the DSA website as currently certified as a Masonry Special Inspector.
  • Shall have met the minimum experience requirements for similar project types.
  • Shall have been approved by the school district, design professional in responsible charge, structural engineer and DSA.