Shotcrete is mortar or concrete that is pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface.

All shotcrete 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 shotcrete inspection as required in Section 1705A.17 of the 2016 CBC and Section 4-335(f) of the California Administrative Code. DSA Shotcrete Special Inspectors shall have a thorough knowledge of the building materials of his or her specialty, shall be able to read and interpret plans and specifications, and must meet other miscellaneous qualification data.

Shotcrete Special Inspectors who have successfully passed the DSA exam are listed on the DSA Certified Shotcrete Special Inspector List. Shotcrete Special Inspectors are required to recertify (renew) every four years.

A detailed description of the application process is as follows:

Step 1:

Applicants must hold current/valid certification as a Reinforced Concrete Special 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:

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 his/her name on the DSA Certified Shotcrete Special Inspector List.

All DSA certified Shotcrete 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 Shotcrete Special Inspector List.

The Shotcrete Exam is based on the reference material stated below. The exam is 60 questions, with a 2-hour time limit, and is open book format; scaled score of 75 needed to pass.

Exam References:

  • 2016 California Building Code, California Code of Regulations,  Title 24,Part 1 and Part 2 (especially sections on special inspection, special inspectors, and the reporting requirements)
  • ACI 506.2-13 Specification for Shotcrete
  • ACI 506R-16 Guide to Shotcrete
  • ACI 318-14 Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete
  • ASTM C1604-05 Standard Test Method for Obtaining and Testing Drilled Cores of Shotcrete
  • ASTM C1140-11 Standard Practice for Preparing and Testing Specimens from Shotcrete Test Panels

Please note: any printed prior versions are acceptable and may be used at a test site. Exam questions will only come from the listed approved references and exam appeals may only be based on the listed approved references.

Exam Content:

  1. Title 24 Administrative Requirements
  2. Preconstruction Qualifications
  3. Shotcrete Quality
  4. Reinforcement
  5. Shotcrete Placement


If the Shotcrete Special Inspector is employed by the laboratory of record, under the supervision of the laboratory’s engineering manager, it shall be reported on a Special Inspector Identification form prescribed by DSA. The form shall be completed and signed by the engineering manager prior to commencing special inspection work.

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

Please note: Shotcrete Special Inspectors employed by the Laboratory of Record (LOR) do not file this form.

DSA 5-SI: Special Inspector Qualification and Approval (project specific)

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 Shotcrete 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.

    Contact DSA Inspector Programs

    Inspector Programs

    Headquarters Office
    Division of the State Architect

    1102 Q Street, Suite 5100
    Sacramento, CA 95811


    (916) 443-9932