All school projects under the jurisdiction of DSA must have a Certified Project Inspector on site. The inspector selection must be approved by the design professionals and DSA prior to commencement of construction. Similarly, project inspectors must be approved for state-owned and state-leased essential services buildings.

Applicants must complete and submit DSA’s project inspector examination application form and justifying qualifications to establish eligibility to take the project inspector exam. Project Inspectors are required to recertify (renew) every four years.

Project Inspectors are listed on the Certified Project Inspector List. We also produce a self-reported Project Inspector Availability List, which can be found on our Databases and Listings webpage. The availability list is provided as a temporary courtesy by DSA for school districts and project inspectors, and is updated on a biweekly basis. DSA does not employ project inspectors and the list accuracy is limited to the information provided by surveys completed by project inspectors desiring to indicate their availability for work.

Division of the State Architect (DSA) documents referenced within this webpage are available on the DSA Forms or Publications webpages.


DSA’s Project Inspector Examination measures an applicant’s ability to read and comprehend construction documents as well as knowledge of the construction, inspection and testing requirements of the California Building Standards Code. The DSA Project Inspector Examination is based on the 2016 California Code of Regulations, Title 19 and Title 24, and the edition of standards referenced therein. Title 24 is available in read-only format through the Building Standards Commission’s (BSC) website. Title 19 is available for viewing through the Office of Administrative Law on Westlaw’s website. Minimum qualifications (including work experience, education and certifications) to take and conduct requirements for examinees during the exam will be based on the 2019 California Administrative Code, Section 4-333.1. These minimum qualifications are in California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 1 and are available for viewing on BSC’s website.

Please read this entire webpage and application form DSA 175: Project Inspector Examination Application carefully for the qualification criteria and corresponding process changes.


NOTE: In 2020, further modifications will be made to the examination which may include, but not limited to, fee increases, new timelines to pass the examination, and clarifications to qualification criteria.

Examination dates, sessions and locations are subject to change. Should changes take place, they will be posted on this webpage, and all approved applicants will be notified.




March 2 & 3, 2020

Community College Building, Sacramento, CA

March 2 & 3, 2020

DSA LA Regional Office, Los Angeles, CA

June 1 & 2, 2020 - RESCHEDULED

Community College Building, Sacramento, CA

June 1 & 2, 2020 - RESCHEDULED

DSA LA Regional Office, Los Angeles, CA

September 14 & 15, 2020

Community College Building, Sacramento, CA

September 14 & 15, 2020

DSA LA Regional Office, Los Angeles, CA

December 1 & 2, 2020

Community College Building, Sacramento, CA

December 1 & 2, 2020

DSA LA Regional Office, Los Angeles, CA

You may sign up for one location only. Examinations will be held as shown (subject to change; please read the Site Form carefully).


All fees are nonrefundable and subject to change. Fees will likely be adjusted in 2020.

Application Fees

  • $225; or,
  • $175 for CA licensed architects and registered engineers

Examination Fees

Plan Reading Part:

  • Structural $200
  • MEP $100
  • Architectural $100

Construction Knowledge Part:

  • Structural $250
  • Architectural $100
  • MEP Fees $150
  • Administrative $100

Examination fees are payable by check or money order to DSA (we do not accept credit or debit cards). Personal checks returned for any reason are subject to a $30.00 fee.


Test accommodations shall be requested by the applicant by providing documentation demonstrating the candidate’s current need for a testing accommodation such as, but not limited to, recommendations of qualified professionals; proof of past testing accommodations; observations by educators; results of psycho-educational or other professional evaluations; a history of diagnosis. Test accommodation requests must describe: (1) the recommended test accommodations(s) and/or assistive devices, (2) why each accommodation or device is needed, and (3) how it will reduce the impact of the identified functional limitations. DSA may require more than one item of documentation based on the nature of the test accommodation(s). DSA shall determine if the request is reasonable and will not alter the nature or security of the exam. While accommodation allowances are good for one year after date of notification, requests must be submitted by the registration deadline with each examination administration for which the applicant is applying. However, DSA recommends contacting us prior to that date. DSA will notify the candidate regarding the requested accommodation(s). If the requested accommodations cannot be provided, the candidate may recommend alternative reasonable accommodation(s) or alternative accommodation(s) will be offered by DSA. Once arranged, the reasonable accommodation(s) may not be modified prior to or during the examination.

Seating for the exam is limited. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis.

Contact DSA Project Inspector Unit at or (916) 443-9932.


The DSA Project Inspector Examination assesses the applicant’s ability to read and comprehend construction documents as well as knowledge of the construction, inspection and testing requirements of the California Building Standards Code.

Each examination consists of two parts, a “Plan Reading Part” on day one and a “Construction Knowledge Part” on day two. The “Plan Reading Part” of the examination covers three broad subject areas (some of which contain specific subtopics): Structural, Architectural (which includes Access and Fire & Life Safety), and Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP). The “Construction Knowledge Part” of the examination covers the same three sections, as well as an Administrative section (which includes inspector duties and responsibilities). To pass a portion of the examination, applicants must obtain a minimum passing score for that section. To become certified, applicants must pass all sections for both parts of the examination. The minimum scores required to pass each section of the examination are listed below:



Administrative Section

Structural Section

Architectural Section

MEP Section


Non Applicable









DSA may change the minimum scores required to pass at any time without advance notice.

Certification does not guarantee that an individual will be approved for a school project. Experience, workload and past performance of the applicant project inspector will be evaluated and considered by DSA when determining whether DSA approval can be granted for a project inspector assignment to any given project (refer to the latest edition of IR A-7: Inspector Certification and Approval for further information).

Certificates will only be issued upon request. Duplicates may require a fee. Inspectors are listed on the Certified Inspector List regardless of whether a certificate is provided or not.


Each section of the examination has its own time allotted. Approximately one hour is allowed for a lunch break. Lunch is not provided.

The examination days are divided approximately as follows.

Day 1:

  • Check-in / Approx. 30 mins. prior to the start of your first section
  • Plan Reading–Struct. / 2.5 Hours
  • Break (lunch is not provided) / Approx. 1 Hour
  • Plan Reading–MEP / 1.5 Hours
  • Plan Reading–Arch. / 1.5 Hours

Day 2:

  • Check-in / Approx. 30 mins. prior to the start of your first section
  • Construction Knowledge–Struct. / 2.5 Hours
  • Construction Knowledge–Arch. / 1 Hours
  • Break (lunch is not provided) / Approx. 1 Hour
  • Construction Knowledge–MEP / 1.5 Hours
  • Construction Knowledge–Admin. / 1 Hours

Candidates will be notified of their exam results approximately four to six weeks after the examination date.



An individual wishing to be considered for the DSA Project Inspector Examination must complete and submit the application form DSA 175 to DSA, along with all applicable supporting documents. See Application Instructions section below for a complete list of requirements.

The application fee information is noted in the “Fees” section above. Applicants are encouraged to apply early to avoid delays in processing applications.

DSA will review each application and verify the information provided by the applicant, and:

  • If the application is approved, qualified applicants will be notified by mail of acceptance to take the examination. Along with the notification, DSA will provide a registration form to be used to register for the exam and submit the examination fee. Applicants with approved applications who do not register for and take the examination dates offered by DSA on the registration form may register for later examinations, up to a period of one year after the date the application approval letter was sent, unless there are Project Inspector Examination qualification criteria changes adopted by DSA that would render the applicant’s eligibility invalid. In this case, an applicant will be required to submit a new application, which will be reviewed for qualification criteria in effect at the time of resubmittal.
  • If DSA review determines that an applicant does not qualify for the examination classification selected, but qualifies for a lower level classification, the applicant may revise his/her application and qualify to take the examination in the lower classification without paying an additional application fee. There are four classifications of construction projects, as defined in Title 24, Part 1, Section 4-333.1 and described in IR A-7 (note: examinations are no longer provided for Class 4 construction projects). 
  • For applications having incomplete or inaccurate information, or require additional documentation to determine eligibility, DSA will contact the applicant in writing. The DSA letter will identify incomplete, inaccurate or missing items and request that the applicant provide the required information/documentation within 30 days. If the required information/documentation is not submitted within 30 days or is submitted but does not meet DSA’s requirements, the application will be denied. If an applicant wishes to submit a new application at a later date (i.e., resubmittal), such application will be subject to application procedures and fees in effect at the time of resubmittal.


After the applicant’s eligibility is confirmed by DSA in writing, candidates may register for an available examination by completing the registration form (provided by DSA to each eligible applicant) and submitting it to DSA by the registration deadline. The registration form must be accompanied by the examination fee noted in the “Fees” section above.

Seating for the examination is limited. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Upon approval for admittance to the examination, DSA will send the candidate a site form with confirmation and instructions for attending the exam.

Applicants who are registered and are not able to attend the examination for any reason may transfer to a future examination date one time (with a 72-hour minimum notice) and not pay an additional fee.


Applicants who passed sections of the examination and failed other sections are only required to retake those sections of the examination that they failed. Retakes of the failed examination sections must be in the same examination classification as the sections passed.

To retake the examination, the applicant should contact the DSA Inspector Unit and request a registration form to be sent to him/her. The form shall be completed and submitted to DSA with the appropriate examination fee (see “Fees” above). In the event that the applicant fails to pass all sections of the “Construction Knowledge Part” exam within two consecutive code testing cycles, a new application will be required to be completed and submitted, subject to all rules, procedures and fees in effect at the time of resubmittal.

Unlike the “Construction Knowledge Part”, all sections within the “Plan Reading Part” need only be passed once for the lifetime of the specific classification (applications may span consecutive code testing cycles) unless methods for displaying information in construction documents dramatically change in the future compared to current methods.


DSA will no longer issue reminder letters for your expiration date and requirements. If you have questions regarding your status or requirements still needed, please contact the DSA Project Inspector Unit at or (916) 443-9932. You are still required to fully meet the recertification requirements prior to the expiration of your certification.

Please see DSA’s AB 1424 Notification on the Certification Programs webpage or additional application requirements related to collection of social security/tax identification numbers. This information must be submitted with your application. Issuance of certifications will not be granted until this information is received.

DSA Project Inspector Certification is valid for four years. The inspector may renew his/her certification for an additional four-year term by meeting the requirements of the Recertification Program as described in this document.


  • The Recertification Program consists of DSA’s Project Inspector Overview (PIO) class and DSA’s Recertification class and examination. You must take your Recertification and PIO classes PRIOR to your expiration date. Registration information for the PIO is available on the DSA Academy Classes, Training webpage. Classes listed on the DSA Academy website are the only classes sanctioned by DSA. The Recertification class and examination schedule is shown on form DSA 176: Project Inspector Recertification Schedule and Registration (updated for 2020). Classes fill quickly; apply early.
  • DSA will record each certified inspector’s attendance at the Project Inspector Overview class and the Recertification class. DSA will also record whether or not the inspector successfully completed the Recertification Examination.
  • Fees will be charged to each inspector participating in any DSA class to cover reasonable costs of administering the Recertification Program.


  • The expiration date of a renewed certification is four years from the previous expiration date.
  • If a certified inspector obtains another certification classification (such as a Class 2 inspector obtains Class 1 certification), the previous certification expires immediately. The certification period is four years from the date of the most recent examination that an inspector has successfully completed.


If an inspector does not fulfill the requirements of the Recertification Program by the certification expiration date, the inspector’s name will be removed from the DSA website listing certified project inspectors. (NOTE: DSA may grant an extension period for certification reinstatement in accordance with PL 19-01: Project Inspector Certification Extension, which also describes consequences for lack of certification renewal.)


An inspector must attend DSA’s Recertification prior to the expiration date of the inspector’s certification and must successfully complete the Recertification Examination at the class.

The one-day Recertification is offered as indicated in form DSA 176. Make sure to apply early as the Recertification fills quickly.

The purpose of the Recertification is to ensure that inspectors are sufficiently knowledgeable of new and/or revised (from the previous effective code edition) California Building Standards Codes and administrative procedures. The code edition addressed in the class will be the currently effective code at the date of the class.

The scope of the Recertification Examination will be a written test measuring the inspector’s knowledge of new and/or revised California Building Standards Codes and administrative procedures.

If you have any questions or require further information, contact the DSA Project Inspector Unit at or (916) 443-9932.

Contact DSA Project Certification Programs

Project Certification Programs

Headquarters Office
Division of the State Architect

1102 Q Street, Suite 5100
Sacramento, CA 95811


(916) 443-9932