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 2019 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.

Changes to the Project Inspector Examination. In 2021, 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 any changes take place, they will be posted on this webpage, and all approved applicants will be notified.



April 22 & 23, 2021

DSA LA Regional Office, Los Angeles, CA

May 4 & 5, 2021

DSA San Diego Regional Office, San Diego, CA

June 15 & 16, 2021

DSA Sacramento Regional Office, Sacramento, CA

August 18 & 19, 2021

DSA Sacramento Regional Office, Sacramento, CA

September 28 & 29, 2021

DSA LA Regional Office, Los Angeles, CA

December 7 & 8, 2021

DSA Sacramento Regional Office, Sacramento, CA

You may sign up for one location only. Examinations will be held as shown (subject to change; please read the Site Form carefully that is provided after your application has been approved and you have registered for an exam date). 

All fees are nonrefundable and subject to change. Fees will likely be adjusted in 2021.

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
  • Administration $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.

The minimum scores required to pass each section of the examination are listed below:


Administrative Section

Structural Section

Architectural Section

MEP Section


Not 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.

Please do not call for test results. Results will not be given over the phone.


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 or email 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.

How To Recertify A Project Inspector

  1. Create An Account

    Directions for creating a new account or using a pre-existing DSA Academy account are located in the DSA Academy User Guide, also linked at the bottom of this webpage under Additional Information.

  2. Registration and Payment:

    • Credit card payments incur a 2.99 percent convenience charge.
    • eCheck payments have no convenience charge.

    Project Inspector Overview

    •  This is an on-demand course.
    • This course does not replace the Recertification Seminar.
    • The course contains almost 24 hours of video content in addition to quizzes throughout.
    • Course completion can take up to 24 hours to display the completed status on the "Completed Courses" portion of the Dashboard.
    • This course costs $500.
    • Upon completion you will receive a Course Completion Certificate. This is not your official Project Inspector Certificate.

    Recertification Seminar (Prerequisite for the Recertification Examination)

    • This is an on-demand course.
    • This course does not replace the Project Inspector Overview.
    • Knowledge check assessments occur throughout the course.
    • Complete the course prior to registering for the Recertification Examination (sign up for the exam after course completion displays on the "Completed Courses" portion of the Dashboard).
    • NOTE: Course completion can take up to 24 hours to display on the Dashboard.
    • This course has a $0 charge.
    • Upon completion you will receive a Course Completion Certificate for the Seminar. This is not your official Project Inspector Certificate.

    Recertification Examination

    • This is an online exam. The registration description states "Classroom" but it will be administered through the LMS system and Microsoft Teams.
    • This examination costs $400.
    • Please select a date from the available choices that best fits your schedule.
    • There is an examination administration maximum of eight candidates per exam session.
      • If the candidate cap has been reached, after attempting to register for the exam a system generated denial email will be sent to you. You will need to select a new exam date and time.
    • This course requires approval from a DSA staff member via the LMS.
      • If approved, you will receive a system generated approval email. You will also receive a separate email from the DSA staff notifying you of the requirements to take the exam.
      • The DSA staff email contains IMPORTANT information.
      • If you do not adhere to the requirements listed in the email, you will be immediately dropped from the exam and will forfeit your examination fee.
      • Microsoft Teams is required to take the exam. It is HIGHLY recommended you familiarize yourself with it PRIOR to the examination.
    • The minimum passing score for the exam is 60%. If you receive a score lower than 60% you will need to pay and register for another examination.
      Upon completion of the exam, your score will appear in your "Completed Courses" section on the "Completed Courses" portion of the Dashboard, but it may take up to 24 hours to be displayed.
    • Certificates will not be generated for the exam. If you select the "Recertification Examination" course from the "Completed Courses" portion of the Dashboard, you will receive a notice from DSA describing how to obtain a copy of your updated certification.


    Title 24 Mechanical Acceptance Training (T24MA) by the National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC)

    • This is a free on-demand course for DSA-certified Project Inspectors (PIs) through NEMIC's LMS.
    • The course requires approximately four to five hours of time.
    • An explanation of the course and access instructions can be found on the NEMI webpage. (Google Chrome is the preferred browser for this webpage.)
      • For questions regarding NEMI's T24MA training course, please contact For questions on the requirements, contact the CEC Energy Hotline at 1(800) 772-3300 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • PI approval for work on 2019 or later code-based projects commencing in 2022 or later may be contingent upon completion of the training. The 2019 California Energy Code requires acceptance testing to be performed by a certified technician. Understanding the role of the certified technician and review of the required documentation for project closeout is integral to Energy Code compliance. All PIs were notified of this requirement in early April 2021.
    • Upon completion of the course, please open and save a copy of the Certificate of Completion for your records. NOTE: A copy will be automatically sent to DSA; you DO NOT need to forward a copy to DSA.


    Classes listed on the DSA’s LMS website or those specifically identified through DSA communications are the only classes sanctioned by DSA.

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 Taxpayer ID and Social Security Number Disclosure for Certification webpage for 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 on this webpage.

DSA has deployed a Learning Management System (LMS), designed to provide you with the flexibility to start, stop, resume, and complete classes and trainings at times and locations that fit your personal schedule. This system will also allow you to take exams online during regular business hours.

The Recertification Program consists of DSA’s Project Inspector Overview (PIO) class, Recertification Seminar, Recertification Examination, and additional DSA specified training by other providers communicated to inspectors. You must complete your PIO class, Recertification Seminar, successfully pass the Recertification Examination and complete any other DSA specified training communicated to inspectors PRIOR to your expiration date unless noted otherwise. Specific information for the completing the PIO, Recertification Seminar, and Recertification Examination through the LMS is provided below.

  • 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 complete DSA’s PIO, Recertification Seminar and successfully pass the Recertification Examination prior to the expiration date of the inspector’s certification. The on-demand PIO and Recertification Seminar along with the online Recertification Examination are offered through the DSA Learning Management System (LMS).

The purpose of the Project Inspector Overview (PIO) is to provide a summary of the key knowledge areas affording project inspector competency of the rules, regulations, standards, procedures and inspection techniques associated with public school construction projects under DSA jurisdiction.

The purpose of the Recertification Seminar and Examination 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 an online, multiple choice exam (proctored virtually by DSA Staff) assessing 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