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Have you ever desired to become a Certified Residential Building Inspector?
Maybe your a contractor seeking to know what those building inspectors know, or maybe you already do home inspections and are looking to get certified as a building inspector.
Or you could just be trying to test your code knowledge or add a few more certifications under your belt. Whatever the reason may be, your first step is to know a little bit about the exam itself and what you should be studying for.
The B1 Residential Building Inspector Certification Exam administered by the International Code Council (ICC) tests an individuals knowledge of the International Residential Code (IRC).
As a Certified Residential Building Inspector you will be responsible for performing inspections of structures to determine compliance with the International Residential Code and Standards.
This level of certification gives the inspector the ability to inspect one-and-two family dwellings, townhomes not more than three stories in height, and accessory structures.
Residential Building Inspector Exam Specifications
The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. You have a time limit of 2 hours to complete the exam and it is open book meaning you can only use the code book referenced. For this exam it is the International Residential Code (IRC). The code edition of the reference used should reflect the code edition of the exam you are taking. No work experience is required to take the exam and you must be at least 18 years of age.
You can take the exam via CBT (Computer-Based Training) or through PRONTO (depending on what exam edition you take). PRONTO is a new way of taking your testing exam from the comfort of your home or office. PRONTO stands for Proctored Remote Online Testing Option. For more information about the PRONTO online testing option, click here.
So what does the B1 Residential Building Inspector exam cover?
The following exam content outline is a guide to help you study for the exam and to understand what the exam will cover:
Here is the Exam Content Area Expanded to include the Subcategories:
 Code Administration
Verify that project information is provided and is adequate. Verify that the project is designed by approved persons when required, and has required approvals. Verify that products not detailed in the building code are approved by the building official and installed according to their listing. Verify that the required approved plans and specifications are available when required and retained by the building official for the period required.
Public Information and Legal
For new and existing structures, answer questions about the need for permits and inspections, general code compliance of designs, procedures, and materials. Communicate, issue, and maintain inspection reports, correction notices, stop work orders, and data for the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.
 Building Planning
Verify that the unit separation is in compliance with the code and tested assembly requirements. Verify that unit separation walls and floor/ceiling assemblies are located where required and have correct fire-resistance.
Inspect the construction site to see that the building or structure location is in compliance with the requirements of the local ordinances, fire separation regulations, and the site plan. Verify that final grade will provide the required slope away from the footing or foundation wall. Verify finish floor elevation in flood-hazard areas for compliance with local and federal requirements.
Room and Opening Dimensions
Verify that the actual and allowable floor area calculations are correct. Inspect for compliance that the room dimensions and openings are minimum for light and ventilation.
 Footings and Foundations
Verify that the building site’s soil load-bearing capacity and stability complies with approved plans or reports. Verify that footings are laid out with correct depth, size, and setbacks, and that footings extend below the frost line. Inspect footing drains for basements and crawl spaces for compliance with the code. Verify that materials used in footings and foundations are in compliance with approved plans and code requirements.
Stepped Footings and Special Foundations
Verify that stepped footings and specialized foundations are used as per the approved plans or code.
Columns and Piers
Verify that columns and piers are correctly supported and anchored, and that wood members are protected against termites and decay.
Site Preparations, Foundation, and Basement Walls
Verify that the area within the foundation walls is properly prepared. Verify that foundation stem walls are correctly sized and have sufficient height above grade. Verify that foundation wall materials, reinforcement, anchor bolts, and fasteners are correct type, size, and grade and are placed in accordance with building code requirements. Verify that foundation dampproofing and waterproofing is installed where required. Verify maximum unbalanced fill height. Verify that foundation and basement walls are properly braced prior to backfill.
 Floor Construction
Lumber Quality – Floors
Verify that wood materials are in compliance with the markings, standards, and the material characteristics. Verify that the cutting, notching, and borings are within the limitations permitted by code, and that wood members are protected against termites and decay where required.
Floor Joist Framing
Inspect floor joist framing for proper spans, bearing, and connections. Verify that the pre-engineered floor framing is in accordance with the approved drawings and manufacturer’s specifications.
Concrete Slab Inspection
Verify that concrete slabs are placed in compliance with standards and material characteristics, and that proper precautions are used in adverse weather conditions.
Subflooring and Decking
Verify that subflooring and decking has required thickness, span, and grade and meets installation specifications. Verify compliance of floor design and fasteners.
Verify that crawlspaces have required clearance, ventilation, insulation, screening, and access openings.
Verify that draftstops are provided where required.
 Wall Construction and Coverings
Lumber Quality – Walls
Verify that wood materials used in walls are in compliance with the markings, standards, and the material characteristics. Verify that cutting, notching, and borings are within the limitations permitted by code, and that wood members are protected against termites and decay where required.
Wood Framing – Walls
Inspect wood wall framing for proper spacing, bearing, and connections. Verify that pre-engineered wall systems are in accordance with the approved drawings and manufacturer’s specifications.
Inspect header spans for proper span, bearing, and connections.
Verify that steel framing is in compliance with the markings, standards, and the material characteristics.
Verify that fireblocking is provided where required.
Masonry Materials and Placement
Verify that masonry materials are in compliance with markings, standards, and the material characteristics. Inspect bonding, mortar type, mortar joint thickness, height, size, lintels, and distance between lateral supports for masonry walls. Verify that masonry is grouted where required. Verify that weather conditions are suitable for masonry construction and that proper precautions are used for adverse weather conditions. Inspect masonry reinforcement for size, length of lap splices, clearances between bars, clearances to masonry units and outside face of walls, alignment, cleanouts, and presence of loose rust, oil, or millscale.
Concrete Wall Inspection
Verify that concrete walls are in compliance with standards and material characteristics, and that proper precautions are used for adverse weather conditions. Verify that prefabricated walls and wall forms are installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and approved plans.
Braced Wall Panels
Verify that walls are braced to prevent lateral displacement and that loads are transferred to the foundation.
Verify that wall and ceiling coverings are correct type and thickness and are correctly supported and fastened. Inspect walls, floor, and ceiling finishes in bathtub and shower spaces for compliance with the code.
Exterior Sheathing, Veneers, and Weather-Resistant Coverings
Verify that exterior sheathing, veneers, and weather-resistant siding materials are correctly sized, identified, and installed; protected against termites and decay; and have appropriate clearances to finish grade. Verify that exterior veneers and weather-resistive siding have correct anchorage, support, and backing. Verify that a weather-resistant barrier is correctly installed for all walls and around all wall openings.
Exterior Plaster, Stucco, and Lath
Verify that plaster, stucco, and metal lath have correct thickness and fasteners, and are correctly installed.
 Roof/Ceiling Construction
Roof/Ceiling Insulation and Vapor Barriers
Verify that insulation is of permitted materials, is provided where required, and is correctly installed. Verify that vapor and moisture barriers are correctly installed.
Verify that attic and ceiling area construction has proper ventilation, screens, and access.
Inspect roof rafters, collar beams, and ceiling joists for compliance with span, grade, type, connections, bearing, and quality requirements. Verify that trusses are in accordance with the drawings and properly spaced, braced, and supported.
Inspect roof sheathing for proper thickness, grade, support, and fastening.
Roofs and Roof Coverings and Reroofing
Verify correct classification of roof coverings, roof slope, installation, flashings, and details, and method of roof drainage. Verify that residences that are reroofed comply with code, design, and installation standards.
Fireplaces and Chimneys
Verify that fireplaces, flues, and chimneys are correctly designed and have required clearances from combustible construction.
 Public Safety and Special Construction
Means of Egress
Inspect for compliance with the means of egress requirements for the building, including emergency egress for sleeping areas. Verify that doors and windows intended for use as emergency egress have correct clear opening areas, width, and heights.
Exit Stairways and Ramps
Verify that stairways and ramps have correct width, rise, run, slope, landings, headroom, height, guardrails, and handrails.
Verify that exterior stairs, ramps, porches, decks, and balconies which are open to the weather are constructed to support designed loads; are of suitable materials; and have required slope and width, tread, riser, headroom, guardrails, and handrail dimensions.
Inspect smoke detectors for compliance with proper installation, power supply, and locations.
Flamespread of Insulation and Finishes
Verify that interior wall and ceiling finishes, insulation, and foam plastics comply with flame spread and smoke density requirements.
Verify that safety glazing is installed and labeled where required.
What do I get when I pass the B1 Residential Building Inspector exam?
Bragging rights! Well actually you will receive a pass letter the same day right after your exam. In addition to being a Certified Residential Building Inspector (Yayyy!) you will receive a wall certification that looks like this…
You will have a certification number assigned to you so that if someone were to search for a certified professional within the ICC website, your name will come up!
Are you ready to take the B1 Residential Building Inspector Exam? Need Practice?
Want to test your knowledge of how well you know the code? Or maybe just get a feel for the exam?
Try out our Practice Exam for the B1 Residential Building Inspector Certification Exam!
This practice exam is designed for those who are looking to take the 2015 or 2018 version of the B1 Residential Building Inspector Certification Exam through the International Code Council (ICC). These practice exams are intended to help you prepare for the actual exam by helping you navigate through the code book to familiarize yourself with the specific code sections. They will test your knowledge on the exam content areas covered to improve your chances of passing the certification exam.
This is a great way to prepare yourself for the actual exam administered by ICC. Every building code professional knows that the key to passing the ICC exams is to do practice problems. Don’t just take the exam purely on experience alone. Let this resource get you focused on realistic problems built around the exam content being covered.