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Division of the State Architect

Division of the State Architect Inspector Certification

The Division of the State Architect (DSA):

DSA (Division of the State Architect) is a California State Government Division or agency that has been given the task of regulating the construction of public schools throughout the state of California. This is the result of an act of the State Legislature. They are the building department for public schools.

School Districts that want to build new schools, or remodel and add to existing ones are required to apply for construction permits through DSA. As a part of that regulatory process DSA requires that a DSA Certified building inspector or assistant inspector continuously observe all aspects of the construction process. Therefore unlike most other jurisdictions such as L.A. City or Orange County where construction is only required to be inspected at certain times, DSA requires that an inspector be onsite continuously to provide inspection.

Division of the State Architect Certification:

DSA offers a certification for project inspectors. DSA administers a certification exam 3-4 times per year depending on demand. This exam is designed to test the abilities of the candidates to take on the task of inspecting a public school.

See the link below for more information on DSA Inspector Certification.

Link here for IRA-7 Project inspector Certification and Approval

Types of Certifications:

There are a few kinds of certifications available from DSA and they are as follows:

  • Class 1, 2, or 3 Project Inspector Certifications are for construction project inspectors. Class 1 Inspectors are allowed to inspect any DSA project that they are approved for. Class 2 and 3 are lower level certifications that allow inspectors to work on either wood frame structures and modernizations.
  • DSA Masonry Inspector is a Special inspector certification that is unique to DSA and is a combination of ICC Certification along with DSA approval.
  • Certified Access Specialist (CASp) or certified access specialist is a certification established to administer the CASp program that requires local municipalities to employ such a specialist as part of their staff.

Application Process:

Who can apply

  • In general in order to apply to become a certified DSA inspector a candidate must be 25 years old and be accepted through the application process set up by DSA. See the link below for specific information.
  • Link to 2013_InspectorPackage_01-11-13.pdf

What to expect:

  • Each examination consists of two Parts; a 'Plan Reading Part' in the morning and a 'Code Part' in the afternoon. The 'Plan Reading Part' of the examination includes questions grouped into three subject areas: Structural, Architectural (which includes Access and Fire & Life Safety), and Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing (MEP). The 'Code Part' of the examination has the same three sections, as well as an Administrative section (which includes inspector duties and responsibilities). To pass either part of the examination applicants must obtain a minimum score in each section. To become certified, applicants must pass both parts of the examination. The minimum scores to pass the exam are given in the grid below:

  • Sections
    Admin Structural Architectural MEP
    PLAN PART - 60% 60% 60%
    CODE PART 60% 60% 60% 60%
  • Each Part of the exam lasts three hours. There will be 30 minutes allowed prior to the Plan Reading Part to review the drawings provided. Approximately one hour is allowed for lunch. Lunch is not provided. Examinations will be held in northern and southern California (subject to change; please read your site form carefully). Qualified applicants will be notified by mail of acceptance to take the examination, and specific times and locations. Candidates will be notified of results approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the examination date.

  • Online

  • Plan Reading

  • Code knowledge


"I was completely lost trying to study for the exam. I had taken it 4 times and failed all for times, I almost gave up till I fount this website."

Jim Baca, North Hollywood, Ca.

"The plan reading and code courses were very helpful in preparing me. I recommend it to anyone not interested in wasting their time trying to figure out what to study on their own"

Jim Moore, Palmdale, Ca.

"As an OSHPD inspector I expected to pass the DSA exam without a problem. It hit me like a freight train. Luckily I found this site and signed up. The next time I was ready"

Manuel Madrigal, San Jose, Ca.