Building a Respectable Career

by Mar 19, 2024Brunswick County Life, North Brunswick, Online Exclusives, Real Estate

Winnabow resident Scott Rabon is named North Carolina Building Inspector of the Year.

Solemn, sincere and serious describe Scott Rabon as he sits at a Town Creek Park bench ready to talk about the prestigious award he won. Rabon has served as a building inspector in Brunswick County for 20 years and received the 2023 North Carolina Building Inspector of the Year award from the North Carolina Building Inspectors’ Association.

When asked what qualities it takes to be an inspector, Rabon doesn’t hesitate.

“Good communicator, a people person,” he says. “We are there to help the contractors build the best homes they can build and still get to that end goal of being on time or as close to that time as we can. We are there to protect the homeowner and the insurance company. We are in this together.”

Another factor is crucial.

“You have to understand the code and interpret the code,” he says. “It involves a lot of reading and being able to remember.”

As an example, if you are going to the same home, you must recall what was previously inspected and what needs to be inspected. Rabon does about 16 inspections each day.

“Border lines, trenches, those are quick inspections if they are done correctly,” he says. “They take about 10 minutes.” He says the codes do not change often, and since he knows them, other inspectors call him.

“They ask me about anchor bolt spacing, the slope on a plumbing pipe,” he says. “I try to be the one to communicate the information. I don’t have to refer to the code book a lot.”

Building Inspector of the Year Scott Rabon

“He’s very knowledgeable about the codes and good at keeping up to date on those changes,” John Hyman, deputy director of code administration at the Brunswick County Government Complex, says of Rabon. He says the North Carolina Building Inspectors’ Association has never had as many accolades and recommendations for one individual. “It was double the normal number for that award,” he says. “[Scott] will spend as much time as needed to resolve an issue and doesn’t push you out of the way to get to the next inspection.”

Laura, Rabon’s wife, writes in an email that she knew about the award before Rabon did and is happy and proud of him.

“I’m glad he’s being recognized after spending 20 years at the same place doing the same job,” she says. The couple’s son, Wyatt, 24, is a carpenter.

Rabon explains that inspectors appear as soon as the footing of a building is dug.

“When you see the anchor bolts and the rebar come out of the ground, before any concrete is poured, we’ve been to the site,” Rabon says. An inspector has appeared 14 times, “if everything goes right,” before the building is approved, he says.

A life-long resident of Winnabow, Rabon, 49, graduated from South Brunswick High School then worked for a contractor framing houses, doing roofing and general construction.

“I liked the framing most because it’s like putting a puzzle together,” he says.

During one construction job, Rabon impressed an inspector with his knowledge of codes and building so much that the inspector suggested he become an inspector. Rabon followed the advice and began classes for all the trades except electricity. He is certified at Level 3, the highest level, in plumbing, structure and mechanical, which includes heating, air conditioning and gas.

“I don’t do electrical because I don’t have any background in it,” he says. He understands the struggles the contractors and homeowners have because, “I’ve been on both sides of the fence.”

He says he grew up with hurricanes, but he wasn’t prepared to see the devastation the 2021 tornado caused at Ocean Ridge Plantation.

“My immediate job was to inspect the safety of the impacted structures,” he says. “Our goal was to try to make everything safe while trying to help the residents understand that we were there to help in any way we could.”
A hobby of Rabon’s is hunting, especially bears.

NC Building Inspectors Association

“I was raised in the woods, and I’m a hard-core bear hunter,” he says, adding that his father and grandfather were too. He owns five Plott hounds, North Carolina’s state dog. He hunts during North Carolina’s season from mid-November to January 1, and this September he will hunt bear in Canada.

“Not a lot of people hunt bear, and I like the danger and the challenge,” he says. “The bears we harvest are all processed, and what we don’t eat we give to family, friends and the communities where we hunt.”

He also likes to fish, especially at Town Creek, and eats the bream and bass he catches. To keep the 130 acres of family farmland from going fallow, he plants beans, sorghum and milo on 30 acres at a time for the wildlife to eat.

Laura, a paralegal for Brunswick County, says she goes hunting and fishing with Scott.

“I’ve never ‘let’ him teach me how to clean anything we bring home,” she says. “I do help him put it all up, though — making burgers, sausage, freezing roasts. We do all that together. I enjoy it, and it’s what feeds our family all year long.”

“Brunswick County has been good to me, personally and as a career,” Rabon says. “I would like for any young people to know that building inspection is a good job, no matter what anybody tells you. It’s a good career.”

Hyman adds, “Our industry would be a lot better off if we had more members like Scott Rabon.”

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