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My first major complaint to the ICC

Discussion in 'Talk to the ICC Board' started by jar546, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I have to say that the certification process has become manipulated to generate revenue in my opinion. Whoever sits on these committees figuring out what people need, may themselves need a dose of reality.
    Let's look at a few items, shall we?

    The MCP is somewhat reasonable for it "core" requirements but then it requires Residential Energy Inspector / Plans Examiner which, is relatively new. For those of us with Residential Building Inspector which had energy questions and Commercial Energy Inspector / Plans Examiner, it is a slap in the face. I have both yet have to take a test for residential yet again, regardless of the fact that I have Combination Plans Examiner which is residential driven and Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical inspector and plans examiner certifications along with Accessibility Inspector / Plans Examiner? Yes I understand the need for the legal module which is no big deal and of course Fire Plans Examiner but seriously, you need us to have Residential Energy when we already have Commercial Energy Inspector AND Plans Examiner which is 2 separate tests? I call total BS.

    Compliant #2: The Building Codes and Standards Module. So I have to to into an exam room with 9 separate books? The fact that I have every single Residential and Commercial Inspector and Plans Examiner certification means nothing? You really want us to buy books, don't you? This is absolutely pathetic.

    Let me present complaint #2 in a different way. If I have zero experience with inspecting and NO inspector certifications, I can take the legal module, management module and building codes and standards module but if I already have 18 ICC inspector/plans examiner certifications, I still need to take the building codes and standards module AND take 9 books into the testing facility?

    In my case I live in Florida and we use the FBC which, for the most part is ICC books with a twist based on the ICC codes. I have access to them but have absolutely NO REASON to own an IBC or IRC yet find myself buying them just for the sake of taking ICC tests. I don't mind buying one to take a test but 9?!!!!!!!

    Seriously, get a grip on this unrealistic, expensive system. And we wonder why the industry is losing people.
     
  2. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    But look at it from a PR perspective ... they can put on their website that all the inspectors are now fully qualified in residential energy savings, and the world will be a better place. Want to bet that there were several lobbyists involved?
     
    jar546 likes this.
  3. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Jeff, I hear you. Let me check into this and I'll get back to you. One thing worth noting is that the ICC training and education outfit consistently lost money in years past. It's not a mismanagement issue. Nowadays they generally break even and depending on the month of the year generate a very modest net revenue. Hey guys & gals, I watch the numbers. I receive monthly financial statements from all the ICC business lines plus it's that time of the year to go over the numbers for the 2020 / 2021 budget. Also, please note that I cannot and will not share specific numbers because of my fiduciary responsibilities to ICC. ICC is far from perfect but I can tell you that there are some really excellent people steering the ship. Hope this helps.
     
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  4. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I can see both sides but this is not about making money, it is about serving your members. If you lose money in one area but make some in the other and it evens out, you are serving your members. I have 23 ICC certifications so basically I know how to read the books. I don't think it is necessary for someone with all of the residential certs and then commercial energy inspector and plans examiner to have to take a residential energy test. I know I will eventually have no choice but to take it but come on already. Really?
     
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  5. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Jeff, you are right on target with your point that some departments or programs create revenue and some do not with one or more supporting the other. I also hear you loud & clear about the energy exams being required for MCP. I don't think it would be wise of me to express an opinion about that requirement but know exactly where your coming from. :)
     
    jar546 likes this.
  6. Sifu

    Sifu Gold Member

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    I hope this doesn't rub too many the wrong way but you just hit a hot button for me. I try to withhold my personal opinions on this site and I mean no disrespect towards any individual.

    I was a little irked recently when I saw a profile in the Building Safety Journal of a person who in one year made MCP. WHAT? I say congratulations to her but WHAT? She was a permit technician and by her own admission had no construction experience, has an accounting degree and got into the business by accident. WHAT? I sincerely applaud her commitment and intelligence but IMHO it diminishes the years if not decades of experience, education and commitment that many career inspectors, contractors and building officials have spent doing the job on purpose, whether they take a test or not. (Many, many BO's and others I LEARN from have few "certifications") I have heard snarky comments about being an MCP before, I try not to take them personally, I know I have paid my dues and spent my time to get here. But a one year "accidental" MCP is a bit much. I certainly don't hold any ill will towards her, she is just taking what is available to her, But ICC, do you really want to market the idea that you can be an accountant, have no experience and in one year achieve the pinnacle of your measurement for professional and technical knowledge? To me this was an obvious, if ill conceived plan to encourage people to take the required exams but I think it may have the opposite affect. I have wondered before if a time and experience component should be considered for some of the certifications. Now I am almost sure of it.

    End of rant.
     
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  7. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Sifu, good comment and no your post was not a rant. I have experienced just what you described except it was not MCP. A person (no names) passed the commercial plans examiner test and applied for a plans examiner position. That person had zero construction experience. Zero... We both applied for the position and I won the day on that one... or so I thought. That person ended up a few years later to be my immediate supervisor and made my life a living hell. It all worked out well in the end but it was a very tough time. The point in recalling all this??? I have known people that can pass exams the very first time. I'm not one of them. So the question is the credibility and value of the certification? I have often thought that there should be a program such as apprentice, journeyman, ect... leading up to the upper tier certifications. Please note that this is only my personal thoughts plus nothing. Just an old man rambling.... on...
     
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  8. Sifu

    Sifu Gold Member

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    I might be one of those people that can pass a test, I don't really know because I choose to not try. I don't ever want to be one of the "test-takers" people grumble about. Do I ever think I know everything before I take a test? NEVER. But even if I think I could pass I still study my #$% off because I never want to fail, and even though they never tell you your score if you pass, I want a 100%, and I don't want to donate an additional 180.00 to the process (most of my testing has been on my dime).
     
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  9. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    Go back to the legacy codes before computers. Under the SBCCI you only had 4 times a year you could take a test. Some where 3 hours some where two part 3 hours each. If I remember right they where open book. UBC building was two part. One part open book one part closed book. They where more difficult then I believe today's ICC exams are. I felt it was quite an accomplishment to get my CBO cert. I don't know what ICC uses but SBCCI had a 60/40 ratio to determine the validity of there test. If more than 60% pass the 1st time they believe it was to easy of a test. If less than 40% pass the 1st time then it is to difficult.
     
  10. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    Take a step back and look at the ICC empire. It is focused on making money

    ICC keeps the membership fees low compared to other professional organizations in order to provide legitimacy but a driving force is the desire by management to maintain and expand the empire to pay their salaries.
     
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  11. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I have seen this with many organizations that were started to advocate for a certain group then after growing and needing a large infrastructure to do what they set out, it then became more about maintaining the organization than it did serving their members.
     
  12. jpranch

    jpranch Platinum Member

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    Just speaking for myself here but the day we as an organization loose sight of our mission and the legs we stand on Ie. our membership will be the day I will quit.
     
  13. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I have to rethink my position. What I have to realize and maybe many of us have to realize is that the ICC is not an association that advocates for building officials, inspectors or plan reviewers. The ICC was started to create codes. In order to enforce the codes properly, they need building officials, inspectors and plan reviewers, so, in effect, we are just a byproduct of their focus, not the main focus like the AIA is an advocate for their members. I mean right in the about page of the ICC is says this:

    The International Code Council is a nonprofit association that provides a wide range of building safety solutions including product evaluation, accreditation, certification, codification and training. It develops model codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.

    It is about developing codes and then training people to keep the engine running. Nowhere does the ICC say it is or ever was an advocate for those in the field. Here is the mission of the ICC:

    To provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.

    You see, again, not even in the mission of the ICC does it even remotely come close to saying anything about advocating for those that it needs in order to carry out its mission.

    Then there is the AIA for architects. One of the main reasons they exist is for their members and they tell you that in their values:

    We advocate for the value of architecture and give architects the resources they need to do their best work. Our work drives positive change through the power of design.

    They clearly advocate for their members. There is a big difference between the two organizations. The ICC is not advocate for the inspector community, just for the codes that inspectors have to enforce. Although developing codes is the driving force of the industry, training and certifying inspectors and others is a necessity. So it is not surprise that the focus is not on the members as much as it is code development. I suppose I should not complain and if I want some advocacy, I need to joint a organization that advocates for the profession I am in.
     
  14. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Sawhorse

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    ICC and all the legacy codes started out as a code publishing company. ICC is evolving, one of the "services" ICC provides is training and certification of the people employed by AHJ's to enforce the codes that have been adopted.
     
  15. CodeWarrior

    CodeWarrior Registered User

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    Great observation. ICC, IAPMO, NFPA, etc., write codes, but can’t or won’t go beyond that focus to serve the departmental employees. There’s a lot that goes on besides the codes......

    The responsibilities don’t begin or end with those code books on the book shelf, but no group is around to meet the need. I’m not saying this would have be the code writers job, but maybe another group will rise to the occasion. Even this forum is the “building code forum” not the “building department forum”.

    Anyone support a name change?
     
  16. tbz

    tbz Silver Member

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    I try to stay out of the mix about certifications and how they test for them, main reason there are plenty of people that can be asked a question and then after being instructed how to read a books reference index, find and answer a question correctly. hence a good open book test taker.

    On the flip side of that argument is that a good majority of those that are good open book test takers, unless asked directly the question or pointed out even given a paint by numbers check list, routinely preform reviews and inspections and miss a great deal of non-compliance on projects presented before them.

    The biggest problem I see with open book tests for jobs that require infield observations to be a great asset is the most important part of the job is to be able to identify and see a problem and know what you are looking for with out directly searching for it. To be able to see something out of the corner of your vision and know its wrong or needs a closer look without it being on your radar in the first place.

    I always tell others think of a drivers license or pilots license, there is the book knowledge proficiency test and then there is the actual physical driving/piloting proficiency test.

    Just because you can read how to do it and test on paper how to do it, doesn't mean you can actually preform the job or task properly. This is why prior to the age of everyone needs a college education and certification level, you had strong apprenticeship programs, it took years to learn a trade or skill on the job. Today its all about the paper not the quality of the educated persons so called work history per say. Here's my certification now pay me!

    The biggest problem inhibiting infield training, is labor and the so called entitled benefits have de-funked the ability to do this with such high costs to train unqualified people up to the level of minimum qualifications. So society has taken on the task of certifying.

    I ask you this, why is it that society believes that to become a doctor not only do you have to go to school, certain schools, then med school, pass tests and then do your interneship and so on and so forth to get their title, but in one year accountant can achieve the so called highest level the ICC promotes for be qualified to review and inspect the largest structures built in the United States?

    I am just curious? if proof of infield expertise is not part of the process, then how can one be certified to be of that level.

    I want to make the point, that who ever achieved that in one, koodoos to them, however the organization that put that ability on a title to be achieved in that timeline I question the validity of the process that does not require years of field experience to be a part of the certification process.

    Just my 3 cents
     
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  17. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    I cannot agree with you more. This is why I am very happy with the way Florida operates for licensing of inspectors and plans examiner’s. Without direct, hands-on experience, it’s not going to happen. In other instances, ICC certifications and markers are for job hunting purposes and pay rates. Sometimes, additional certifications are nothing more than personal goals or for marketing yourself in the job market, especially for that of a building code official because you at least know a little bit about all of the disciplines that you will be overseeing. This is where the MCP comes in handy. I have extensive experience in electrical work and structural/carpentry work but never worked as a mechanical contractor or a plumbing contractor, even though I’ve dabbled in a little bit of both. Because of that, I don’t know the inns and outs on how you can get away with stuff just like a mechanical or plumbing contractor who did it for years knows and could find easily during inspection. Like you said, they know what to look for and they know what they’re looking at. I made a pretty extensive post about multi discipline inspectors that pissed off quite a few people, and I still stand by that. I am a significantly better Inspector now that I just do one discipline. Well, for the most part.
     
  18. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    Here, the National Research Council creates our codes.

    Local groups in each province deal with the educational and certification requirements of our members. We set the requirements for each member to be certified. Currently, there is an educational component and a practical component for all levels of certification.

    I am one of those good test takers. I passed all my exams in a little more than two years. Then I had to just work away to get experience under my belt for the next four before I was considered certified.
     
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