By Treasa Sweek, PE, Sweek Consulting Engineers
Taking tests can be scary. This post recommends a specific approach to studying for the CCP exam to help overcome anxiety and prepare you to succeed on the commissioning test. The Building Commissioning Certification Board (www.bccbonline.org) was the first ANSI-accredited body qualified to certify individuals as professionally capable of performing commissioning services to DOE Better Buildings-recognized national standards. The BCCB offers applicants a Candidate Handbook that thoroughly explains the certification process.
A written exam is a great way to assess individuals’ skills but we don’t want the exam to be scary. When preparing to take the CCP exam, you should first weigh your own experience and background against the testing criteria. A great place to start is Page 30 of Appendix A of the Candidate Handbook, which breaks down the exam into a list of more than 50 topics. Appendix A shows the number of exam questions that cover each of the 7 “Content Areas.” Then, within each Content Area, the outline provides a breakdown of specific new construction and existing building commissioning tasks, and the number of exam questions that are given for each task.
What (and How) to Study
With the content outline in hand, you should determine which items you want to learn more about. The BCCB encourages applicants to study for the test. You should review resources and information in content areas where your skills or knowledge may be weak, keeping in mind that some content areas on the examination are weighted more heavily than others. The BCCB does not recommend that applicants memorize reference materials. The information tested on the examination pertains to the common body of knowledge listed in Appendix A rather than any specific language in, for example, a textbook.
In addition to this handbook, there are many resources available to learn more about the commissioning process, brush up on the industry’s latest thinking, and help prepare you for successful completion of the CCP exam. While the BCCB does not endorse any particular text or author, we maintain a list of resources, provided below, to support applicants for the CCP.
ASHRAE Standards and Guidelines such as:
Guideline 0-2013 — The Commissioning Process
Standard 202-2018 — Commissioning Process for Buildings and Systems
Guideline 1.1-2007 HVAC&R Technical Requirements for the Commissioning Process
Guideline 1.5 2012 The Commissioning Process for Smoke Control Systems
Building Commissioning Handbook, 3rd Edition
Building Commissioning Association Essential Attributes
BCxA Best Practices
New Construction Best Practices
Existing Buildings Best Practices
The BCCB’s affiliate, the Building Commissioning Association (www.BCxA.org), has many learning opportunities and works hard to provide educational content to fit different schedules and work backgrounds. Educational opportunities include blog posts like this, online university-level content, textbooks on how to do commissioning, regional professional meetings, in-person multi-day conferences, and classroom training programs.