Remote Testing Now Available for CCP and ACP

BCCB is very excited to announce that you are now able to schedule and sit for your exam from the safety and convenience of your home.    Working with our exam administration partner, Prometric, we have implemented a remote proctoring solution that is available to all candidates immediately.  You will need a camera, microphone, quiet well-lit room, and clean area if you wish to utilize this testing solution.

To prepare for your exam session you will:

  • CLICK HERE to review the ProProctor User Guide in preparation for your exam.
  • Carefully read the Remote Proctoring Regulations listed below and adjust your testing environment accordingly.
  • PRIOR to your exam launch, CLICK HERE to install the ProProctor Application and perform a System Check

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Aimée Brown at abrown@bcxa.org.

Commissioning Certification: Methods and Resources for CCP Candidates

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.

Testing Criteria

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.

Commissioning Resources

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.

The Commissioning Profession Through a Student’s Eyes – Letter from the BCCB President

Greetings fellow commissioning providers,

We take for granted what we already know and have experienced; the younger generations are eager to have those same experiences. The cool projects, the amazing buildings, the jaw-dropping stories—they want to be able to tell those stories from their own experience. I recently attended the New Construction (NCCx) and Existing Building (EBCx) commissioning courses taught by Craig Hawkins and Tracey Jumper in Vancouver, B.C. There was a total of 47 students, including myself, who furthered our commissioning skills and knowledge during these four days of training. What struck me most was the wide range of age and experience in the room. What made me really happy was the number of young, up-and-coming commissioning providers (CxPs) who saw the value of learning from the best and taking the BCxA’s Essential Attributes back into their careers. In the two 2-day courses, I was able to see commissioning through the eyes of students.

The younger generations are eager to learn and eager to bring the lessons learned from those with a bit of grey hair (Craig) to those who are their role models (Tracey) for shaping the future of commissioning. Commissioning is not taught in most universities which, for the most part, don’t provide classes on HVAC until graduate school. BCxA University and its peers/mentors are where newer entrants get their knowledge. We are their educators! This struck me—how important it is to have the fundamentals of what is taught in the BCxA’s courses, webinars and TechTalks, and how important it is to attain the credentials of a Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP) or Associate Commissioning Professional (ACP), and become a Certified Commissioning Firm (CCF). With leaders who are qualified and adhering to the Essential Attributes, our industry will remain strong, competent and respected.

I have had the pleasure of being involved on the BCCB board for 18 months now. My first year was as Vice President and now I am President. I have witnessed steady growth in the number of CCPs. Now that the ACP program is up and running, there is a significant increase in ACPs, and in Requests For Proposals (RFPs) or Request For Qualifications (RFQs) that mandate holding the CCP credential. That bodes well for the BCxA and BCCB, our companies and our futures. One student asked me how long it would be, after graduating, before she could qualify to write the ACP exam and then the CCP exam. Those types of questions mean we are getting the proper message out there and that the future leaders of our profession are recognizing the importance of certification.

On behalf of the BCCB, we thank all of the current CCPs, ACPs and Certified Commissioning Firms (CCFs) for their continued renewal and support. We encourage you to continue your Continuing Education by attending training courses (i.e., NCCx and EBCx) and the BCxA’s National Conference. Encourage the younger commissioning providers in your businesses to strive to become an ACP and CCP. With continued support and growth, we will all ensure that our building owners get the buildings that they envisioned at the beginning of their projects. We are quite often the last people the owner interacts with on site; let’s keep our image strong and respected. That begins and ends with the people we are training.

Kevin Thurston, P. Eng., CEM, CCP, BCCB President

Thurston Engineering Services, CCF

How and Why CCP and CCF are Important to Owners

By John Gibbemeyer, BSME, PE, MBA, LEED AP Manager, Facilities Project Management and Construction George Mason University

Years ago, I found a memorable LinkedIn post from one of my university colleagues. The quote from Bob Sheeran, Vice President of Facilities at Xavier University, reads, “There is nothing more expensive than cheap engineering.” I believe that the same thing can certainly be said for commissioning services.

My sense is that most owners have found procuring commissioning services to be difficult. In the beginning, we struggled to bring commissioning providers on to the project early enough. The current focus of Owners is obtaining more consistency from their commissioning providers. I have lots of respect for the design engineers, commissioning providers, and contractors who are involved in commissioning. Most owners will agree that commissioning is VERY challenging, but that there is significant added value!

How can owners obtain more consistency from their commissioning providers, construct a building with the lowest life cycle cost, and meet the needs of its occupants?

Over the last 15 years, the commissioning industry has evolved rapidly. I’ve learned many important lessons along the way. Here are a few:

  1. The importance of checklists in insuring that systems are ready for functional testing.
  2. Timing in the commissioning effort is critical.
  3. OPRs (Owner’s Project Requirements), BODs (Bases of Design), and Commissioning Plans are necessary documents (not optional) that serve the projects as good management tools; they should be created and updated throughout the project.
  4. Systems Manuals are living breathing documents; the intent is for Facilities Managers to use their Systems Manual to become a standard operating procedure for the building HVAC systems throughout the life of the building.

In my experience, the importance of having a commissioning provider who has learned these same lessons and understands these issues cannot be overstated. There are many commissioning certifications available — seven by my last count and I‘m sure that I am missing some. All of them are very useful; but, my experience is that the Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP) from the Building Commissioning Certification Board stands out from the rest and is the most comprehensive certification on the market.

Obtaining the CCP demonstrates a commitment to the commissioning field and to excellence as commissioning provider. It is the most rigorous certification to earn and requires having led commissioning efforts on projects. It was also one of the first certifications and, in my opinion, continues to be the leader in the market. Most importantly, the certification requires agreeing to a strong code of ethics and BCxA Essential Attributes. In my opinion, ethics matter as much or more in the commissioning process as anywhere else. The ethics requirement aligns itself well with the Vision and Mission statement of the institutions that we represent as Owners.

Currently, cost is a heavily weighed factor in choosing a commission provider. I am hopeful Owners will consider additional aspects of the commissioning proposals in the future. I strongly believe that requiring a CCP, or a Certified Commissioning Firm (CCF), for your commissioning providers is the best way of insuring that you obtain a quality commissioning process, and a successful project outcome.

From PE to CCP: Certification Changed My Life

By Scott Henderson, PE, CCP, LEED BD+C
McKinstry

Getting the CCP has really changed my life for the better.

I consider myself an engineer who has had a varied and rewarding career.  As a new engineer, I got to do some very cool things, like being the first plant engineer at a run-down incineration plant and taking it to a state of the art facility – and becoming an expert on thermal treatment, air pollution control, and air emissions risk assessment.

When my experience allowed for it, I sought my professional engineering license.  I found getting my PE led to a great job, which I stayed in for nearly 10 years.  As a PE, I got to be part of the cleanup and remediation of the Thea Foss Waterway; design a fuel farm; design hazardous waste ventilation systems; help get rid of our nation’s stockpile of chemical weapons.  I developed many great professional relationships and friendships that endure to this day.

As rewarding as it was, after 10 years the professional engineer portion of my career seemed to stagnate.  Fortunately, a colleague and close friend urged me to get involved in the BCxA during this time.  We shared an interest in commissioning and we collaborated on some of those projects.  Later, he encouraged me to get my ACP and then upgrade it to the CCP.  It was never really my plan to become a commissioning professional.  But, since we were engaged in Cx projects and planned to pursue more, it seemed to make sense to pursue this credential.  I didn’t know it then, but it was the best decision I have made in a long, long time.

Not long after getting my CCP and updating my LinkedIn profile, I began to be contacted by recruiters.  I didn’t think that much of it, because the economy was warming up.  Then I was directly contacted by several Cx-oriented companies I admired.  I now work at McKinstry and absolutely love it.  I love their approach to commissioning, the access I have to so many experts, and that I am able to offer my expertise in return.  Perhaps most of all, the way they truly care about their employees.  It is my dream job.  To be fair, the other high-quality companies who were looking for CCPs like me would have been great career moves as well.  It is my strong opinion that all these doors opened for me because of the CCP.  Getting it gave me greater confidence in what I had to offer.  It has really allowed me to build upon my experience and give the customers I work for confidence that they are in good hands

It’s about the people. Christopher W. Piché, BCCB President

Christopher W. Piché, BCCB President
Integral Group

Members of the Building Commissioning Community,

Generally speaking, efforts to create intelligent or “smart” buildings, neighborhoods and cities have focused on data and technological solutions. Philosophically, you could enter into an extended dialogue as to how we should define “intelligent” in this context – the fact remains that the amount of information available for providing feedback and optimizing our built environment has never been greater than it is today. And yet, with this plethora of data & analytics, our Facility Managers continue to struggle with achieving their end goal – continual optimization of their environment.

Although it is true that our buildings are getting smarter, our focus must continue to shift towards the indoor environment, and the creation of buildings that are capable of adapting to needs of the Occupant, rather than the Occupant adapting to the needs of the building.

We need a radical shift in how we commission and, more importantly, support our Facility Managers in the ongoing operation of their built environment. The data and technology should be treated as enablers to make this happen – not as the end goal.

The opportunity for the commissioning provider to drive and influence change has never been greater. With that comes a need to adapt how we, as an organization, support the continued education and development of the commissioning provider.

For those of you who are currently providers, I encourage you to continue to develop your skills and maintain your ANSI-accredited and Better Buildings-recognized Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP) designation; for those of you entering the industry, our Associate Commissioning Professional (ACP) program has undergone a complete refresh, and is the perfect starting point for launching your career in the commissioning practice. These certifications are not simply intended to provide you with a designation – they are created to support you on your path towards transforming the built environment and supporting your clients.

On behalf of the BCCB, I would like to thank you for your continued support and patronage. Our infrastructure is strong, and the active engagement of our certificants is what will continue to drive the organization forward. As such, I encourage you to reach out and share your insights as to how we are doing, and let us know what else we can be doing to support your career objectives.

Many hands make light work… and while there is always work to be done, together we can drive the change necessary to advance the commissioning practice to the next level.

After all – it’s about the people.