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 ( was the first ANAB-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 (, 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.

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 ANAB-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.