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Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 82) – All IMHO:

PRESS RELEASE: “ASHRAE, ACG, BCA & NEBB to merge and unify the Commissioning industry around ONE, definitive building commissioning qualification”. 

This is a headline I would like to see but alas, it is only a figment of my imagination. However this is what, I believe the North American Commissioning market requires. 

The building Commissioning universe is a bit like the wild, wild west. Quality and ability of Commissioning professionals ranges from criminally incapable to over thinking based on miss understanding and everything in-between. The outcome is inconsistent service and delivery plus confused and unhappy clients. 

Firstly Commissioning is technical. Being strong in process frankly, is not enough and this is a problem today with many Commissioning providers having no technical building services engineering expertise.

Building systems Commissioning, requires an apprenticeship built on a foundation in a building engineering. It is not possible to complete a 4 year degree and graduate as a Commissioning professional, also completing a 1 week ASHRAE training course does not make you a Commissioning professional. The apprenticeship model is really the best way to explain what is required to become a competent Commissioning professional.

The path to competency in Commissioning consists of 8 years minimum as follows:

  1. Engineering education to technician level as a minimum 
  2. 4 to 5 years full time Commissioning experience under supervision of a senior Commissioning professional 
  3. Study and pass technical plus process commissioning exams with an appropriate institution

Commissioning is very experiential, a large part of the job is to be experienced enough to identify problems and solutions, the best can do this early in the design and construction process. 

This brings me onto the other wild, wild west aspect, the multitude of Commissioning qualifications. I am not talking about TAB, only Commissioning. My recent research is summarized in the table below.

I found 21 Commissioning qualifications in North America and 6 in the UK (I include the UK because I am a sentimental to my mother land). Many of these courses and qualifications have little value. This is evidenced IMHO, by the lack of struggle required to obtain many of them and lack of industry recognition.

The property industry is confused about what Commissioning is and even more confused about what the right qualifications are. We have to answer the question, “what is the C.Eng, PE, P.Eng or RICS” for Commissioning professionals? 

IMHO consolidation is required to create the definitive building Commissioning qualification for individuals, not companies.  If we do not consolidate and clean up the industry, legislation will be enacted to force us to, or worse, engineering licensing boards will see it as a revenue grab and this will have consequences for all existing players. 

I would like to see strength, integrity and growth through unity. Therefore I formally propose that ASHRAE, ACG, BCA & NEBB get over themselves and create a unified Commissioning qualification for individuals or even merge!

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer

Related posts & links:

#38 – Commissioning certifications are being diluted to almost zero value )

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