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TAB Certifications, Why They Matter

TAB Certifications, Why they Matter

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 84) – All IMHO:

  • Would you go to a doctor with experience but no qualifications? – No

  • Would you hire an electrician with experience but no qualifications? – It happens

  • Would you hire a testing adjusting and balancing (TAB) technician with experience but no qualifications? – Yes, if the specification is vague and the contractor can get away with it.

I am constantly surprised that innovation and technology in construction has not made TAB redundant. After all, in 2016 we all carry super computers in our pockets. When I hear about how the Internet of Things (IOT) will change buildings I have to suppress laughter. The reality is that building design and construction is firmly rooted in the past, it is a distributed game of minimum compliance based on poor specifications.

TAB or commissioning as the British call it, is an example of how the game of construction minimum compliance leads to unqualified people working on systems that deliver user comfort and experience. Why? because specifications are vague or not enforced and there are few consequences for non-compliance. 

TAB is a technical and skilled job that requires training plus experience for proficiency. However because it is specialized and niche, it is little understood or valued. 

There are two types of TAB firms and practitioners;

  1. Qualified
  2. Chancers 


To generate great user experiences in buildings and meet design comfort and IAQ criteria TAB matters and by extension so does the qualifications of the TAB firms and practitioners. To put this in context, in the event of spectacular design and installation, poor or zero TAB (happens more than you think) means that the system performance will be uneven at best. 

How to prevent contractors from employing “chancers”?

To effect change IMHO, it must come from the top. Building owners and designers must specify qualification based procurement and enforce the requirement for “qualified” subject matter experts.

Qualified TAB firms and most importantly, individual practitioners, should be, no, they must be, qualified by one of the following organizations (no equal or approved clause please): 

  • AABC
  • NEBB
  • TABB
  • NBC
  • CSA


Note: The CSA is a UK trade association and does not certify firms. It does offer training, examinations and qualifications for TAB practitioners. 

The purpose of TAB certification of firms and practitioners is to provide proof of competency and professionalism via structured training and examination to established standards. Just like a doctor or electrician. 

Also the property industry really needs to up its game and deliver on the basic presupposition within all contracts, that is the delivery of buildings that meet specifications, perform as required and provide great user experiences. TAB is a key part of this process and therefore matters!

The table below provides the web sites for the TAB organizations noted above. 


Twitter: @BLDWhisperer

Related posts & links:

#39 – Cx Post – Balderdash, Commissioning RFP’s & The Benefits of Clarity https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/balderdash-commissioning-rfps-benefits-clarity-adam-muggleton?trk=mp-author-card )

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