Masters of Code: Brandon Lamons achieves the gold standard of code certification
It’s considered the Ph.D. of building safety codes certification. The Master Code Professional (MCP) is the highest level of designation the International Code Council offers and is the “gold standard” for demonstrating proficiency in the code profession. The Code Council has certified thousands of individuals, but only a small select number have attained this high level of achievement: just over 800 MCP professionals worldwide. Their achievements are a benefit to the code enforcement profession as well as their communities.
To obtain this level of certification requires and demonstrates a commitment to the profession, diverse knowledge of codes and a high level of self-initiative. Brandon Lamons is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Brandon to share his experience on obtaining the MCP designation, highlights of his professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
Building Services, El Dorado County
Placerville, California, United States
International Code Council member for four years
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Lamons: My supervisor, who is an MCP suggested it to me before, but it was intimidating seeing all of the required exams. Another inspector I work with became an MCP last year and was coaching me thru just getting my second certificate. They both gave plenty of encouragement and suggested pursuing the MCP designation. I decided January of this year that my goal was to become an MCP. I completed the required certifications on Sept 4th this year, 8 months total. Constant support and encouragement from my supervisors and peers helped to keep my drive to move forward.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Lamons: I struggled a lot with the exam process. Going to a testing facility with all of the distractions was also difficult. I did not pass exams at first, but I remained diligent, studied hard, and one by one, I started to pass tests. My study habits evolved as I went down this journey. I learned the layout of the code, which not only helped with the study, but out in the field on a job site, and in the office doing plans examination. As my certifications started to stack up, I found that my studying actually decreased. I set aside time every day, including weekends, to study code at least a half-hour a day. before taking an exam, I prepped with another test taker for about 10 mins, just to go over what would be on the test. I started using the PRONTO exam process, dramatic difference. Being able to be alone in a room with just the codebooks was a great improvement in the testing process, highly recommend it to my fellow inspectors and any taking an exam, its a game-changer. I refined my study process to where I would test every couple of weeks, sometimes taking 2 exams in the same day, a lot on the brain, but you are already in the mindset for testing. Support, study, exam prep is my formula.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Lamons: This means a great deal to me. Reading over the description of this designation, it really sinks in the amount of time and effort it takes to achieve this. I knew it would be a huge challenge, I knew it would put me to the test. But I also knew the benefit of gaining knowledge and experience and being able to pass it along.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Lamons: MCP is obviously a very big accomplishment. But it goes beyond yourself. It takes a lot of support from your team, which is great for bonding. You gain a better understanding of the code and inevitably get much faster at referencing it.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Lamons: Read over the requirements, understand the amount of time you will be putting in, but, also realize that achieving that goal will put you in a very small, elite class. Well worth the effort.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Lamons: 33 years
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Lamons: Being a builder my most of my career, you see many changes in building structure, land development, energy. It all orbits around safety. Safety in the code is probably the most change I’ve seen.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Lamons: New methods and ideas are always popping up. Being able to see them all coming about is pretty cool.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Lamons: If you make this decision, to be a part of building and codes, be willing to embrace it. You will be living it every day.
BSJ: Building safety is the focal point of our mission here at the Code Council. What is the importance of building safety to you? How has ICC helped you in your career and commitment to public safety?
Lamons: Fire, Life, Safety… that’s what we do. That is our function, and that is what we need to always keep on our minds.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Lamons: Well, I’m not stopping here. I’m moving on to CBO certification, wouldn’t mind getting into testing development, who knows then… Certified Fire Marshall?
BSJ: Thank you, Brandon, and congratulations. You have definitely been an encouragement to us all in your pursuit of excellence.
To earn the Code Council’s elite MCP designation, a candidate must first pass 10 core Code Council exams plus a number of elective Code Council exams. Typical Master Code Professionals hold 17 or more Code Council certifications. The Master Code Professional designation requires certified individuals to complete an additional 60 hours of Continuing Education Units every three years to maintain active status.
“The Master Code Professional certification is the pinnacle of all Code Council certifications, representing a level of effort, knowledge, and dedication that elevates not only the individual achieving it but the code official profession as a whole,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO.
Master Code Professionals are typically responsible for all technical and management aspects of code enforcement with duties that range from the management of a code enforcement department to the supervision of inspectors and plan reviewers.
“Congratulations to Brandon on achieving this important and significant accomplishment,” said Autumn Saylor, program services manager of the Code Council’s Assessment Center. “I challenge and encourage all code professionals to strive for this level of achievement, and look forward to congratulating more Master Code Professionals in the future.”
To learn more on how you can join this elite group and let us help you open the door to increased professional challenges and career advancement, click here.