Masters of Code: David Brasich 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 900 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. David Brasich, owner of Capital of Texas Inspections, is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked David to share his experience on obtaining the MCP designation, highlights of his professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
Capital of Texas Inspections
Austin, Texas, United States
International Code Council member for 12 years
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Brasich: There’s a gap in our industry — the craft of construction is handed down through experience at the jobsite while the officials who gauge their work sometimes arrive from an academic background. The MCP certification helped me bridge that gap by expanding 40 years of construction knowledge with a new skill set — a master of code compliance. It’s the obvious path for advancing a career from the field. It makes you a better builder, a better judge of building and it establishes unique credibility in the field. I was always the kid that brought things home to take them apart and figure out how they work. I began building houses in high school and soon got a plumber’s license followed by a contractor’s license. It was a trade that enabled me to travel around the U.S. and the world where I worked on centuries-old buildings and castles in England and France. Today, I’m the owner of my own building inspection and plan review service, Capital of Texas Inspections, in Austin, Texas.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Brasich: I think this is an important question that could save students a lot of time. Don’t jump into certification studies without a plan. The ICC study guides are a good foundation. Start with a trade where you have practical experience. Set a schedule for reading. I find it helpful to write notes as I am reading and to test my comprehension at the end of each section. Practice exams, if you can find them, are great tools for this. You can also create questions from your notes to generate flashcards. This will help you to locate the subjects that you need to revisit. There’s a lot of resources on the Internet for this, you just need to know what you’re looking for and where you might find it. You might find answers by watching the process in a YouTube video, or by viewing an image from a Google search, or by reading an online inspection report. Don’t cheat yourself by advancing through a study guide too quickly. It will cost you time in the end.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Brasich: Like many tradesmen, I earned my Ph.D. in hammers and nails. An academic degree could not teach me to be a better craftsman or jobsite mentor but an MCP certification can. I’ve worked as a code compliance inspector and as a building official for several municipalities in the Austin area. The MCP designation assures the builders that I inspect and the municipalities I represent that my decisions are credible and in each party’s interest. My MCP is the culmination of career experience. You can’t buy that with a college degree.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Brasich: Simply put: Clients and city officials turn to you when you have the MCP. It is the top standard of knowledge and one only arrives there after demonstrating their knowledge after years of completing other examinations. The MCP is a relatively small club that generates interest and respect from your peers.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Brasich: Network with inspectors and building officials who have certifications that rest on your path to this goal. Ask them how they studied and what opened their eyes to the content. Stay focused on the present, the exam that you’re studying for and take a break in between tests. Every certification is something special to celebrate. Look back often on these accomplishments and celebrate yourself.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Brasich: 40 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Brasich: I have seen doors from the garage into the residence become automatic closing. I have seen arch fault breakers become the norm for the whole house. I have seen big changes in SHGC and U factor in windows and doors. The energy requirements are getting tighter every code change. The biggest change to me would be requiring residential homes to have a multi-purpose fire sprinkler system, (municipalities have the option not to adopt this).
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Brasich: Life safety is what inspires me. My goal is to keep the public safe and hold the contractors and builders accountable for their actions. Our industry is getting bigger every year. No time has been better than now for young people to start their own companies or become code professionals.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Brasich: Look around and find what trades are right for you. I’m a plumber by trade but I found out that I love the fire code.
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?
Brasich: Being brought up on jobsites from a teenager I quickly learned that construction projects can be dangerous places. A person needs to keep a clear head and watch what the other person is doing to keep safe. The building codes have taught me to be a better contractor, and gives me an upper hand dealing with contractors without certifications as I can explain why the code is there and what it represents.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Brasich: I’m still pursuing more certifications and licenses in other areas. Studying keeps my mind active. Knowledge has always been the key to success and fulfillment for me.
BSJ: Thank you, David, 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 David 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 I look forward to congratulating more Master Code Professionals in the future.”
To learn more about how you can join this elite group and let us help you open the door to increased professional challenges and career advancement, click here.