Masters of Code: Henry Miga 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. Henry Miga, building official for the town of Simsbury, Conn., is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Miga to share his experience on obtaining the MCP designation, highlights of his professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
International Code Council member for 19 years
Connecticut Building Officials Association Chapter
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Miga: There are two quotes from JFK that are applicable: “The greater our knowledge increases, the more our ignorance unfolds” and “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Each exam set a new goal as another step toward gaining a better understanding of technical code requirements so I could put them to work as part of the building process.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Miga: I used the study guides published by ICC then reviewed the code books as applicable. I think I averaged about 10 hours of study per hour of exam. But, I think that the most important and enduring element of study is the one that continues long after the exam: listen to colleagues, learn from them and the people who design and build the buildings we review, and inspect and understand requirements and the reason they exist enough to explain them to anyone who needs to know.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Miga: It’s a big dose of confidence and satisfaction in setting a goal and then meeting it.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Miga: When speaking with people in our industry and trying to communicate a requirement, concern or addressing a situation, the MCP designation offers credibility. The level of certainty that architects, engineers and contractors have in what you are saying translates into smoother builds with better economic and safety outcomes.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Miga: Take it step-by-step. Constant and consistent improvement benefits you, your community and will contribute to a better built environment. You’re building your life, not just a career. You should gain confidence, humility and empathy as you progress through the exams.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Miga: Forty-plus years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Miga: The increase in specialization and level of knowledge required to enter as well as maintain licenses and certifications.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Miga: I believe we will be doing more remote and third-party inspections. New technologies and old craftsmanship can be, and are, combined to get better results.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Miga: Don’t be overwhelmed or think that it’s too hard. Find a way to jump-start the learning process.
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?
Miga: The ICC and its subsidiary organizations are truly a collaborative community of caring and committed individuals. Associate with people like that and you can’t help but benefit.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Miga: Over the years that I’ve had the certification, I have served on my state’s Codes and Standards Committee and chaired it for three of those years. I have been chairman of my own town’s Building Committee for its school construction projects and have been active in my associations. The knowledge acquired and maintained as an MCP is a major part of my ability to contribute.
BSJ: Thank you, Henry, 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 Henry on achieving this important and significant accomplishment,” said Michelle Porter, director 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.