Masters of Code: John Russell 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. John Russell, Inspector, Falls Church, Virginia, is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked John to share his experience on obtaining the MCP designation, highlights of his professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
Community Planning and Economic Development
Falls Church, Virginia
International Code Council member for 16 years
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Russell: The pursuit of obtaining my MCP was driven by the need to qualify all the training and years in the field as a combination inspection.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Russell: I found that the best method for studying for the exams was using the practice test, and using the book tabs.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Russell: Achieving the MCP status is a sense of achieving a personal goal of completing the required test since becoming an inspector.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Russell: The value of having the MCP status is the credibility that comes with the certification.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Russell: The best advice I can offer those in pursuit of their MCP certification is to start testing with a trade where you have the most background and knowledge, and as you test in other trades, reach out to inspectors that have the most knowledge in a particular trade to assist in your study.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Russell: 17 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Russell: I started as an inspector during the infant years of the International Codes, and have been a part of the implementation of state-amended International Codes.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Russell: The invention of new products and installation methods, and how fast they can be adopted into the code cycles.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Russell: Develop a network of fellow inspectors, and reach out for their advice.
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?
Russell: Safety is the core to all building code principles, and the Code Council is able to provide the tools in enforcing the minimum standards of life safety for the construction of a high-rise down to a residential dwelling.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Russell: Now that I have achieved the goal of obtaining an MCP certification, I will focus on career development, and applying the knowledge in my daily tasks.
BSJ: Thank you, John, 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 John 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.