Masters of Code: Matt Keizer 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. Matt Keizer is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Matt 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 Official/Code Compliance Officer
Ukiah, California, United States
International Code Council member for six-plus years
Redwood Empire Chapter
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Keizer: I’ve always had the desire to do my best at everything I’ve ever set out to accomplish. I was at a training session for another certification when I heard about the MCP certification, and once I heard about I thought to myself I need to get that certification, I want to be the best that I can be in my industry. Now certifications are not everything, but it definitely shows a commitment to our industry and to our profession, and I wanted to make that commitment.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Keizer: It is a lot of exams to get that MCP designation. I just broke it down into sections. I already had all my residential certifications when I decided that I want to get my Master Code Professional so I just broke it into the trades. I did the plumbing exams, then I did the mechanical, electrical, etc. I just did one exam at a time and eventually, I got all the ones I needed for the MCP.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Keizer: It means a lot of hard work, and it makes you feel good because it’s very gratifying to know that that hard work is recognized. At the same time the more information that you know the more you realize you don’t know, and so it’s always a learning experience, just because you have a certification for something that doesn’t mean that you stop learning. You always want to continue to better yourself, the industry, and the community we serve.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Keizer: It has made me a better building official and inspector. At the same time, it helps me deliver a better product to the community I serve.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Keizer: I think it’s great, I wish all code professionals had the ability to get one. It’s a long road to get your MCP; it took me about three years. I want to thank the people that gave me the start in this industry: Sal Lucido with Coastland Civil Engineering in Santa Rosa, Chief Building Official Thomas Ahrens in the city of San Rafael, and of course the city of Ukiah. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a city that stands behind me and gives me the opportunity and the backing to be able to pursue this certification. It’s a long road but if you have the opportunity to pursue it I definitely think you should.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Keizer: Seven years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Keizer: I’ve been in the construction industry for more than 20 years I’ve been in building inspection and building safety for the last seven. As far as changes that your things are getting more and more complicated, the technology although some of it is amazing, it is getting more complicated, and building a structure is getting more complicated. I think that it’s just that much more important to have leaders in the industry on the building inspection side to help these contractors through the processing and to help everyone have a safe and efficient building when we’re done.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Keizer: Construction and general for me and always has been exciting I was a contractor for years and I always love how satisfying it is at the end of the day when you build something. And even as an inspector, we don’t actually build it ourselves that we do have a small part in how those buildings get built and it always makes me feel good when we see a building go up, or when we see a new home being built, or even just a kitchen remodel. The satisfaction and joy that brings to the builder and the owners, for me it nice to have a part in their project. That excites me and makes me feel good at the end of the day I hope that will never go away. We all have a part in building a better community.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Keizer: If you’re just getting started or you’re thinking about moving into the industry go out and get a certification. I started as a contractor I went and got two certifications B1 then E1 and then I started looking for a job. take whatever job that you can get it in the beginning even if it’s not the most fantastic job, and just start cutting your teeth and always continue learning if you do that other jobs will come, but if you don’t start you will never finish.
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?
Keizer: Building safety is the most important thing in our job, and it’s kind of interesting because if we do our job right, nothing happens! But when things do go wrong in these buildings, we are part of the solution that made it so people can hopefully get out with their life. Whether it’s an earthquake, fire, or some other disaster, we always want everyone to have the ability to get out in time. The fact that we have a part in that is a sobering thought but at the same time very rewarding.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Keizer: There are a few other certifications that I think I want to get with ICC. I will continue to move forward and continue to learn. I will apply the knowledge I have gleaned to our community and my staff. I think that that’s really important to further the knowledge of all involved in my Division and community, and if I can have a part in that, that’s a win for me. The most important part of our jobs as a building safety professional, building inspector, building official and code enforcement officer is to make our community safe. And my goal is to always make our community safer than it was yesterday.
BSJ: Thank you, Matt, 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 Matt 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.