Masters of Code: Medhat Henen 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. Medhat Henen is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Medhat to share his experience on obtaining the MCP designation, highlights of his professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
Associate Plan Check Engineer
County of Santa Clara
San Jose, California, United States
International Code Council member for four years
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Henen: I immigrated to the U.S. in 2015. At that time I was certified as a licensed professional civil-structural engineer by the Institute of Engineers Australia and Egyptian Engineers Syndicate with 22 years of experience in the construction industry. I obtained the first ICC certificate to get a job in California as a special inspector and pursued to obtain more certificates to perform more special inspections. By the end of 2017, I got the California Civil Engineer license and started my second job as a plan review engineer. As a plan review engineer, I got more ICC certificates in the area of plans examiners and had been told by the city of Palo Alto assistant building official that I am on the path to obtain the MCP certification. I was working for a company that encouraged it, therefore I made it an important goal for my career and worked hard to get it. I have to acknowledge my gratitude to all my co-workers and manager in Krazan & Associates, Safebuilt, the city of Palo Alto, and the county of Santa Clara for their great support during this adventure.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Henen: Extensive work experience in the construction field, great support from my wife Ghada (she is the real hero), my son Rami, my daughter Nada, and a great environment in the workplace are all factors of success. Studying the required references for each exam and the ability to find answers to the exam questions quickly is a key factor of success. I can’t take any exam if I don’t feel comfortable, so some exam preparation extended for four months. Understanding the referenced materials’ contents is so important for me, whatever the time.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Henen: This achievement is an incredible honor to me. Immigration to the U.S. in 2015 was a remarkable change for me and my family, maybe the greatest in our lives, and building up my career development in California in only five years was a great challenge. I challenged myself by setting up goals, including my MBA, California licensed civil engineer and the MCP. I accomplished all of them and feel amazing self-satisfaction.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Henen: As defined by ICC, MCP is the ‘gold standard’ for demonstrating proficiency in the code profession. It will add more value of professionalism and credibility to the building department in the county of Santa Clara. The chance of getting a promotion to a high position and a long-term career are other benefits.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Henen: Be patient, it is a long path, but setting up goals and time management will put you on the right track. Take your time to study, understand and be knowledgeable with all referenced materials to not only pass the exams but also enhance your level of professionalism and knowledge.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Henen: Twenty-seven years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Henen: The changes in the California codes, including expanding the application and contents of the California green building code and energy code. Using computer software in structural analysis and design either for gravity loads or lateral forces are significant changes in the construction industry.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Henen: The use of new materials and construction methods evolving rapidly and catching up is so exciting. The intention of constructing sustainable buildings with high energy efficiency is another goal we have to make us as professionals more exited.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Henen: Do your best to be knowledgeable and I recommend ICC as a great source of referenced materials, training, code interpretation and exams that qualify you to the job market and make you more valuable.
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?
Henen: Building safety is important to protect people in their daily life from disasters and keep them safe from a range of threats. The ICC keeps me trained and qualified to read and interpret construction plans and ensure that the minimum requirements of the code are met, which is a great help to my career and commitment to public safety.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Henen: I will take my time to enjoy the honor of this great accomplishment, but I will never forget my responsibilities as a code professional and my role in public safety. I will continue my career development to catch up with the construction industry’s evolution and do my job duties more efficiently.
BSJ: Thank you, Medhat, 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 Medhat 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.