Masters of Code: Robert Lord 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. Robert Lord is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Robert 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 Inspector II
San Carlos, California, United States
International Code Council member for five years
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Lord: It was a goal I had when I first entered this industry and started to learn about the entire certification process. Being new in the field I wanted to learn as much as possible from all aspects of the code and pursuing the MCP certification was a path that allowed me to pursue that.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Lord: I spent a lot of nights in the code and using code study guides to go through everything. It is something you have to be dedicated to do and really enjoy the code in order to spend the time studying on your own time to prepare for all of the certifications.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Lord: It was a big goal and means a lot to me. But it really is just a step in the whole process. I have to always be reading up on the code changes and diving deeper into the code. Receiving MCP just helps me have a broader understanding of everything and now I have to dedicate to learn the finer aspects of everything.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Lord: It shows that you are dedicated to your line of work. So by receiving it, it shows my supervisors I want to put my full effort into everything.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Lord: Be prepared to study a lot on your own time. Don’t stop halfway, if you are dedicated to receiving the MCP designation, then you have to dedicate the time. Also, don’t get discouraged if you fail an exam. Just go hit the books harder and prepare for it again.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Lord: 5 years
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Lord: In my opinion not a lot yet. I’ve seen major changes in the Energy Codes being in California, but for major changes that have happened in the past, I feel like I personally have not experienced many of those yet.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Lord: The code is always changing as new products and means of construction are brought about. It will be interesting to see how things proceed forward with virtual inspections and how that can be improved upon technologically.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Lord: Don’t feel that you have to know everything from day one and don’t be afraid to ask questions. One of the biggest things for me was to ask questions of the more senior inspectors and just listen in on the conversations when they came back from the field. You are able to pick up a lot of nuances of the code from talking to them.
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?
Lord: It is a key function of this line of work. As building becomes denser and denser you begin to get a better understanding of the purpose of the codes for life safety purposes and why they are implemented as they are. Many of the seminars I’ve attended from the ICC have touched on a lot of these ideas and have pushed forward the ideas of Building Safety for how important they are.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Lord: My next goal is to complete the CBO certification. I’ll continue to take more certifications, but I want to dive into the commentaries and get a fuller understanding of everything so that I can continue to grow in this industry.
BSJ: Thank you, Robert, 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 Robert 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.