Masters of Code: Robert Polanco 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 Polanco 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 he professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
Building Inspections and Permits
Pflugerville, Texas, United States
International Code Council member for 13 years
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Polanco: Pursuit of education and a better understanding of the model codes, as well as personal and professional growth.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Polanco: ICC study companions, prep courses, and simply reading the codebooks.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Polanco: Proves my dedication to the trade, and will ultimately benefit not only the organization but more importantly helps provide safe, efficient construction for the benefit of the end-user.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Polanco: Too early to tell. I’m sure it will make me more marketable in the future. The greatest immediate benefit has been that the exposure to the information throughout the process has developed me into a more well-rounded and effective CBO and inspector.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Polanco: Take the exams on the things you are most familiar with first. Learn how to take the test. But most importantly learn how the codebooks are structured. No one can remember every code reference, but learning where to find the information is key.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Polanco: 13 years
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Polanco: Greater adherence and adoption of ICC model codes. The increased importance of energy codes.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Polanco: New products and methods of construction.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Polanco: Take the job seriously, there is a great deal of employment opportunity and professional growth for those that do. Also, the enforcement and application of the codes greatly benefit all those involved.
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?
Polanco: The attainment of the MCP proves my commitment both personally and professionally in fulfilling my department’s mission statement which generally states, “Pflugerville’s residences and places of business are designed and constructed to the standards for quality, safety, and efficiency…”
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Polanco: First to implement the new things learned that were overlooked before. Continue to learn through the acquisition of more certifications, there is always something new to learn and improve upon. Hopefully, get more involved and participate in the model code adoption process.
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.