Masters of Code: Russell Adams 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. Russell Adams, Building Inspector II, City of Fremont, California, is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Russell 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
Building and Safety Division
Fremont, California, United States
International Code Council member for six years
East Bay Chapter (2019 Chapter Vice President)
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Adams: Interestingly enough, it started as a bet with a colleague on who could achieve MCP certification first (thanks Johnny!). Soon after, it turned into a personal goal to achieve the top level of certification.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Adams: Thanks to my amazing wife and three beautiful daughters, I was able to spend evenings and weekends studying. I burned through quite a few highlighters, installed hundreds of tabs and learned quite a few techniques to help navigate the books.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Adams: It’s been the culmination of two years of intense focus and determination to achieve. It brings together my entire working career and has brought me an enormous amount of self-pride.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Adams: The recognition from my peers has been tremendous. Having the MCP certification has given me the chance to showcase our profession and the credibility you receive once you earn the MCP certification is incredible.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Adams: Keep at it and don’t give up. Even with failed exams — yes, there will probably be a few — keep at it and you’ll eventually succeed. You have to find your learning style, do what works for you.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Adams: Five years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Adams: In the San Francisco Bay Area where I’m located, there is an enormous amount of construction and growth of communities everywhere. Specifically, the last three years have shown a large uptick of new construction and more specifically mixed-use. Of course, there’s also the code updates every three years that keep me on my toes.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Adams: The opportunities that are out there with the amount of construction that is ongoing is exciting as well as teaching and education opportunities.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Adams: There’s a lot of information to know and it can be incredibly overwhelming. You will never know everything, nor are you expected to. With support from those around you, you’ll get through the tough times.
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?
Adams: To be able to help protect the community I work for has given me a sense of pride in what I do. Being a father, I have an outlook on safety that I never had before. The Code Council has been a major factor in getting me to where I’m at in my profession. The education, certification and worldwide recognition of the Code Council have helped me progress at a rapid rate. I’m doing my part to give back to the Code Council and help promote its mission by being a chapter officer. Last year, by serving as the vice president of the East Bay Chapter of ICC, I’ve been able to continue the grassroots efforts of promoting the Code Council and the benefits they provide.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Adams: With 42 certifications and recently adding Certified Building Official to my credentials, I’m looking forward to taking a study break. The four exam months are now a distant memory, one or two exams a year sounds great. In this profession, you can never stop learning, and I’m a big proponent of education and certification. I’m continually passing on my experiences and encouragement to those interested in this profession and certification.
BSJ: Thank you, Russell, 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 Russell 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.