Masters of Code: Shawn Lippy 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 800 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. Shawn Lippy is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Shawn to share his experience on obtaining the MCP designation, highlights of his professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
Lead Plans Examiner
Hillsboro, Oregon, United States
International Code Council member for 13-plus years
Oregon Building Officials Association
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Lippy: My building official is very encouraging of professional development and at the beginning of 2020 it was one of the professional goals that I identified. It was a goal I set to achieve over the long term, but when COVID hit I found myself with more available time to study, prepare, and take the tests necessary to achieve my goal in less than a year. Our transition to working remotely proved to be very efficient with our plan review software and the ability to use the Pronto exam platform has made testing a lot smoother than traveling to testing sites. In addition, I wanted to be among the few in the State of Oregon to have achieved the MCP designation.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Lippy: I used flashcards, online study courses, and practice tests/quizzes to prepare myself for the tests.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Lippy: It is a great accomplishment and I’m proud to be one of only 10 people in the State of Oregon to have achieved the MCP designation. It is definitely an achievement I didn’t think I would have been able to accomplish in less than a year.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Lippy: With the designation being so new to me I don’t know all the value and benefits of being recognized as an MCP as of yet. I hope to see and experience that in the days, months, and years to come.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Lippy: It is a great way to learn the codes, better yourself in your career, and a great accomplishment to be proud of.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Lippy: 17 years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Lippy: It seems there are always new materials and methods being introduced into the construction industry and it seems like the codes and standards keep growing larger and larger to keep up.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Lippy: Being able to see new and creative construction materials and methods being used.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
V: Don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed with the immense amount of information you will be expected to learn. It will all come in time.
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?
Lippy: Building safety is important for me because I take pride in helping to make buildings safer for the public and their families. I do my job for them and not myself. ICC has helped me in my career by offering an abundance of training opportunities to better myself as much as I want. Achieving the MCP is the icing on the cake.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Lippy: I will continue to improve myself in all aspects of my career and take a much-needed vacation.
BSJ: Thank you, Shawn, 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 Shawn 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.