Updated: Dec 3, 2020
How does someone become a certified building official?
ICC certifications are essential for building inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials. Certifications demonstrate that the building official is properly trained in their field of expertise and can effectively apply the code to construction projects. Becoming a certified building official requires passing several International Code Council (ICC) certification exams. The entire process requires three basic steps:
1. Learn what the ICC requires for 2018 certified building officials
The International Code Council requires examinees to pass three examinations in order to be granted the designation of a certified building official. The largest and most intensive of these three examinations by far, is the building codes and standards module. The 2018 certified building official building codes and standards module requires the applicant to be knowledgeable in nearly the entire series of international building codes available from the International Code Council as well as some other outside publications. The required texts are as follows:
1. 2018 International Building Code 2. 2018 International Residential Code 3. 2018 International Plumbing Code 4. 2018 International Mechanical Code 5. 2018 International Fire Code 6. 2018 International Energy Conservation Code 7. ICC A117.1-2009 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities
8. NFPA 70: National Electrical (NEC) 2017
9. 2018 Special Inspection Manual
From these code standards, an examinee must be able to answer questions from the following categories:
Architectural Plan Review 31%
Use and Occupancy Classification 4%
Determine use and occupancy classification of structures for building code compliance.
Construction Classification 4%
Determine required construction classification for code compliance.
Means of Egress Provisions 6%
Determine compliance of the means of egress provisions of the structure with the building code.
Light, Ventilation, and Sanitation Provisions 3%
Determine compliance with light, ventilation, and sanitation provisions of the structure with the building code.
Fire Resistance and Fire Protection Provisions 5%
Determine compliance with fire resistance provisions of the structure with the building code. Determine compliance with fire protection provisions for the structure with the building code.
Accessibility Provisions 5%
Determine compliance with provisions for accessibility for the structure with the building code.
Environmental and Natural Hazard Provisions 2%
Determine location for risk of, floodplain, seismic, wind, and snow of the structure with the building code.
Special Use/Occupancy Provisions 2%
Determine compliance with special use occupancy provisions of the structure with the building code.
Structural Plan Review 13%
Structural Provisions 8%
Evaluate building elements for compliance with required structural loads including wind, seismic, soil bearing capacity, and snow loads.
Material Standards and Construction Methods 5%
Determine compliance for building materials and required methods of construction.
Building Systems Plan Review 19%
Mechanical Provisions 4%
Determine compliance with the mechanical and fuel gas code.
Plumbing Provisions 4%
Determine compliance with the plumbing code.
Electrical Provisions 4%
Determine compliance with the electrical code.
Fuel Gas Provisions 4%
Determine compliance with the fuel gas code.
Energy Provisions 3%
Determine compliance with the energy code.
Field Inspection 37%
Site Inspection 2%
Evaluate site for soil conditions, excavation, and public protection with the code and approved plans.
Foundation Inspection 4%
Evaluate footings and foundations with the code and approved plans.
Structural Frame Inspection 4%
Evaluate structural frame with the code and approved plans.
Building Envelope Inspection 2%
Evaluate building envelope, insulation, and finishes with the code and approved plans.
Electrical Inspection 5%
Evaluate electrical installation with the code and approved plans.
Plumbing Inspection 5%
Evaluation plumbing installation with the code and approved plans.
Mechanical Inspection 4%
Evaluate mechanical installation with the code and approved plans.
Fire Protection Inspection 4%
Evaluate fire protection, smoke control, suppression, and alarm systems with the code and approved plans.
Final Building Inspection 4%
Evaluate the completed structure and systems with the code and approved plans.
Special Inspection 3%
Evaluate the project for compliance with special inspection requirements.
2. How to study for the certified building official bc module exam
Knowing how to tackle answering questions from all of the required sections is a daunting task. Practicing answering building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and special inspection questions is essential for a building official or someone about to take an exam. In the field, a building official should be able to answer general questions about occupancy, hazardous materials, fire protection, and egress safety much like plans examiners and inspectors.
One of the major differences between a building official and inspectors or plans examiners is the authority to accept standards and alternative approved materials. Because of this deep knowledge of the code is critical and thus the examination dives into a series of obscure and difficult questions. During an exam, test takers must be able to navigate the required texts fast enough to answer all of the questions within the allowed time of 120 minutes. Building Code Masters has several practice exams for plans examiners to test their skills and learn the most essential questions and scenarios they will be presented with as a building official. Practice exams for certified building official bc modules can be found through the provided links below:
3. How to take the certified building official BC module exam
When taking a building code examination, it is typically essential to be able to navigate the code fast enough to find all of the answers in the text. The BC module is no exception to this rule and is quite possibly the most time constrained exam offered for building codes. Most ICC examinations are open book and because of this, obscure and hard to memorize material will be included in all of the examinations i.e. large tables and mathematical formulas. The 2018 certified building official bc module exam requires applicants to be able to answer the following questions in the allocated time:
Number of questions: 80
Time limit: 2 hours
This means that examinees will have roughly one and a half minutes per question. This very small amount of time demands that a test taker have locations of certain material from the texts memorized. Having chapter locations memorized and pacing oneself will lead to passing the exam. Practice exams from Building Code Masters prepare test takers for the time crunch and memorization of the most important sections of the code. Whether the exam is focused on building, mechanical, electrical, or plumbing, Building Code Masters has all of the study materials available to help test takers learn how to become better educated building inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials.
For a complete list of practice exams and study materials, CLICK HERE.