How does someone become a Residential Mechanical Inspector?
ICC certifications are essential for building inspectors, plans examiners, and building officials. Certifications demonstrate that the inspector or plans examiner is properly trained in their field of expertise and can effectively apply the code to construction projects. Becoming a certified residential mechanical inspector requires passing an International Code Council (ICC) certification exam. The entire process requires three basic steps:
1. Learn what the ICC requires for Residential Mechanical Inspectors
The ICC residential mechanical inspector exam requires the applicant to be knowledgeable in the International Residential Code (IRC). The IRC is the most commonly adopted code for residential buildings that creates minimum regulations for one- and two-family dwellings of three stories or less. It brings together all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, energy and electrical provisions for one- and two-family residences into a single book. From this code, an examinee must be able to answer questions from the following categories:
General Administration 10%
Project Administration 2%
Verify that project information, including approved plans and specifications, is provided and is adequate. Verify that required permits are issued and valid. Verify that products not detailed in the code are approved by the building official and installed according to their listing.
Public Information and Legal 3%
Provide general information on code provisions.
Manufacturer's Installation Instructions 5%
Verify the manufacturer’s installation instructions and the listing of the equipment have been followed during the installation of the equipment.
Heating/Cooling/Water Heaters 25%
Heating Equipment 10%
Verify that the installations of mechanical equipment and appliances comply with code requirements, the manufacturer's instructions, and listing of the equipment and have proper access, clearances, supply air, return air, and connection to ducts and plenums.
Water Heaters and Boilers 4%
Verify that the installations of water heaters and boilers comply with code requirements, the manufacturer's instructions, and listing of the equipment and have proper access and clearances.
Cooling and Refrigeration 5%
Verify that the installation of cooling systems and cooling units complies with code requirements, the manufacturer's instructions, and listing of the equipment and have proper access and clearances, supply air, return air, and connection to ducts and plenums.
Other Systems 3%
Verify that special systems utilizing fuel-burning equipment such as interior open-flame grills, pool and sauna heaters, hydronic heating systems, and decorative appliances comply with code requirements, the manufacturer’s instructions, and listing of the equipment and have proper access and clearances.
Heat Pumps and Solar Thermal Energy 3%
Verify that hydronic heating, including ground source heat pump systems an solar thermal energy systems comply with code requirements, the manufacturer's instructions, and listing of the equipment and have proper access and clearances.
Exhaust and Ventilation Systems 8%
Exhausts, Fans, and Kitchen Range Hoods 3%
Verify that the installation of exhaust fans and range hoods complies with code requirements. Verify that proper mechanical ventilation is provided where required.
Clothes Dryer Exhaust 5%
Verify that the installation of clothes dryer exhaust ducts complies with code requirements.
Duct Systems 8%
Duct Construction and Installation 3%
Verify that ducts are constructed of acceptable materials and that installation methods, including support and insulation, comply with code.
Duct and Plenum Use and Application 5%
Verify the correct use and application of ducts and plenums with the mechanical system installed. Verify sizing of the supply and return air ducts.
Combustion Air 16%
Combustion Air 16%
Verify proper sources of air supply for fuel burning appliances and size and location of openings. Verify that materials and installation of combustion air ducts comply with code.
Chimneys and Vents19%
Venting of Fuel-Burning Appliances 7%
Verify size, type, location, clearances, connections, and terminations of vents and venting systems.
Chimney and Vent Connectors 7%
Verify size, type, location, and clearances of chimney and vent connectors for compliance with code.
Factory-Built Chimneys and Fireplaces 3%
Verify clearances, bracing, listing, and labeling of the installation of factory-built chimneys and connectors.
Masonry Chimneys and Fireplaces 2%
Verify proper construction of fireplace and chimney components.
Fuel Supply Systems 15%
Fuel Supply Installation and Sizing 8%
Verify that gas piping systems are installed with proper materials and supports and are sized properly. Verify that fuel gas piping is tested for tightness.
Fuel System Connections 5%
Verify that fittings, valves, connections, and transition of materials are in compliance with code.
Oil Piping and Storage 2%
Verify that the oil piping and storage are installed with proper materials and supports and are sized properly. Verify that fuel supply system is properly sized.
2. How to study for the Residential Mechanical Inspector (M1) exam
Knowing how to tackle answering questions from all of the required sections is a daunting task. Practicing answering residential mechanical code questions is essential for an inspector or someone about to take an exam. In the field, an inspector should be able to answer general questions about heating, cooling, duct, vent, combustion air and fuel supply installations. During an exam, test takers must be able to navigate the International Residential Code fast enough to answer all of the questions within the allowed time of 2 hours. Building Code Masters has several practice exams for mechanical inspectors to test their skills and learn the most essential questions and scenarios they will be presented with. Practice exams for residential mechanical inspectors can be found through the provided links below:
3. How to take the ICC Residential Mechanical Inspector exam
When taking a mechanical code examination, it is essential to be able to navigate the code fast enough to find all of the answers. 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 residential mechanical inspector exam requires applicants to be able to answer the following questions in the allocated time:
Number of questions: 60
Time limit: 2 hours
This means that examinees will have roughly two minutes per question. It may appear as a generous amount of time but some questions will be longer and more in depth than others which requires an inspector to be able to have section locations of the book 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 be 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.