As of June, Fire Marshal James Abner completed a three-year journey to obtain his Master Code Professional (MCP) designation from the International Code Council (ICC).
The MCP achievement is the highest level of ICC Certification and has become the gold standard for demonstrating proficiency in the building and fire safety profession. Abner is only the fourth code official in New Mexico to achieve this level of code proficiency.
“The Master Code Professional Certification is the pinnacle of all ICC 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.
To become an ICC Master Code Professional, a candidate must obtain a multitude of different code certifications, including eight core ICC certifications and eight electives.
The core certifications include: Residential Inspector, Commercial Building Inspector, Electrical Inspector, Mechanical Inspector, Plumbing Inspector, Building Plans Examiner, Accessibility Inspector, and Certified Building Official. A typical Master Code Professional holds an average of 17 ICC Certifications; Abner holds 22.
“It was a lengthy goal that consumed several of my nights and weekends but one that I felt was necessary,” Abner said. “All the various ICC Codes are so closely integrated it is important to know each one and how they work together.
“In addition, as a fire investigator, understanding all aspects of how electrical, mechanical and building systems should be installed helps me identify situations where improper use or installation might have contributed to the fire’s ignition or spread throughout a building.”
Abner has previous experience as both a building and electrical inspector, which helped in this endeavor.
“I was blessed that my two previous employers believed heavily in cross-training employees. For inspectors, this meant there was always someone available to take care of items that came up day-to-day, and during times of employee changeover, much more institutional knowledge was retained,” he said. “We were able to provide better customer service and save money. But the real payoff for me included a lot of real-world experience in building and electrical systems, which enhanced my knowledge as a fire code official.”