The COVID-19 crisis has touched every aspect of our society, bringing about shared and unique challenges for all. For the commercial building sector, of paramount concern is the safety and security of occupants, and that is in many ways dependent on the mechanical systems that allow buildings to function.
The professionals who perform testing, adjusting, balancing, commissioning, monitoring, measurement and ultimately help ensure proper function in these buildings have critical roles to play. Ensuring they possess the requisite experience, knowledge and ability to perform these tasks is vital. To that end, never has the value of certification been more important.
The Associated Air Balance Council (AABC), AABC Commissioning Group
(ACG) and Energy Management Association (EMA), which we collectively call the “Authorities in Building Performance,” are affiliated trade associations that administer certification programs for professionals working in commercial buildings. Their certifications cover testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB); building commissioning; and energy management, respectively. Collectively, these groups have more than 600-member companies with more than 2,600 professionals carrying one or more of AABC, ACG, and EMA’s certifications.
The Associated Air Balance Council, or AABC, establishes industry standards for Total System Balance of building environments and is the only association that exclusively certifies independent agencies. Members receive certification, technical training, continuing education and business resources. AABC publishes the National Standards for Total System Balance, an American National Standards Institute- (ANSI-) approved manual that details the minimum standards for testing, adjusting and balancing, along with a host of other publications, technical training guides and continuing-education programs to support its agencies and certificants.
“Our members are the trusted Total System Balance providers of choice for every building owner and design professional,” says AABC President Benjiman J. (BJ) Link, TBE, president of United Testing and Balancing Inc. “We ensure this through rigorous enforcement of agency independence, the highest standards for qualifying for certification and maintaining excellence with a first-rate continuing education program.”
AABC membership is conditioned on each agency having at least one Certified Test and Balance Engineer (TBE) on staff. To attain this credential, the candidate must have a minimum of eight years’ test and balance experience and pass an eight-hour exam that tests applicants’ knowledge and technical competence in air and hydronic systems balancing, psychrometrics and heat transfer, electrical systems, sound and vibration testing, instrumentation and TAB project management.
AABC also requires that all an agency’s eligible technicians be certified as AABC Test and Balance Technicians.
The performance of AABC members is backed by a Quality Assurance Program and National Performance Guaranty. These programs require that all completed projects be reported to AABC headquarters, which solicits feedback from the engineer of record on the project. The record shows that in 99 percent of the cases, the engineer indicates satisfaction. If not, the feedback is immediately communicated to the member firm, which is required to address the issue with the engineer and inform AABC of the resolution.
“I carry my company’s AABC-certified member agency and my TBE certification with tremendous pride,” says AABC Executive Vice President Mike Kelly, TBE, CxA, president of American Testing Inc. “They are enduring symbols of quality in the TAB profession backed by 55 years of tradition and widely recognized in the field.”