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Building Analyst Certification Upgrade

Building science best-practices are always evolving. There’s a regular flow of new tools and techniques to learn and master. The Building Analyst (BA) certification exams have been updated to ensure that Building Analysts have command of the latest best practices in whole house energy audits. In addition to verifying increased proficiency, you get a higher level of confidence from your customers, your employer, the programs you participate in and the market at large.

New topics covered in the BA written exam include the principles of using computer software to model the energy upgrade potential of a home, and developing a scope of work for customers.

Existing topics updated in the written and field exams include assessing whole-building ventilation, measuring airflow, combustion safety and testing/data collection.

What do the updated BA exams cover? The written exam contains new questions verifying that candidates understand the principles of software modeling for energy upgrades and that they have the skills to develop a scope of work for customers.

The updated field exam will require a more detailed demonstration of blower-door use to assess whole-building ventilation, fan flow meter to measure airflow of existing exhaust fans, combustion safety testing and data collection.

Fast Track Renewal Criteria

All renewal candidates seeking to waive the BA written exam must earn 30 CEUs over a 3-year certification period. You may verify your software modeling and work scope development knowledge in one of two ways:

  • Earn CEUs - Earn six of your 30 CEUs by attending training specific to software modeling and work scope development. This six CEU policy is a one-time requirement for renewal candidates in this category; OR
  • Prove experience – Provide a signed letter on company letterhead from current and/or past employers documenting work experience in software modeling/ work scope development. For the applicant’s convenience, a standard template letter is included with the Application for BPI Certification Renewal.

 

Additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

I am currently BA certified. Am I required to take the updated BA exams?

BPI encourages but does not require current BAs to challenge the updated exams.

When you renew your certification, you may need to take the updated written and/or field exam, depending on which part of BPI’s Certification Renewal Policy you qualify for. Note: Trainers should review BPI’s Certification Renewal Policy and proctors should review the Certification Renewal Policy for Proctors (in their portals) to see renewal criteria specific to them.

Example 1: No exams necessary

  • You have earned 30 CEUs during your current BA certification period; therefore, the BA written exam is waived. To verify software modeling and work scope development earn six of the 30 CEUs from training specific to software modeling and work scope development OR provide a signed letter documenting this type of work experience.
  • You can document 3,000 hours of relevant work experience during your current BA certification period OR you have been BA certified for 9 consecutive years; therefore, the BA field exam is waived.

Example 2: Written exam necessary

  • You have earned between 10 – 29 CEUs during your current BA certification period; therefore, you would take a 50 question written exam that includes new material on software modeling and work scope development.
  • You can document 3,000 hours of relevant work experience during your current BA certification period OR you have been BA certified for 9 consecutive years; therefore, the BA field exam is waived.

Example 3: Written and field exam necessary

  • You have earned less than 10 CEUs during your current BA certification period; therefore you would take a 100 question BA written exam that includes new material on software modeling and work scope development.
  • You do not have 3,000 hours of relevant work experience OR you have not been BA certified for 9 consecutive years; therefore, you would take the updated BA field exam.

Important: All candidates who believe they are eligible to waive the field exam must complete an Application for BPI Certification Renewal, attach relevant documentation and pay renewal fees if applicable, at least 30 days prior to expiration.

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What are the benefits to BA certified professionals?

When you update your BA credential, you get objective verification that you have achieved best practice skills and abilities in your chosen profession. You earn a higher degree of confidence from your employer, your customers, the programs you participate in and the market at large. In today’s tough job market, this means greater job security and increased opportunities for career advancement.

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What are the benefits to employers?

When your staff demonstrates industry best practices consistently on every job, your company earns a reputation for quality, leading to improved customer satisfaction, more referrals and reduced callbacks. And when your technicians have verified proficiency in software modeling and work scope development, they are better equipped to convert energy audits into home performance jobs.

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What are the benefits to energy efficiency programs?

More than 130 utility, state and local energy efficiency programs specify BPI credentials for their participating contractors. When the BA certification upgrades, your program automatically gains verified proficiency in the latest industry best practices, without needing to revise the program’s contractor eligibility criteria or materials.

Technicians with verified software modeling skills improve the program’s ability to measure results for rate payers or tax payers. And better work scope development skills mean more informed customers who know what to expect from the get-go, leading to improved customer satisfaction and more referrals.

When your program requires that all participating technicians hold the BA certification, you establish a consistent workforce with the skills and abilities to help meet your program goals, and you reduce your program’s risk of liability.

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Many people regard the BA certification as an entry level credential in home performance. When the BA is upgraded, will there be a new entry level certification?

BPI recognizes the need for an entry level diagnostic certification that does not require the skills of software modeling and work scope development. For this reason we are currently developing a new entry level diagnostic certification, called Building Diagnostic Technician (BDT), that will fill the role the BA has traditionally served. It covers the scope of the BA knowledge, skills and abilities without the software modeling and work scope development pieces. We plan to introduce the BDT in the second quarter of 2014.

BPI understands that a subset of BA certified professionals do not use the BA to conduct energy audits or whole house assessments. Rather, they use it for a variety of broader purposes, including installation, sales and diagnostics to identify issues related to building science. Thus they may not have a need for the software modeling and work scope development features of the upgraded BA designation.

The Building Science Principles (BSP) certificate introduced earlier this year remains a non-technical, knowledge-based certificate that verifies a basic understanding of the principles behind how homes work as a system. This certificate is popular with contractor sales staff, administrative staff, and utility and program management staff who need to know how homes work but don’t need the hands on diagnostic skills of a technician.

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Where can I take the updated BA exams?

The written exams can be taken at any BPI Test Center. Click here to find a test center near you.

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How much do the exams cost?

BPI Test Centers set their own prices for exams. BPI’s current list price has not changed: $250 for the written exam and $500 for the field exam.

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How can I prepare for these exams?

Review the Knowledge Task List (KTL) and be prepared to be tested on any part of it. Note: BPI will be posting the new task list on www.bpi.org shortly, and will notify all BAs via email. BPI does not require training. However, our research shows that individuals completing training typically perform better on BPI exams. Click here to find a training organization near you.

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I am currently BA certified. Will I be prepared for the updated exams?

If you are currently working in the home performance industry as a Building Analyst and following industry best practices, your knowledge, skills and abilities should reflect the content on the KTL.

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How was the updated BA certification developed?

BPI is accredited by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) as a certifying body under ISO standard 17024, and follows ANSI procedures for the development of technical certifications. In accordance with ANSI ISO 17024 protocols, BPI publicly solicited volunteer industry experts to serve on a Certification Scheme Committee (CSC) for the upgraded BA. Using a consensus-based process, the CSC developed a new certification scheme for the BA that includes an updated Knowledge Task List (KTL). If you would like to contribute to the development of BPI’s standards or certifications, click here for more information.

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Will the updated BA exam require me to calculate ventilation based on ASHRAE 62.2 – 2013?

No. You will be required to demonstrate how to determine existing ventilation in the home using diagnostic equipment to measure airflow. The updated BA certification scheme does not point to a specific ventilation standard.

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What industry standards does the updated BA certification rely on?

The certification will reference BPI-1100-T-2014: Home Energy Auditing Standard, and BPI-1200-T-201X: Standard Practice for Basic Analysis of Buildings soon to be published as BPI standards. These standards are designed to be referenced and used together.

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