The International Certification Board/Testing Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (ICB/TABB) Conference returned in person for the first time since 2019 April 25-27 at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim, California. In its 19th year, the conference welcomed more than 120 attendees from 30 states who represented labor and management from the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).
The conference consisted of two tracks — the business track offered guest speakers who provided ideas and opportunities for business owners, while the educational track presented courses, continuing education units (CEUs) and certification exams. Lance Clark, who retired from Sheet Metal Workers Local 105 near Los Angeles last year, was also inducted as the 19th member of the TABB Hall of Fame.
Along with industry speakers, courses and certification exams offered included testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) supervisor, indoor air quality supervisor, fire and smoke damper supervisor, smoke control system supervisor, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) duct and system air leakage technician. A total of 54 professionals participated in certification exams during the conference.
“The certification portion of the conference is an important one,” said Duane Smith, ICB director of certification. “Members can take a course, earn their CEUs and earn a valuable certification that could move their careers forward. It’s a good all-in-one option for conference attendees.”
During the business track, guest speakers discussed a variety of topics, from how to bid on government work to standards compliance and inspections in health care facilities to emerging artificial intelligence technology that can aid in training.
Staff members of the National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC) presented the ventilation verification initiative to have certified, skilled and trained professionals conduct assessments that will recommend adjustments, modifications and/or replacements of HVAC systems to help building owners create safer indoor environments for occupants. Although NEMIC was working on this initiative before the pandemic, the concern over spread of COVID-19 through particles in the air brought ventilation into the public consciousness.
We’ve been talking about indoor air quality for as long as I’ve been a member,” said SMART General President Joseph Sellers. “This is really our [sheet metal workers’] opportunity to effect change, to be able to go in and make our school and buildings safer, reduce our carbon emissions and realize a return on investment. This ventilation verification program is vitally important.”
During an outdoor dinner and reception, Clark was recognized as the 2021 inductee into the TABB Hall of Fame. During his 42 years in the trade — many of them as the training director at Local 105 — Clark was instrumental in the creation and certification of the local’s testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) lab, a space that allows everyone from apprentices to experiences journey persons to train and certify their skills. Self-admittedly not a “TAB guy,” Clark still recognized the importance of the industry expertise and pushed it forward in his area when only 3% of the contractors were bidding the work.
He saw a future where more trained and certified workers meant more contractors could bid — and win — this type of work.
“You have someone who doesn’t have a TAB background, but they’re in a leadership position and they have that transformational mindset that if they’re not doing it now, they see the benefits in the future,” Smith said. “It would be easy to say, ‘we’re doing fine with what we’re doing’ and not look ahead, but that’s how programs die.”
Those training centers that do not have a TAB lab send their members to the closest certified lab to take the certification exam.
“Anybody who doesn’t have a TAB lab in their training center, go after it,” added Clark, who has two sons who followed him into the trade and took up TAB as their specialties.
To date, there are 23 certified TAB labs in 148 training centers across the country and in Canada. A certified TAB lab meets the requirements of an ICB/TABB certification, which includes identifying all the potential testing components, test points and testing equipment; verifying the availability of the testing equipment and measuring air and water flows of the equipment and components.
ICB/TABB, a program of the National Energy Management Institute Committee (NEMIC), is the first of its kind to gain ANSI (American National Standards Institute) accreditation for certification in the testing, adjusting and balancing and HVAC fire life safety industry. The ICB/TABB program certification is a statement that the technician, supervisor and contractor demonstrate the highest level of professional expertise.
ICB/TABB is one way NEMIC identifies and develops market and educational opportunities for members of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) workers.