Washington, D.C. — Over the past several years, the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), through its Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council (CWCC), has assisted the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop voluntary national guidelines, known as the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines (BBWG), to improve the quality and consistency of commercial building energy-efficiency workforce credentials. In 2015, the CWCC released four Better Buildings Workforce (BBW) job task analyses and credentialing schemes for: building commissioning professional, building energy auditor, building operations professional and energy manager, and subsequently submitted them to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for review to determine if the schemes were developed based on clause 8 of International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 17024:2012- Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.
A team of ANSI assessors conducted a comprehensive review of the job task analyses and schemes for the four submitted BBW jobs. ANSI’s Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee (PCAC) Evaluation Task Group then reviewed the assessors’ findings and voted to approve the assessors’ recommendations that the four schemes meet the requirements under clause 8 of ISO/IEC 17024:2012. In January, ANSI issued CWCC a letter of notification.
As per ISO/IEC 17024, a certification scheme can be developed by an entity other than the certification body. In such cases, the certification body can obtain details from the scheme documentation for verification. ANSI’s approval that the certification schemes were developed in accordance with clause 8 of the ISO/IEC 17024 standard paves the way for credentialing bodies to use the schemes to create their own certification programs. As the job analyses have been conducted by CWCC, the credentialing bodies can use the common schemes instead of doing their own job analysis, thereby saving significant cost and time, leading to recognition by DOE. The approval of BBW schemes by ANSI under clause 8 of the standard is an important step in making more accredited and DOE-recognized credentials available for practitioners and employers, and will ultimately help DOE achieve its goals of advancing energy efficiency through a competent workforce.
In preparation for the ANSI review process, the CWCC provided an orientation to the ANSI assessors to help prepare them to review submittals from industry using the BBW job task analyses and schemes. While a certification body applying for ANSI accreditation using these schemes would have to demonstrate compliance to all the requirements under ISO/IEC 17024, the familiarity of ANSI assessors with the schemes and the review and approval of clause 8 facilitates the process for certification bodies (CB).
As part of the review process, CWCC addressed several comments received from ANSI aimed at clarifying the recertification and review process. As a result, CWCC is releasing revisions to BBW materials on the CWCC website.
The CWCC and DOE are simultaneously releasing additional supporting materials, including making available a study on labor markets for energy-efficiency jobs to help analyze demand; course outlines and learning objectives; and a plan to help community college and other education providers align their curriculum with BBW jobs.
To learn more about the CWCC and the BBWG, and to view the job task analyses, credentialing schemes and supporting materials, visit www.nibs.org/cwcc.