Well, I guess I will keep the tradition alive by combining the last two days of class together. I am seriously considering breaking one of my own rules and disclosing at least one or two of the questions. However, before we get to that, let’s correct the issue with the instructors name & take a look first at Day 2 of Building Envelope training.
Unfortunately, I am terrible with names, so while it was stated the first day in the field, I had forgotten it by the time I made it back to the hotel. The trainer from EverBlue was Scott Spivak, and as I stated yesterday quite knowledgeable. Day 2 was interesting, as I was not required to be there until 1 PM. The morning part was taken up with the Written Test for the Building Analyst (BA) portion of their combined class. I was invited to attend and listen to the review, which was helpful as it has been 2 months since I took the BA class.
While they took their test, I simply worked on the August Homeowners Maintenance checklist. Yes folks, they had great internet service at the Associated Builders & Contractors building which was a plus compared to the hotels service that kept going up & down like a yo-yo. Speaking of the facility (pictured above), it was a Gold Certified LEED building and quite comfortable.
After they completed the written portion, we all headed out to lunch & three of us returned for the Building Envelope & Shell portion of the class. Needless to say, the afternoon moved quickly as most of the info was presented in the earlier class. Where they took 2 full days to go through about 400 slides, we covered 200 in about 4 hours. While this was not an issue for me with my background, it might be an issue for others. What was an issue for me, is the broken up pattern of the class, prevented me from ever getting into a real study mode.
Ahhh test day, and now I need to decide… Nah, let’s give it another paragraph or two. As I have mentioned in prior articles a few forums comments on other people’s blog articles, there are a few basic rules for taking the tests. One of the biggest issues is “what is the correct answer per (insert testing companies name here), not what is the real answer.” Needless to say, I ran into at least one of those today. One other item I ran across in the test involves carefully reading the standards. There is at least one major exception to their ventilation requirements that will bite you if you do not know it or perform a quick keyword find of the standards.
Oh ok, I am going to break my own rule just a little bit, hoping BPI actually takes a closer look at their questions. For the questions, I am not going to post the exact wording, the “answer” I chose or choices available. Besides the normal, where should X be & them not telling you which climate – there were three or was that four main “you have got to be kidding me” questions today that need to be addressed.
The first one simply asks how do you determine X for a circle. No big deal, you simply flip to the “allowable help files” and click on the first one that contains all the formulas needed to figure out areas volume, etc… This is one thing that all the instructors tell you up front, all the applicable BPI standards & math formulas are located here. Well guess what, a circle is not included – so you might want to remember all the “circle” equations.
The second one which we all through a fit on was along the lines of your blowing insulation in a cavity and you discover rotten studs, what do you do? I am sorry but in this case, not only is too much information missing, but all the answers were wrong, one-way or the other. That doesn’t even include the fact that the size of the hole is only about ¾ of an inch and is located in the center of the cavity which precludes anyone from seeing or being able to determine that they were rotten. This issue right here is what also gives the industry a bad name – people applying or specifying insulation where it does not belong. The moisture & drainage issues need to be caught up front and addressed before you even consider adding insulation in many older homes.
Last, but certainly not least, involves another simple rule that revolves around the one above. When there are multiple correct answers, what would the best answer be according to BPI (or LEED, or RESNET, or…) be, out of all the possible answers. That is nice until you hit a question that says, what chemical could you find in Pressure Treated wood & they list at least three chemicals you would find in it. Ok, two of them are considered hazardous, but the levels found in the wood are less than you would find in your tap water. One simply involves a well-known poison, while the other one is not only poisonous (slightly less) but was known to corrode the anchors used on decks within a year. Now what do you select?
Well, this is my last class and it for my series on the classes I took for RESNET & BPI. If there is enough interest, I am considering two final articles as a wrap up. The first one would be to compare the different classes side-by- side; number of instructors, knowledge, hours spent, cost, testing protocols & procedures, etc… The second one is a side-by-side comparison of the pros and cons of each system & some major flaws I see.