I have had the pleasure of talking to a lot of wonderful people about the challenges of the BPI QCI Certification, and I am getting some unique insight. I started out working on my book – Residential QCI Handbook on a quest to help candidates who are preparing to take the exam. I wanted to get a clearer picture of how to prepare for the exam, what to study, what to learn, and what to brush up on. But there is a lot more to it than just sharpening your pencil or memorizing a table.
For one thing, there is a lot to being a Quality Control Inspector for homes. Early in my career I worked as a technician in a company that made television sets. Electronic components were stuffed by hand into circuit boards. Hardware components were mounted on large, copper back plates, wires were run between point A and point B . . . and C, D, E, F, G, etc. Lots of wires. For awhile I had to solder those wires in place. Individual components like the power supplies and the channel tuners were tested at individual stations. And then the whole thing was put together, shaken for a half hour to see if everything would stay in place, and then turned on and aligned and then put in a box to be shipped. Every person in the process had something to do with making that TV set work . . . every person from the person who stuffed the resistors into the holes on the circuit boards to the final test technician who made sure that it actually would work when it arrived in someone’s home played a role in the success or failure of the product.
I started out connecting wires, but I ended up performing the final alignment – performing the final quality control on each television. There were a lot of smart people putting those things together, but the level of risk was small. If the TV set didn’t work, people in a bar weren’t going to able to watch the 3 Stooges! (They told me that when I was doing field service.) If someone doesn’t properly check the spillage on a water heater in a house, a family could die.
Quality Control for homes is a lot more serious than quality control for TV sets. Over and over again as I have talked to people I heard that the economic rewards for the job are barely considered. The rewards are emotional. Clients are grateful when their homes are more comfortable and the heating bills lower.
So that’s another thing. I had heard that candidates struggle with the “soft skills” questions on the written test. It’s very difficult to write “soft skills” questions that have only one right answer. Those are generally the questions that attorneys answer by saying, “Well, it depends!” How do you assess client satisfaction? You talk to them. We don’t do this work ON clients. We do this work WITH clients. The crew and the weatherization agency brings the skills and that has to blend with requirements of the house and the people who live there. It is all one beautiful, functional entity. It’s like the TV sets I worked on only much more significant. Most of those TV sets that I worked on back in the 1970’s are in the dump by now. Houses will be around for a few hundred years.
Tamasin Sterner of PureEnergy Coach told me that you can’t have an ego to be a Quality Control Inspector. It’s just not about you.
You, however, will provide the final quality control checks on my book. I am honored to have been certified as a QCI Master Trainer by IREC. I am honored to have been able to talk to a lot of people for the contents of the book. I have tried to pull together a lot of useful knowledge and tools to get the job done. But there is so much out there that it is overwhelming. You really need to know a lot to be good at this job. For those of you who are about to challenge the QCI exam, take courage, eat some dark chocolate (Amanda Hatherly mentioned that), and believe in yourself and what you are doing.
If you are planning to challenge the BPI Quality Control Inspector’s certification, you might find the Quality Control Inspector’s Residential Handbook helpful. Scheduled for publication on June 1, 2015. For updates and a discount on publication, please add your name and email address by clicking on the book below.
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