As a veteran building operator, Chuck Eddington of the General Services Administration found Building Operator Certification most valuable as a “refresher.”
BOC offers solid education for taking care of buildings, he believes. “To persons that are entering the operation or building engineering field, it covers a broad base of information,” said Eddington, a GSA assistant building engineer at the Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle. “It’s a really good introductory course. For anybody who’s been working in the field five to 10 years, it’s more of a refresher.”
That would apply to Eddington, who has worked at this facility since 1991 and took his current position in early 1996. He earned his BOC certification in April 2001 after completing a Level I course in Seattle.
In addition to brushing up on his building operation skills, Eddington said he did gain some specific benefits from BOC training.
He and GSA colleague Rob Manos (the chief building engineer at Jackson who also took BOC) had long worked to make their building as energy-efficient as possible. “Rob and I’ve got this building pretty much pegged, although there will always be room for improvement,” usually by spending money on energy-saving equipment.
In BOC, he continued, “We did an analysis on one homework assignment of our building. We were in the lower percentile of energy use for the size and square footage of our building. That helped give us a gauge to see exactly where we were–more that that we have the building under control as far as energy usage. I’m surprised how many people don’t know how much energy they should be using in these big buildings.”
Eddington learned more about his building’s electrical system by schematically drawing it for another BOC homework assignment. A project on power load calculations “forced me to become more familiar with the building.” And he gained “a different perspective” on such HVAC issues as filter changes.
Meanwhile, the BOC certificate gives him an advantage in moving up at GSA. “I won’t say it has a tangible value as far as salary, but it does have a tangible value as far as potential promotions,” he said. “Credentials and experience–that’s what it’s all about.”
Eddington now adds BOC to his extensive work-related education, which also includes training courses in pneumatics, controls, air conditioning, refrigeration and building automation systems. He recently received a Non-Residential Electrical Certification (07) from the State of Washington.
BOC classes provide a springboard to more specialized trainings, in his view. They can also help building operators find their weak spots that need further work.
His advice? “If you’re entering this field or entering in a position, take [BOC] just to get acquainted with what all’s involved in running a building. There’s a lot… It’s a good course to take for somebody who’s contemplating entering the field or somebody who’s looking at a promotion for entering that position, or for a good refresher course.”
In other words… just about anybody who operates a building.