The NEBB launches the TAB Technician Qualification Program
NEBB, along with the coordination of member firms, and in an effort to improve quality, has implemented a new program called the NEBB TAB Technician program. Since 1971, it has been the intent and purpose of NEBB to certify firms and qualify persons for the purpose of performing necessary tests and inspections of building environmental systems. The TAB program qualifies certified professionaly personnel who possess both management and field expertise in this area.
The qualification program for technicians has been established as a natural progression of NEBB’s original purpose. This qualification program is intended to enhance NEBB’s stature with owners and designers, while promoting the professional integrity of NEBB’s certified firms. It will also allow NEBB-certified TAB firms, which employ these technicians, to bid and perform on projects that specify the requirement for qualified technicians.
A task force developed the program in 2001. The finished program included the suggestions of a survey of NEBB firms, the requirements of the Board of Directors, TAB Committee and the administrative requirements of National NEBB staff. The technician program is based on the following NEBB publications: TAB Manual for Technicians, Procedural Standards for Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing of Environmental Systems and the TAB Technician Home Study Course.
The following is a generalized listing of differences in skills and/or responsibilities between a certified professional and a technician:
- Develop and plan the work.
- Handle report preparation
- Recommend corrective action
- Set overall safety plan
- Maintain instruments & calibration program
- Have experience w/control strategies, sequence of operation, control systems, equipment and software
- Review, check, sign & stamp final report
- Implement and perform the work
- Possess basic knowledge of report forms
- Identify problems
- Comply with common safety practices
- Use instrumentation properly
- Have a basic knowledge of controls
Eligibility requirements for a technician are
A TAB certified firm, who is in good standing with NEBB, must currently employ the candidate. The candidate must demonstrate competency, reliability, cooperativeness, sound judgment, high ethical standards, and the ability to work independently in a safe, professional manner. The candidate must satisfy one of the following conditions:
- Successful completion of the NEBB TAB Technician Home Study Course AND must also have at least two years employment with a minimum of 1,000 hours of documented TAB fieldwork experience each year within the last two years.
- Four years employment with a minimum of 1,000 hours of documented TAB fieldwork experience each year within the last four years.
- Provide documentation of having completed a program (other than the NEBB program), which is acceptable to NEBB on an individually approved basis. If a candidate has completed a program other than the NEBB previously approved programs, the candidate must include all relevant information concerning that program with his application.
You can obtain the appropriate forms from your local chapter. The application must be filed with the local NEBB chapter with the application fees and the appropriate forms and documentation. The chapter will review your application and if meets the requirements they will contact you with all the testing information you will need. They may also ask for more clarification.
There are both written and practical examinations for this program. The written examination portion will consist of three sections:
- Fundamentals 1hr (closed book)
- Air systems 1hr (open book)
- Hydronic systems 1hr (open book)
The practical, or hands-on, examination may utilize test boards to simulate actual test and balance procedure, or it may consist of actual field installations. The two sections are:
- Air systems 1.5hrs
- Hydronic systems 1.5hrs
The closed book section of the examination packages will include formula reference sheets. Only a non-programmable calculator may be used throughout examination.
The administration of the examinations is flexible. The chapter may elect to administer all of the written sections simultaneously on one day and administer the practical hands-on sections on a different day. The chapter will arrange the location and assign proctors to give the exam. If you are an approved NEBB proctor, you cannot administer the test to your own employees or co-workers.
The Chapter will contact you after the test to let you know if you passed or failed. If you fail the exam, you will need to retake the section(s) you failed. Once you’ve passed a section you do not need to retake it. If you fail one or more sections of the examination, you must wait at least 90 days before you can retake the failed section(s). If you fail the first re-examination, you will have to obtain and successfully complete the NEBB Home Study Course for TAB Technicians with a passing grade of 70% or greater, or you will have to wait one year and re-apply.
If you pass, you will receive notification and a certificate from NEBB within 60 days after (but not at) the examination. You will be listed on NEBB’s database and will be considered a NEBB qualified technician provided you continue to maintain your qualification requirements.
Your Technician Qualification is maintained by:
- Continued employment with a certified firm and having a minimum of 1,000 hours of documented TAB fieldwork experience each year
- Keeping dues current
Your TAB certified professional will verify your continued employment with the firm, and document your TAB fieldwork at the time of your firm’s bi-annual re-certification.
If you fail to maintain your qualification for more than one year, but less than five years, the you will be required to attend a six-hour re-qualification seminar approved by your local chapter.
If you fail to maintain your qualification for more than five years, you will be required to re-apply for qualification, including successfully completing the written and practical exams.
You can be disqualified if:
- You fail to maintain your status as a qualified technician in good standing with the local chapter.
- You falsify balance reports and/or data.
- You do not adhere to NEBB Procedural Standards.
- You exhibit willful disregard for safety and safe work practices.
- You fail to renew your qualification or fail to pay renewal fees.
- Your firm loses its NEBB certification.
The national fees for US firms are $100 to apply, $50 to transfer, and $25 annual maintenance. Non-US firms receive a 25% discount. Your local chapter will determine its own fees for testing and administration.
To pass the exam, you should be proficient in all of the following categories:
- Square Root
- Cube Root
- Pressure (static, velocity and total)
- Resistance (friction and dynamic loss)
- Heat Transfer
General System Knowledge
- Know the purpose of each component in an air system and how these components interact as related to system operating pressure.
- Know the effect of duct leakage on balancing.
- Know the function of the fan laws, system effect and V-belt drives
- Understand the function of the components in various types (constant volume, VAV, dual-duct, terminal reheat, etc) of air distribution systems.
- Know the purpose of each component in a hydronic system.
- Know the effect on balancing of system resistance.
- Be able to apply Pump Laws, the effect on pumps when balancing, and pump curves.
Automatic Control Systems
- Air Measuring Instruments
- Hydronic Measuring Instruments
- Rotation Measuring Instruments
- Temperature Measuring Instruments
- Electrical Measuring Instruments
- Computer & DDC Controls
Preliminary TAB Procedures
- Preliminary Procedures
- Air System Inspections
- Hydronic System Inspections
Specific Air & Hydronic Systems TAB Procedures
Other Considerations for Technician Qualification
- Working Safely
- Data Gathering
- Effective communication with the certified professional