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  1. #27
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    From 2011... seems relevant:

    Quote Originally Posted by numbawunfela View Post
    THere is a thread here about Air Balancing Certification.
    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=156515

    There is a bit of discussion about whether NCI is ok, and how AABC and NEBB compare and so on. I Am Certified by NCI, frankly bedcause I couldn't qualify to take the NEBB Test and we needed an air balancer.

    Today I went to the AHR expo and spoke to the guys at the NEBB Booth. I did not look for them, but once I found them, i took the oportunity to speak with them. I mentioned that it seems kinda hard to get their cert, and that is why I haven't taken their test. they says 'No it's not that hard, look here...'
    'That's good cause I remember when i looked a few years back you had to work in balancing for like six years to even take the test to get into NEBB.'
    'see you just need to meet any of these simple criteria, and you can qualify'
    'But it says here either you have to be an engineer, or be a Tab supervisor for like 4 years, or do Tab work for Six before you can be NEBB certified.'
    'that is right.'
    'I got certified through NCI because this all seemed too troublesome'

    That was when one of the guys nostrils started to flare - I got a little scared.

    'What do you mean troublesome?' the nice one says.
    'well, frankly, I couldn't meet the requirements to even take your test, so I had to go somewhere else'
    'they'll let anyone take the test' the angry one says 'doesn't that tell you something about NCI?'

    'No, it tells me they'll certify based on merit. it tells me NEBB if a fraternity of insiders trying to keep others out with excessively strict entrance requirements' When I saw lasers in the angry ones eyes I added 'or so I've heard. you hafta admit, if I have to do air balancing for six years before I can be certified to do air balancing, people are going to wonder why it is made so difficult. One may think it is a bunch of engineers looking out for their engineer buddies, making sure the supply of balancers is small enough that they can name their price when it comes time to provide services. It is reasonable for someone on the outside to suspect the worse. But of course that's why I came to you, it's all second hand gossip. I want to hear it from the horses mouth'

    Then after a few minutes of 'We like everyone, we are nice, NEBB is great, 60 new companies were certified this year...' from the nice one I asked them:

    'The whole NCI thing is a big deal for you guys huh?'
    They both nodded
    'It is hard to get designers to accept their cert' the nice one says
    'Really? I heard they have an NEBB certified PE on staff that helps with that...'
    'Yeah we know all about them' the angry one cuts me off.
    'Do you feel like they are undercutting you guys, doing anything deceptive or illegal?'
    The angry one had tuned me out, the nice one says 'No, nothing illegal....'

    'That's good, well I gotta go guys! Have a good one...'

    I am 6'5" and 230 lbs, and I was sure the Angry one was inches from jumping over the table to get me. It was impressive really.

    I walked away with confirmation of what I kinda figured already:

    NCI is spreading and being accepted all over
    Their certification is accepted in more and more places, and their support in this regard works.
    NEBB will never SAY they were a fraternity, but the response to our conversation was really overwhelming, It was as though I had stolen his son's lunch money, the man was ANGRY.

    Just thought I would share
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  2. #28
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    I was NEBB certified for 20 years and there are some things I disagreed with them on. Their qualification requirements are really not meant to keep people out but to make sure the people they certify can do the job primarily in commercial. There is a certain arrogance among the leaders that is without merit. Your questions to these guys were valid and shouldn't have pissed them off. NEBB likes to brag that 60% of professional engineers fail the NEBB certification test. I don't see how an engineer can pass the EIT and fail the NEBB test. The questions on the NEBB test are appropriate and you can expect to run into the problems on commercial jobs.
    The reason the field experience level is minimized for engineers is they know or should know the fundamentals of air and water design. If you don't know the fundamentals you need to learn them on the job and that takes time. The problems you can run into doing residential work is nowhere near what is encountered doing commercial.
    When I took the test there was a guy taking it for the fourth time because he couldn't pass the fundamentals part. He passed it that time.
    Last edited by WAYNE3298; 01-04-2019 at 10:52 AM.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  3. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAYNE3298 View Post
    Their qualification requirements are really not meant to keep people out but to make sure the people they certify can do the job primarily in commercial.
    I gotta say - the wall of shame is not getting any smaller, so there is something to this concept. I heartily agree. However the time requirement tends to put a lid on who can get in the door - sort of an unintended consequences thing.
    For example, I started in the trade in 2005 as a helper with no training, and was NATE certified in all specialties available at the time and a Lead Tech and Foreman in 3 years, making 3x's what I was making when I started.
    My first air balancing job was in 2007, I think. A Hospital that had decided to use a 25 story abandoned incinerator chimney as an exhaust stack for their morgue. My job was to defend the job the pot-smoking Jamaicans had done on the duct installation and show the design was flawed. I had no training, 2 years or so in the trade, and a flow hood missing pieces. In the end I was able to hold my own with the PE in a finger pointing session where I demonstrated that the Chimney was 'sized' based on the friction rate of smooth metal duct (which it obviously was not) and that they needed to double the exhaust fan on the roof's static to get the job done to overcome the friction losses.... After bringing back a signed proposal for exhaust fan replacement, I went back to my employer and said 'I could use a little air balancing training'.
    My experience is NOT NOT NOT typical - but that is kinda the point. When I looked around at what training was available - the years and years requirement from NEBB and AABC was a non-starter. And the issue is not that I got stiffed by NEBB, it is that NEBB is playing the averages and eliminating the chances they may have in getting an overacheiver into their club. If the test is so good - it should be available to a guys with less experience - let them waste their money failing the test.... OR let the unusually good guy pass it and get work doing their thing.

    That is why I had said
    Quote Originally Posted by numbawunfela View Post
    'No, it tells me they'll certify based on merit. it tells me NEBB if a fraternity of insiders trying to keep others out with excessively strict entrance requirements' When I saw lasers in the angry ones eyes I added 'or so I've heard. you hafta admit, if I have to do air balancing for six years before I can be certified to do air balancing, people are going to wonder why it is made so difficult.
    Now to be fair - the NCI cert I got was really residential light commercial. They have a commercial version now that is like a week or 2 long. So it gets more in depth. Just making sure we are going apples to apples here
    Last edited by numbawunfela; 01-04-2019 at 11:54 AM.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  4. #30
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    One place I disagree with NEBB is there is no alternative for the exceptional person and there should be. The requirements for example for certification in building envelope testing in my opinion is to make NEBB money. Any balancer should be capable of doing these tests.
    As for the finger pointing sessions with engineers most of them assume you are not very smart and think they can win. In most cases the balancer knows more about the actual install than they do.
    I agree that since passing the tests is the determining factor in who gets certified they should allow anyone to take the test. Unless you are an overacheiver you will fail it. Most certified balancers are mediocre anyway in my opinion. In my opinion most of them not only can't calculate system effect they can't even recognize it. Almost all of them place total confidence in digital time weighted flow hoods. There are applications where the analog flow hood is a must but NEBB totally supports the digital hood.
    One thing you might find amusing is the certification test was multiple choice and there were 6 questions that did not have a correct answer. One of them was a simple question on water static head. That should not happen.
    Last edited by WAYNE3298; 01-04-2019 at 12:07 PM.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  5. #31
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    Dec 2018
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    Most construction specifications will require certification from either NEBB, AABC, or TABB. I would imaging most balancing firms would want technicians and engineers that either have these certifications or are able to pass these exams. RSES certification maybe useful to augment your resume to obtain a position with a non-TAB firm. For example, it may show that your an HVAC technician that understands TAB.

  6. #32
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    Jan 2019
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    The prerequisites are not intended to keep individuals out but rather to ensure as conceivable those affirmed are qualified. In the event that you have given careful consideration to this site the quantity of individuals that are totally persuaded that air framework static weight estimations give all the data expected to assess fan execution is overpowering. Nothing could be more distant from reality however you can't persuade the vast majority of that. On the off chance that a balancer depended on statics he would have such a large number of call backs he wouldn't have sufficient energy to adjust anything. I completely anticipate that a lot of exemptions should my announcements on static weight.

  7. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAYNE3298 View Post
    One place I disagree with NEBB is there is no alternative for the exceptional person and there should be. The requirements for example for certification in building envelope testing in my opinion is to make NEBB money. Any balancer should be capable of doing these tests.
    As for the finger pointing sessions with engineers most of them assume you are not very smart and think they can win. In most cases the balancer knows more about the actual install than they do .
    I agree that since passing the tests is the determining factor in who gets certified they should allow anyone to take the test. Unless you are an overacheiver you will fail it. Most certified balancers are mediocre anyway in my opinion. In my opinion most of them not only can't calculate system effect they can't even recognize it. Almost all of them place total confidence in digital time weighted flow hoods. There are applications where the analog flow hood is a must but NEBB totally supports the digital hood.
    One thing you might find amusing is the certification test was multiple choice and there were 6 questions that did not have a correct answer. One of them was a simple question on water static head. That should not happen
    .
    what are these applications? more detail please

  8. #34
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    Feb 2016
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    I'll give you some detail but strongly suggest you research ASHRAE concerning low pressure air systems and how they are easily influenced by wind and etc. I did that years ago and don't remember the manuals to consult but if you have access to ASHRAE it is not hard to find. I'm now retired and don't have access to anything.
    The analog flow hood is much more reliable when used on low pressure systems than the digital meter. The digital has a tendency to read high on low pressure systems and at times considerably high. I was called to run some airflow tests on railroad crossing buildings that contained and conditioned the controls that operated the lights and crossing guards. I knew the tests would only take an hour or two and the test sight was about 100 miles away. I told the engineer there were a couple of TAB companies within 10 miles of him and it would cost him more for me to travel than the entire cost of hiring one of them. He at that time wouldn't elaborate but said he wanted a second opinion and I had been recommended to him by a couple of sources. I took a digital flow hood out of the van and an analog. I took several digital readings with the digital which the engineer witnessed and ask him to average them. He said he couldn't. I then took several readings with the analog and ask him to average them and he did so immediately. I then averaged the digital readings using the meter and the average was a lot higher than the analog. The design of his cooling equipment was based on the previous balancer's digital average but resulted in a dangerous under design of the cooling equipment which was causing dangerous control failures. No deaths or injuries had resulted because the tests were run in house and none had been installed at crossings.
    He redesigned the cooling systems based on the analog readings and the systems passed all in house tests. He had called me because he knew the airflow readings he got previously were wrong but didn't know why. I sold him a used analog hood I no longer needed and he ran all preliminary tests and called me to do the final certified readings. Had this engineer not done due diligence and thoroughly tested his design the outcome could have been deadly.
    I balanced the low res B2 air systems and quickly abandoned the digital hood because of wildly fluctuating readings due to the low pressure air systems. If you want to use the digital hood take several readings record them and if the vary a lot rethink using it. Another thing I did was take compensated and uncompensated readings. The readings should very close to each other until 500 CFM is exceeded. If they are not reconsider using the digital.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

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