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Today's tip from Building Operating Management: For facility managers looking to hire HVAC contractors, one certification program to check out is the MSCA Star certification.
The Mechanical Service Contractors of America created the MSCA Star designation in 2003 for mechanical service contractors that serve industrial, commercial and institutional facilities. Among the requirements for the MSCA Star designation:
• Contractors must have been involved in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration industry for at least five years.
• At least 25 percent of the contractor's service techs must hold the UA Star certification, an HVACR service technician certification from the United Association of the Plumbing, Pipefitting and Sprinklerfitting Industry of the United States and Canada.
• Employees have to attend at least one national or local program sponsored by MSCA or its parent group, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America each year.
• Inventory control programs for trucks and tools are required for contractors.
• Contractors must have documented service safety and health programs and must maintain what MSCA calls an "outstanding" safety record.
• All field personnel must be required to wear photo ID cards.
• Contractors must maintain a high-level of customer service. The MSCA Star qualification process checks contractor references with customers.
To receive UA Star certification, technicians have to pass an exam designed to ensure that they are qualified to service, repair, maintain or retrofit a wide range of mechanical systems. Technicians also have to complete a 5 year apprentice training program and have work experience.
A third-party personnel certification agency, National ITC Corporation, administers the MSCA Star program, as well as the UA Star program and a wide variety of other industry certifications. NITC is certified under the ISO 9001 quality management standard and is ANSI-accredited.