Contractors, Local 17 partner to offer continuing education for TAB technicians

In March, a sub-group of Boston-area Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) held a course at Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 near Boston in order to help local testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) technicians earn the continuing education units (CEUs) needed to maintain their International Certification Board/Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (ICB/TABB) certifications.

The course was led by Jim Riendeau, vice president at Engineered Sales Corporation and exclusive agent for EBTRON, a manufacturer of air measurement products, and introduced by Buckley Associates, which also brought the class together. The course covered air flow measurements, including pressurization fundamentals, outdoor intakes, airflow measurement paths for building pressure and outdoor air control, control strategies, accuracy requirements for the control of pressurization and intake rates, startup ad verification basics, verification versus adjustment and techniques that minimize uncertainties and improve building performance.

The seminar was geared toward TAB technicians whose certifications were set to renew in March along with fire and smoke damper technicians.

“The class was highly attended and a great success,” said Ryan Barrett, of E. L. Barrett Company, Inc. out of Quincy, Massachusetts. “The course was very well-received by the technicians in the room.”

In 2010, TAB contractors formed a sub-group of the Boston-area SMACNA, which was instrumental in driving this section of the industry. The sub-group members agreed from the beginning they would help the union apprenticeship train the future and expand the TAB curriculum.

The first step was to renovate the Local 17 TAB lab into a state-of-the-art facility, which began in 2011 and finished in 2012. Working with John Healy, training director at the training center, and other leaders, training was tailored to meet contractors’ needs, with the focus on creating a well-rounded technician who could pass the ICB/TABB certification.

“The driving force was to increase the market share and train tomorrow’s technicians. They’re going to be the leaders in the field,” Barrett said. “It starts with training. Over the years, John (Healy) has been right there, working with contractors to assist in any way he can to expand the already thriving programs at the school. None of this would be possible without John’s continued commitment to training the Local 17 sheet metal worker to be the best.”

Some of the training is highly specialized, depending on the contractor and the project up for bid. The training center’s role is to work with contractors to make sure it’s providing the training they need to land projects and keep members working, Healy said.

“Local 17 does its best to not only keep our members employed, but encourage them to continually maintain and sharpen their skills,” Healy said. “The training is driven by the contractors who know exactly what they need. It’s a great partnership.”

ICB/TABB is the first program to gain American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation for certification in the TAB industry. Certification is a statement that the technician, supervisor and contractor demonstrate the highest level of professional expertise.

For more information on emerging market opportunities in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry, contact at or call 800-458-6525.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Buckley Associates, E. L. Barrett Company Inc., EBTRON, Engineered Sales Corporation, International Certification Board/Testing Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (ICB/TABB) certifications, Jim Riendeau, John Healy, Ryan Barrett, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA), Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, TABB-certified
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