In a letter sent Jan. 5, 2023, to the CEOs of the seven Class I railroads operating in the United States as well as to Association of American Railroads (AAR) President/CEO Ian Jeffries, Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose warned them that “incremental” changes to carriers’ training, qualification and certification programs have in some cases not solved numerous deficiencies identified by FRA audits over the past 18 months.

“Please be advised that FRA is committed to pursuing enforcement action if a railroad’s resubmitted certification program continues to fail to address the deficiencies identified by FRA,” Bose wrote. “Accordingly, whenever FRA conducts its audit of your railroad, FRA will take into account those opportunities FRA has already provided your railroad to correct or address previously identified deficiencies.

“I want to remind industry that the quality and adequacy of these certification programs are fundamental to ensuring that your operating crews are properly trained to safely perform their assigned duties,” Bose wrote. “This starts with certification programs that clearly meet the minimum training and qualification standards.”

Read the full letter below.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) added the Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (TABB) as a third certification body for certifying personnel and contractors who perform testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); water balancing; and sound and vibration equipment testing. The addition was effective Nov. 1.

With endorsements and acceptance/inclusion from the VA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), and construction companies nationwide, TABB is the professional’s choice for the testing, adjusting and balancing of HVAC systems.

The decision was based, in part, on a white paper released in 2020 by the University of California, Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC), “Testing, Adjusting and Balancing HVAC Systems: An Overview of Certification Agencies,”  which examined the benefits of using certified contractors and favorably positioned TABB as the first and only personnel-certifying body accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in this field. The paper also stated TABB conforms to ISO/IEC 17024, an internationally recognized standard for personnel certification bodies.

TABB has developed certifications to serve as verification that technicians and supervisors have the knowledge and experience needed to complete the job tasks at hand. A well-balanced HVAC system isn’t just efficient, it’s also safer due to enhanced ventilation rates and overall indoor air quality.

“Certification provides assurance to building owners that a particular contractor will meet a specified level of quality,” as stated in the white paper. “The need for highly skilled technicians has increased with the complexity of HVAC systems.”

In addition to the endorsement, TABB’s relationship with SMACNA ensures personnel will be trained and certified, as well as have access to technical publications and complete continuing education requirements to maintain expert status.

The Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (TABB) is the first program to gain ANSI accreditation for certification in the testing, adjusting and balancing industry. Certification is a statement that the technician, supervisor and contractor demonstrate the highest level of professional expertise.