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CFPS and new CWBSD

CFPS and new CWBSD

(OP)
I am sure this has been asked on here before, but has anybody ever taken the CFPS test, and are there any advantages to it? Now that I passed my NICET Level III testing, the CFPS was next on my list of goals. I didn't know if it was worth the time and money or not though?

Also, I got on NFPA's website today, to look at the CFPS information, and I see this: COMING SOON! Certified Water-Based Systems Designer (CWBSD)

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

I used to have my CFPS. I simply took it because one AHJ in our area liked to brag they were the only in the state. It is a test based on how well you can find material. I spent about 4 hours preparing for it. The preparation consisted of becoming familiar with the index and table of contents of The Fire Protection Handbook. I find that in the fire sprinkler industry, the CFPS really didn't mean much. If you want to go into the broader fire protection industry, the CFPS does carry some clout. However, I am solely water based fire sprinkler system based. As such, my NICET IV carries more weight for me.

I had heard of the CWSBD by NFPA. I have a colleague who has mentioned that he is on the planning committee for it. But, he has not been able to say anything more about it than that. I am interested in seeing how that takes off. I will likely obtain that when it is available.

As a fire sprinkler system design guy for nearly 30 years, I can say the NICET IV has been the most beneficial of what I have done. I was working toward the Masters in FPE. The program I was in was divided into application and theory. The application part was relatively easy. The theory part was way over my head. I have not had calculus in over 20 years and there was a lot of differential eq math in that part of the program. I would still love to go back and finish. My bachelors degree is in a science field, but not an engineering field. My goal was to get the MS FPE and then be able to sit directly for the FPE exam. I have met the qualifications in states where I am concerned to sit for the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. However, the general aspect of that test would drop me. I have reviewed many practice tests and prep books. I would need to take a 2 year hiatus from work to be able to pass that FE exam without the engineering degree and just going over the material to a degree I could be competent enough to pass.

So, after all of that, don't waste your time on CFPS unless you are wanting to do something broader than fire sprinkler system layout.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

(OP)
Wow, that sounds like a lot of studying and prep work! I am strictly a water based layout guy, and as such, I am good with my NICET certification. I had thought about the CFPS, but you are correct, I don't see the benefit to it. I am quite interested in the new CWBSD though, and am curious to check it out, once more information becomes available. I imagine that I also will likely obtain it when it comes out as well. I am a NICET Level II, currently, but I passed my Level III tests, and am waiting on the official paperwork from NICET saying that I am a Level III. I need more time to achieve IV, but will likely go for it, once I eligible. I am very curious to see what the computer based test will be like for IV. I have yet to find anybody, anywhere who took it CBT. Everybody I talk to has been element style.

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

Travis, if you need help with the FE I may be of some use.

The CFPS, like Travis said, is how fast you can look up info in the NFPA fire protection handbooks. I don't want to sound harsh but Ctrl+F can do the same thing in the .pdf of the texts.

Today I see so much alphabet soup behind people's names I don't know what 90% of it even means. I would suggest keeping on and getting your NICET IV.

I too am interested in the NFPA cert. I have a NICET III water based and PE but wonder what's in store for this new certification. Even with my credentials there is so much to learn about fire protection in general it makes my head spin.

PS I plan to take the NICET IV CBT this fall [I can't use passing an exam for CPD points until then!]

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

(OP)
Newton,
Yeah, I used to think I wanted to pursue the CFPS, but now I am thinking I will skip it. This new CWBSD has me intrigued though. And I agree, I am going to keep at it and get level IV, but I need to with 5 years, to meet the experience requirement, I do believe. Good luck on your Level IV test. I am sure you got this, but if there is anything we can do to help, just holler! And prehaps after you do it, you could let us know what it like?

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

Reviewing the exam there is a bit more to it than previously.

I took my exams under the WE format. Now it looks like there are OSHA and CFR regulations in there to study in addition to the typical layout knowledge. I was a single element [cooling towers] away from Level IV years ago but took the FE exam instead. Both FE and NICET exams were on the same day but my school offered to pay for the FE so I went that route.

It looks like now you can schedule the exam any time with a testing center. That sounds nice. It used to be on Saturdays only and many had to get hotel rooms or wake up extra early to have enough drive time to arrive at the test site.

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

(OP)
I can't speak for the IV test, but I have taken I, II, IIIA, and IIIB on the computer, and they haven't been TOO bad. They had a lot of that stuff (OSHA, CFR, ETC.) listed, but almost everything on the test was in the referenced books (NFPA13, 13R, 13D, etc.) Now that I said that, your whole test will probably be OSHA stuff. Hard to say with NICET...lol.

The scheduling is pretty convenient. They let you know what days/times they have open, and you pick what you want. The Level IIIB test was 4 hours, and the only start times I was given as a choice were 8 am. With the IV test being almost 5 hours, I would think you would be looking at something similar.

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

(OP)
2 things of note on this thread:

1. NFPA has since changed the CWBSD to CWBSP. Instead of it being a "certified water based systems designer" it is now a "certified water based systems professional". Apparently there had been discussion on what constitutes a "designer". I would imagine this has to do with some kind of legalese speak, coming down to liability issues. Either way, it is the same program, and will be interesting to see what happens with it.

2. I scheduled my CWBSP test this morning for June 29th. I figured why not go for it, since my company was willing to pay for it. We shall see how it goes. I like to think it can't be near as hard as the Nicet Level III test, but nothing surprises me anymore.

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

The designer question is a tricky one from a code perspective and definition because the 'design team' typically includes the architects/engineers and not subcontractors. 'Designer' doesn't really mean anything legally but can cause confusion.

RE: CFPS and new CWBSD

I want to take it as well. It is my understanding that they will only allow hard copy reference books in the exam. I always buy the PDF version so I can keyword search and have access to on multiple devices. But, I think it will be about $500 or so to buy hard copies of the reference material to take in for the exam. When I first looked at it, all of the materials and exam fee was going to run about$1k. That seemed a bit excessive for a new certification that is pretty unknown what it will be at this time. I'm eager to hear what you think of it.

Travis Mack
MFP Design, LLC
www.mfpdesign.com

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