Have you ever desired to become a Certified Building Plans Examiner?
Whatever the reason may be, your first step is to know a little bit about the exam itself and what you should be studying for.
The B3 Building Plans Examiner Certification Exam administered by the International Code Council (ICC) tests an individuals knowledge of the International Building Code (IBC).
As a Certified Building Plans Examiner you are responsible for performing plan review of structures to determine compliance with the International Building Code and Standards.
This level of certification allows the Plans Examiner to review plans and construction documents for any size of structure in any occupancy classification.
If you already know about the Building Plans Examiner certification exam and are looking to test your knowledge of how well you know the code, then scroll down to the bottom of this page to check out our Practice Exam for the (B3) Building Plans Examiner Certification Exam. Our Practice Exams are offered on the Udemy platform. If you click on the link below, you will be directed to our Udemy Course Landing Page.
Building Plans Examiner – Exam Specifications
The exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions. You have a time limit of 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete the exam and it is open book meaning you can only use the code book referenced by ICC. For this exam it is the International Building Code (IBC).
The code edition of the reference used should reflect the code edition of the exam you are taking. For example if you plan to take the 2015 version of the exam, you should use the 2015 International Building Code. No work experience is required to take the exam and you must be at least 18 years of age.
The International Code Council (ICC) allows you to take the exam via CBT (Computer-Based Training) or through PRONTO (depending on what exam edition you take). If you take the 2015 version of the exam, you have both options available to you. If you take the 2018 version of the exam, you are only allowed to use the PRONTO system.
PRONTO is a new way of taking your testing exam from the comfort of your home or office. PRONTO stands for Proctored Remote Online Testing Option. For more information about the PRONTO online testing option, click here.
So what does the B3 Building Plans Examiner exam cover?
The following exam content outline can act as a study guide to help you study for the exam and to gain an understanding of what the exam will cover. The exam covers 7 main areas:
|(1) General Administration||5%|
Verify that plans, specifications, and other project information is provided and is complete. Verify that the project is designed by approved persons when required, and has required approvals. Verify that design calculations are submitted in support of structural designs. Verify that alternative materials and methods of construction which are not specified by the building code are listed by an approved standard and approved by the building official. Verify that estimated project valuations are consistent with industry norms.
Public Information and Legal
For new and existing structures, answer questions about the need for permits and inspections including special inspections and structural observations, general code compliance of designs, procedures, and materials.
|(2) Building Planning||21%|
Verify from the site plan that the building or structure location is in compliance with the requirements of the local ordinances, fire separation regulations, fire access, and setbacks. Verifies that final grade will provide the required slope away from the footing or foundation wall. Verify finish floor elevation in flood-hazard areas for compliance with local and federal requirements.
Verify that allowable height and area increases are based on the open perimeter, and compliance of access to the open space. Verify compliance of allowable area modifications for automatic fire suppression and special occupancies.
Use and Occupancy Classification
Verify that use and occupancy classification, incidental use areas, accessory uses, and mixed occupancies are correct.
Special Detailed Requirements Based on Use and Occupancy
Verify that special use and occupancy classification is correct. Verify compliance of special provisions for atriums, covered mall buildings, high-rise buildings, hazardous occupancies, stages, amusement buildings, and other occupancies or uses.
Type of Construction
Verify that the type of construction is correct for the type of occupancy. Verify that structural members, interior walls, floor/ceiling and roof/ceiling assemblies, roofs, and stairways conform to type of construction requirements.
Height and Area Design
Verify the actual height and floor area designs are within the allowable height and floor area limits.
Exterior Walls and Openings
Verify exterior walls, openings, parapets, and projections conform to the fire-resistive requirements for the type of construction, location on the site, and proximity to other buildings.
Verifies compliance of minimum room dimensions and openings. Verify compliance of lighting, ventilation, exhaust, and minimum sanitation systems.
Safeguards During Construction
Assures that the precautions are taken for the safety at the construction site are specified in the construction documents.
Verify accessibility of facilities and building elements to physically disabled persons comply with minimum code requirements.
Verify that materials specifications comply with minimum code requirements and listing.
|(3) Footings and Foundations||8%|
Footing and Foundations
Verify that necessary reports are submitted of the building site’s soil capacity and stability when required. Verify that footings are specified with correct size and setbacks and extend below the frost line. Verify that footing and foundation reinforcement meets minimum requirements.
Stepped Footings and Special Foundations
Verify that stepped footings, piles, piers, and special foundations are correctly specified. Verify that wood members are protected against insects and decay.
Verify that foundation stem walls are correctly sized and have sufficient height above grade. Verify that foundation wall reinforcement, anchor bolts, and fasteners are correct type, size, spacing, and grade. Verify that foundation dampproofing and waterproofing is specified where required. Verify maximum unbalanced fill height.
|(4) Floor Construction||4%|
Verify that floor system spans, bearing, and connections comply with minimum code requirements. Verify that materials are protected against insects and decay where required. Verify that subflooring and decking has required thickness, span, and grade and meets installation specifications. Verify compliance of floor design. Verify that crawlspaces have required clearance, ventilation, insulation, screening, and access openings.
Concrete Slabs and Floor Systems
Verify that concrete slabs and floor systems are designed in compliance with standards and material characteristics for specified exposure conditions.
|(5) Wall Construction and Coverings||12%|
Wood Wall Systems
Verify compliance of wall systems for proper spans, spacing, bearing, and connections. Verify that pre-engineered wall systems are specified in accordance with their listing and manufacturer’s specifications. Verify that wood members are protected against insects and decay where required.
Steel Framing Systems
Verify steel wall system spans, spacing, bearing, and connections. Verify that pre-engineered steel wall systems are in accordance with their listing and manufacturer’s specifications.
Masonry Wall Systems
Verify compliance of masonry grouting, bonding, mortar type, height, size, lintels, reinforcement, and distance between lateral supports for masonry walls.
Concrete Wall Systems
Verify compliance of height, size, attachments, bracing, and distance between lateral supports, and reinforcement for concrete wall systems.
Exterior Wall Coverings
Verify that exterior veneers and siding have correct anchorage, support, and backing. Verify that a weather-resistant barrier is correctly specified for all walls and around all wall openings. Verify that exterior sheathing materials are correctly sized and specified. Verify that plaster, stucco, and metal lath have correct thickness and fasteners.
Interior Wall Coverings
Verify that wall and ceiling coverings are correct type and thickness, are correctly supported and fastened, and meet minimum sanitation requirements.
|(6) Roof/Ceiling Construction||4%|
Verify compliance of roof/ceiling construction for span, grade, type, connections, and bearing. Verify that trusses are designed in accordance with code requirements and specified in accordance with their listing and manufacturer’s specifications. Verify compliance of roof access and roof top structures. Verify that roof/ceiling insulation is of allowable materials, and is correctly specified. Verify that vapor and moisture barriers are correctly specified. Verify ventilation, screens, and access of attic and ceiling area construction.
Verify correct classification of roof coverings, roof slope, installation, flashings, and details, and method of roof drainage.
|(7) Public Safety and Special Construction||46%|
Means of Egress
Verify general means of egress requirements, exit access, exits, and exit discharge. Verify compliance of public way, public use areas, and the use of public property. Verify emergency escape and rescue requirements.
Number, Width, and Arrangements of Exits
Verify that the occupancy load calculations are correct. Verify that the correct number of exits and required egress width are provided. Verify that arrangement of exits conform to requirements for separation, travel distances, and intervening rooms. Verify compliance of corridor arrangement and dead ends.
Exit Stairways and Ramps
Verify that stairways and ramps have correct width, rise, run, slope, landings, headroom, and height. Verify correct escape illumination, signage, handrails, guards, and other requirements.
Exit Doors and Egress Windows
Verify that exit doors have the correct direction of swing, size, and type of hardware. Verify that windows intended for use as emergency egress have correct clear opening areas, width, and heights.
Verify that corridors, exit passageways, stairway enclosures, horizontal exits, exit balconies, and exit courts are provided where required and have the correct fire protection.
Verify correct number and width of aisles and correct seat spacing. Verify requirements for grandstands, bleachers, and specific occupancies and uses.
Fire Alarm and Extinguishing Systems
Determine when fire alarm, sprinkler, and standpipe systems are required; verify compliance of fire suppression systems.
Area and Occupancy Separations
Verify that area separation and occupancy separation walls and floor/ceiling assemblies are located where required and have correct fire-resistance.
Verify that the materials used for structural members, walls, floor/ceiling, and roof/ceiling assemblies and shaft enclosures comply with requirements for fire-resistive protection. Verify that fire resistance rated construction and location is in compliance with the code and tested assembly requirements.
Heat and Smoke
Verify that heat, smoke detection, smoke barriers, and control systems are provided where required, and are correctly powered and listed. Verify that curtain boards and smoke and heat vents are correctly specified.
Verify that interior finishes meet required flame-spread and smoke developed classifications based on location, use and occupancy classifications, and are correctly supported.
Verify that safety glazing is specified where required.
Opening Protectives, Penetrations, and Joint Systems
Verify compliance of opening protectives, penetrations, and joint systems in fire rated assemblies. Verify that fire blocking and draft stopping is specified where required.
Verify that exterior stairs, ramps, porches, decks, and balconies which are open to the weather support designed loads; are of suitable materials; and have required slope and width, tread, riser, headroom, guards, and handrail dimensions.
Building Services and Special Construction
Verify compliance of existing structures, membrane structures, temporary structures, pedestrian walkways, tunnels, awnings and canopies, marquees, signs, towers, antennas, elevators, and conveyance systems. Verify seismic restraint, high-wind, and snow-load design requirements. Verify that elevator lobbies, cars, and hoistways are correctly specified. Verify that elevator shafts are properly vented.
Fireplaces and Chimneys
Verify that fireplaces, flues, and chimneys are correctly designed and have required clearances from combustible construction.
What do you get when you pass the exam?
Bragging rights! Well actually you will receive a pass letter the same day right after your exam. You will have a certification number assigned to you so that if someone were to search for a certified professional within the ICC website, your name will come up! In addition to being a Certified Building Plans Examiner (Yayyy!) you will receive a wall certification that looks like this…
Need Practice? Why not try our (B3) Building Plans Examiner Practice Exam?
Want to test your knowledge of how well you know the code? Or maybe just get a feel for the exam?
Try out our Practice Exam for the B3 Building Plans Examiner Certification Exam!
This practice exam is designed for those who are looking to take the 2015 version B3 Building Plans Examiner Certification Exam through the International Code Council (ICC). These practice exams are intended to help you prepare for the actual exam by helping you navigate through the code book to familiarize yourself with the specific code sections. They will test your knowledge on the exam content areas covered to improve your chances of passing the certification exam.
This is a great way to prepare yourself for the actual exam administered by ICC. Every building code professional knows that the key to passing the ICC exams is to do practice problems. Don’t just take the exam purely on experience alone. Let this resource get you focused on realistic problems built around the exam content being covered.