Why Every Project Team Needs an RCDD
After a decade of working together, Pete Weber, a designer specializing in low-voltage solutions and Morrison-Maierle’s Buildings Market Group joined forces in April 2019. Furthering his capabilities and his career, Pete recently passed his Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD®) exam.
We asked Pete a few questions about his RCDD certification and how this might enhance future building projects.
Q: What is an RCDD?
Pete: RCDD stands for Registered Communications Distribution Designer. It is an internationally recognized certification that’s been around since 1984. Only about 7,500 people in the world have successfully passed the exam. There are about 10 of us in Montana alone.
This credential is awarded after successfully passing the RCDD exam and demonstrating knowledge in the design, integration and implementation of telecommunications and data communications technology systems and related infrastructures. I spent about 200 hours studying the Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual (TDMM), which the exam is based on. It’s just under 2,000 pages long. It took a lot of dedication to master the material.
Q: What other qualifications do you need to take the RCDD exam?
Pete: Since the RCDD is one of the highest design credentials in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, it also comes with a “years-in-service” requirement. An RCDD is required to have at least five years of ICT design experience or an equivalent combination of experience, approved education and industry certifications. Personally, I have worked in this field for 26 years and have spent the last 19 years in the architecture and engineering industry.
Q: Why is there a need for RCDD professionals?
Pete: On many building design projects, RCDD’s are required due to the complexity of the technology and cabling infrastructure. I’ve seen many cases where the design team lacks the knowledge and experience in many aspects of the ICT (information and communications technology) industry, and those requirements often get left out of the design. ICT covers the spectrum of voice, data, wireless, electronic safety and security, project management, data center, A/V technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.
As you can see, this is an extensive list. Many times plans for these services are an after-thought or left out of the plans entirely.
Q. Is an RCDD a critical element in the building-design process?
Pete: Definitely. And it works best if I can be involved throughout all phases of a project because RCDD’s follow current standards and best practices. For example, in the planning stage, RCDD’s create smart designs that evaluate the proper amount of space needed today and years to come, creating a system of pathways and spaces that can adapt as technologies change. Being involved in this stage, we can help minimize costly change orders saving the design and building teams both time and money.
Q: What role do you play mid-project and during project close-out?
Pete: Those of us with RCDD certifications manage the infrastructure installations and can help guide the design so that it is followed correctly so the result is a highly functional building. During project completion, we can sign off on the project, ensuring that the building is ready for current use and can be easily adapted as time goes on and technology needs change.