The 2002 Carpet and Rug Institute Publication 105 "Residential Installation Standard" has arrived and is waiting for you. And guess what? It's free of charge. That's right. There is no longer a charge to own 105, a document that takes steps to improve our industry.

Consider the effect this will have on computer-savvy consumers; they can go online and learn, at no cost to them, what to expect from quality installation services.

The CRI continues to refine its role in the industry, and changes in the 105 are leading the way. The 105 has long been misperceived as being an industry guideline and "how-to" directive. That should no longer be the case; the 2002 version has the same familiar format, but with better clarity, direction and a refreshing lack of redundancies. The new version takes a more common-sense approach; after all, it is intended for professionals. Gone are the demeaning statements about installers asking permission to use the bathroom, the phone or tobacco. Professional installation technicians always respect their customers.

Specific responsibilities for installers and dealers or retailers have always been included. New to the section are categories for manufacturers, consumers and builders and general contractors. While the burden is far from heavy for these new groups, it is good that their accountability is now referenced, as they are usually sitting at the table pointing fingers when there is a failure.

The single biggest change affects the builder and general contractor and the consumer by putting the responsibility for moisture and pH testing directly on them. Testing is not within the scope of responsibility of the carpet supply or installation communities. Watch your bid documents in this category! They may not reflect this change in testing responsibility.

Remember, though, that the testing results provided cannot be ignored; we can still only install within accepted industry parameters.

Another addition to 105 calls for the parties that build or pour the substrate to be responsible for any deficiencies, shifting the accountability onto the shoulders of the builder or general contractor. They are really the ones who accept the specified surface; now they must stand by it.

The Portland-versus-gypsum cement debate has been avoided. The 105 still makes no claims that seams will be invisible. It also maintains that baseboard scratching may be unavoidable when tucking. There is even a warning about abuse to the carpet by other trades on the site if the carpet is installed prematurely; using plastic sheeting for protection is still not recommended.

The only subject I wanted to find that I was unable to locate was a reference to the use of tack strip on stretch-in stairs, though this may be simply a part of the 105's common-sense attitude. I suggest you download your own copy of the 2002 CRI 105 at www.carpet-rug.com and see for yourself.

What's my personal opinion of the revised CRI 105? It just feels better.