In one of three roundtable discussions held during the FCICA Convention 2002, "Excellence in Education" in Washington, D.C., March 20-23, attendees discussed "Flooring Specifications - How to Change What's Written." Facilitated by Paula Murdoch of M E Sabosik Associates Inc., the participants stated that in order to facilitate an accurate bid, the specifications must be clear, current, and concise. It they are too vague, the lowest bidder will be the company that makes the most mistakes and, as everyone knows, that is not profitable!

The discussion revolved around two aspects. First, the need to educate and clarify poorly written specifications was discussed. The solution decided on was:

  • Get the manufacturer to contact the architect about the current specification needed.
  • If the specification is too vague, ask for more precise details on the items requested. Make sure there is consistency throughout. Make sure the spec is written about a currently available product.
  • Go to other specifications that relate to the product. (Example: the concrete section)
  • Have a clarification about the subfloor requirements. Do they require smooth or level on the subfloor preparation? This is not the same.
  • Note the location of installation and the compatibility for each product on the specific grade level.
  • Make sure you document who made the changes.

    The second key focus was on the difference between a "generic" and a "proprietary" specification. For a generic specification, awareness is key. If the specification is incorrect, first make sure everyone is alerted, then go through the proper channels to correct it. To change proprietary specifications, performance is the key. The participants discussed the benefits of having another manufacturer representative approach the architect or designer with an approved equivalent. Teamwork is essential.

    In conclusion the roundtable participants suggested that flooring contractors read the specifications prior to bidding a job, that they help to educate those around them and that they be proactive. For more information regarding this topic or information about FCICA, please call the office at 877-TO-FCICA or email us at