The June 2000 issue of National Floor Trends magazine, FCI’s sister publication, took a hard-nosed position in a column in which I asked why flooring installers, contractors and dealers were still being held responsible/accountable for moisture-emission testing in concrete and the satisfactory installation of floor coverings over such subfloors.
There's a mile-long list of horror stories about floor covering professionals held liable for non-performance, often in extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Compounding the complexity of the situation are technological advancements in concrete formulations, as well as new "fast track" construction techniques.
That column proved to be the catalyst for the formation of an Ad Hoc Industry Task Force of professionals, representing all segments of the industry, to determine the best course of action to rectify this serious problem. Chaired by Gary Wasmund, immediate past chairman of the World Floor Covering Association, it met in August 2000. It is important to recognize that the Task Force did not dispute the necessity of testing, nor did it specifically address modifying the existing testing protocol, but it did agree that it was appropriate that someone competent to perform the testing be assigned the responsibility.
The result was the issuance of an industry White Paper, "Position Statement on Moisture Emission Testing." It was submitted to industry associations and organizations for review and endorsement. The response has been overwhelming. The possibility of creating a long-overdue change is very real.
As of July 31, "Position Statement on Moisture Emission Testing" has been endorsed by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), the Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA), the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI), the Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA), the International Society of Cleaning Technicians (ISCT), the National Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), the StarNet Commercial Flooring Cooperative and the WFCA. Those of us on the committee are elated by the response to date.
Where do we go from here? Wasmund says, with justifiable pride, "We now have virtually the entire floor covering industry unanimously proposing a common sense approach to a problem that has plagued our industry for years. Our task, now that the industry is of one voice on this issue, is to take our case to general contractors, building owners, architects and specification writers and convince them it is in their best interest that this testing be performed by qualified independent agencies."
This recommendation, if adopted, will require that architects move such testing away from division 9 of construction specifications and place them with other construction related test requirements.
The complete text of the draft "Position Statement on Moisture Emission Testing" along with its accompanying draft "Moisture Emission Testing - Responsibility and Qualifications for Testing" is available by contacting the WFCA at 2211 East Howell Ave., Anaheim, CA 92806. The WFCA may be faxed at (714) 978-6066.