A Carpet Installer's Notebook: Still Spouting Off
January 15, 2008
No, I haven’t gone anywhere or stopped writing. I have had a few people ask, “What happened? How come you didn’t have a column in the issue before last? Did you get in trouble?” Although it may be hard to believe for those of you who know me, sometimes I’m just at a loss for words. Or, I’m just too busy, lazy (take your pick) to put my thoughts on paper.
I talked before about the push for ANSI standards, and that there was to be the first meeting of the interested before Christmas 2007. Well, it doesn’t appear that will happen; which is not to say the issue is dead. There is funding allocated for the writing process, but the actual meeting has not begun yet or been scheduled. I will keep you posted as to how things are progressing. I am doing my best to weasel my way into the process. I figure that serving either as an installation tool manufacturer’s representative, an installer, installer and associate member of CFI, or as a member of the press should work. You would think I could sell them on at least one of those; well I guess we will see just how good a salesman I really am.
Let me clear up some misunderstanding about this whole ANSI process, created by us at FCI magazine. In my article “Profit is a Six Letter NOT a Four Letter Word,” it was stated the IICRC was going to be creating the standards. Not true; they are going to help with the proper wording and the writing of the ANSI standards after we, the carpet industry, come to agreement on what the ANSI standards should be. When I say we the carpet industry, I mean manufacturers, retailers, and installers, both union and non-union. These ANSI standards have to be agreed upon by all interested parties.
The article that was published was the first draft, before I had received the additional information that was in the final draft. There was a mix up, like Grandpa used to say, “A wee slip twix the cup and the lip.” Sorry for the misunderstanding; I will endeavor to be better in the future.
Once these ANSI standards have been established, they will be the mandatory installation rules for installing carpet, not a voluntary guideline like the current CRI 104 and 105. Don’t do it that way and you will be held responsible. “Whoa, wait a minute what about some of the crap the mills send out now? Stretch 1 to 1½ percent width and length (an inch in ten feet) for example. Some of this stuff is stiffer than a board and should come in 4-by-8 sheets!” I hear ya brother, and this will be part of those standards. You can’t have standards of installation if the product doesn’t allow you to follow them. This whole process will affect the entire industry. Installers will have to do a better job of installation, manufactures will have to do a better job of making installable carpet, and retailers will have to stop treating installers as indentured servants. Consumers will have to pay a fair price for quality installation.
I guarantee you there will be people there to look out for you, and the installer’s interest. The union will be involved. CFI will be involved. Let me pause for a minute. I know there are many out there who think CFI is just a way for Jim Walker to make money off the installer. I have served on the CFI board of directors for years, I have seen where the money goes, both in and out, and what money there is does not go into Jim’s pocket! I can assure you of that. I don’t care what you think of Jim Walker, and trust me we have had some lively discussions on differing points of view; he is a staunch advocate of installers and will be working in your best interest. Chris Davis, CEO of the WFCA, will also be involved, and talk about an installer’s advocate. I will do my best to be part of the process and keep you informed of the progress or lack of.
Just remember, none of it is perfect, never has been, never will be, contrary to what some people will tell you. I don’t think getting this industry together and agreeing upon standards is going to be easy; it will probably be more like herding cats. But it’s a start in the right direction and I am very encouraged.