INSTALL (the International Standards & Training Alliance) held its first certifications review in December at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters’ International Training Center in Las Vegas. The event was a chance for industry experts, manufacturers, contractors and labor representatives to come together and look closely at INSTALL’s flooring certification for categories including resilient, carpet and hardwood. Additionally, INSTALL shared plans for expanding its certifications to include floor prep and ceramic & stone.

“What we have is a room full of experts, and a room full of talent,” John McGrath, INSTALL director, told the crowd during a cocktail reception and dinner following a day of reviewing the group’s resilient certification. “The sincerity here is palpable. Now we just need to channel that out to the industry.”

David Gross, INSTALL New Jersey, said INSTALL training is highly valued. “The training aspect of INSTALL is at the forefront of the industry. The certification lends credibility and prestige to anyone who has it.”

Jack Pilcher, an INSTALL instructor from Ontario, added, “Everyone in this room is from a different part of the country, but INSTALL’s goal is make one set of clearly defined standards to follow no matter where you are. There are no shortcuts; everything needs to be done to the manufacturer’s specs.”

Experts at the certification reviews were quick to share their opinions, a process that INSTALL encouraged. During the carpet certification review, questions and discussion quickly arose about the importance of proper floor preparation. McGrath told the room, “We are going to create a certification specifically for floor prep. We always have to have the commitment and be sensitive to floor prep issues; it is such an important installation craft.”

Discussion also centered around teaching installers to use tools such as seaming irons properly, the importance of projecting professionalism, and warning against using chemical adhesive removers that could cause an installation to fail.

Steve Gentry, Mohawk field services manager, was excited to be part of the discussion. “Being proactive is a lot better than waiting for claims to happen. We want to make sure that we as a carpet company provide our knowledge. The more training, the better.”

Ron Lee, executive director of Fuse Commercial Flooring Alliance, was impressed at the level of cooperation during the event. “Seldom do you see manufacturers, contractors and labor collaborating and working together in the same room.”

Larry Press, director of flooring for Helmitin Adhesives, said INSTALL offers some of the best training in the industry. “INSTALL offers the only true apprenticeship program. As far as education and training go, no one is doing anything like what they’re doing.”

For the third and final day of the review process, INSTALL looked at floor prep, ceramic and stone and hardwood certification reviews. McGrath said these reviews required “in-depth conversation and investigation into existing training and certifications within the industry. If they satisfy the needs of the industry we can adopt them as is. If we find there is room for improvement, we will alter them for improvement, and that’s what we will adopt.”

McGrath said this event is designed to help raise the standards of the industry. “There is such sincerity among the participants because this opportunity does not come by very often. Everyone wants to grasp it, take advantage of it and make something happen.”

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