In pursuit of best practices through international collaboration

President’s Letter – September 2018

The NTCA Board of Directors has identified international outreach as one of its main strategic objectives. The goal is to establish dialogue and collaboration with other associations with shared interest in promoting and advancing the proper professional installation of tile and stone in the marketplace. NTCA seeks opportunities to learn and collaborate with other associations to build consensus within the industry where advantageous. 

In February 2016, a delegation of NTCA representatives attended Qualicer, the XIV World Congress on Tile Quality in Castellon, Spain. There it presented on how the NTCA has become a major force and contributor to the development of tile installation standards in the United States. In September of 2017 NTCA was represented at Cersaie Ceramic Trade Fair in Bologna, Italy, and met with delegations from 12 member countries of the EUF, European Federation of National Tilers Associations. During this meeting relationships were formed, and consensus was reached on a number of important topics. This month NTCA will participate again with the EUF at Cersaie with an agenda focused on learning and sharing the strengths of each country represented. 

Our interest is focused around the areas of recruitment and training of new workers and contributing to the development of International Installation Standards. 

We hope to learn how other countries recruit young workers into the trade and how they assess their skills to pair them with the appropriate training program. Some countries use technical colleges, vocational schools or trade associates to facilitate training and we want to gain insight into their best practices based on what has proven to be the most effective.

Others have various certification(s) that identify the skill and knowledge level of workers. We want to understand how these were developed and what impact they have on career development. A key element will be understanding the certifying process and the necessary preparation. 

Tile manufacturers participate on various levels in different countries. For example, in some areas manufacturers also provide installation of their products. In others, manufacturers work very closely with labor associations to provide support for the training process, including financial, facilities, materials, tools and instructors. What opportunities may exist here for NTCA to open new avenues of training with the help of manufacturers, and what might that look like?

Because the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not have any installation standards, we hope to learn how contractors and design professionals determine which methods are used on any given project. We hope to collaborate with our international partners working toward the development of installation standards within ISO.

Our goal is to pursue best practices and incorporate them into the NTCA’s efforts in the United States. I look forward to providing information on what is learned during this important exchange soon.

Keep on tiling!
Martin Howard
NTCA President
Committee Member ANSI A108
[email protected]

Martin Howard
NTCA President, Executive Vice President of David Allen Company at |

Martin Howard is the 2017 - 2018 president of NTCA and the Executive Vice President of David Allen Company and is an owner of the company.

Martin oversees the Tile, Stone and Pre-Construction Divisions, including all branch operations. He has more than 36 years’ experience in the construction industry including 12 years in general contracting and 24 years in David Allen Company, where he has had management responsibilities in every area of the company’s tile and marble operation.