Editor’s Letter – July 2017

“Without labor, nothing prospers.” – Sophocles
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance, and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday, June 8, I happened to see a clip of Ivanka Trump on Fox & Friends in which she discussed the upcoming trip she, her father and labor Secretary Alexander Acosta will make today to Wisconsin to address the skills gap and workforce training. The plan is to tour Waukesha County Technical College with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to discuss these issues, and the value of apprenticeship programs.

Although the White House has proposed cuts in overall job training programs, and no actual proposals for work-force training have been announced at this writing, clearly shining a light on the importance of skills training to bridge the gap between available jobs and people qualified to fill them – and to provide a viable career path alternative other than a four-year college – is a good thing.

Reserving the right to not be political in this column but to simply draw attention to efforts being made that may benefit our trade, let me just say that I hope this attention will stimulate a groundswell of enthusiasm towards establishing apprenticeship and skills training programs again in this country. I’m proud of the apprenticeship program NTCA is offering through the hard work of Becky Serbin, Dan Welch, Dave Rogers and others and others, and promise of additional training opportunities that will roll out later this year.

By the time you receive this issue of TileLetter, this may be old news on the national front or proposals may have already been made. But in our industry it’s front and center news every day.

On May 28, on the Tile Geeks Facebook page, Phil Green posed a question about people who are concerned that trades are not attracting new blood. He said a friend recently asked, “Why don’t you look into being a partner with [this] organization and mentor a couple of kids that MIGHT have an interest in the trades?”

Green got varying responses to his post. There were the true but predictable responses that shop and trade training has been eliminated from high schools over the years. Some posters indicated upcoming high school programs being formed that earn students credits for working in the field with local contractors, or programs that have attempted this with either high-school students, veterans and ex-convicts that have been tabled due to budget cuts. Some posters shared that they have spoken at classes at their vo-tech schools or churches. David Rothberg of LATICRETE noted that the company holds a masonry/tile trade day at its Connecticut facility for local state trade school students with hands-on demos and information on available opportunities, and offered its help to support such an effort.

And Ken Ballin, of Skyro Floors in Tuckerton, N.J., got fired up and suggested, “I’ve already sent a message to a teacher friend of mine about putting a ‘tradesman (and women) night’ together and it will go to administration this week. I encourage all to do the same. Let’s brainstorm and get some ideas together. Let’s stop complaining about what’s happened in the schools and do something. There’s no time like the present and there’s no better reason to do something for our kids.”

Let’s think about it. And do something about it. Is there an opportunity at a technical school, high school, community center, church, synagogue, mosque or spiritual center to organize or participate in a career night for trades people and technical workers to come together to expose kids making decisions about their future to the possibility that a trade might be the ticket to a lucrative, fulfilling future for them; something that would never be in danger of being outsourced or automated?

Everyone is busy; everyone is tired at the end of the day. But hopefully, you have some enjoyment and pride in the work you do, and would like to see our trade continue. I’d love to hear the ideas you come up with and actions you are taking to promote our trade and ensure there is a new generation of skilled craftspeople to carry it forward into the future. Write to me at the email below!

God bless,

Lesley

[email protected]

President’s Letter – July 2017

Developing an attractive career path in the tile trade

This month, we follow up on last month’s President Letter discussing how we become “Best in Class” contractors, and how one of the centerpieces is being skilled and trained craftspeople. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room; there is a serious shortage of young, talented workers entering the construction field as a career choice.

In last month’s Editor’s Letter, we learned that in the 2016 U.S. market, the public consumed approximately 2.8 billion sq. ft. of ceramic tile. Based on some quick number crunching and lots of assumptions, between 70,000 and 80,000 full-time tile mechanics would be required to install that volume of tile. This does not include installing any stone finishes. Even though the NTCA has approximately 1,400 members and CTEF has certified approximately 1,300 Certified Tile Installers nationwide, added together, it’s all a proverbial “drop in the bucket!”

This doesn’t mean that most – or many – installers not belonging to one of these groups are unqualified; it does mean that we need to work hard to draw them in to a program of continuing education and training along with potential certification. Based on the number and scope of failures that exist in our trade, it’s safe to say that a sizable number of those installing tile have neither been properly trained nor are seeking further professional development.

I was talking with a general contractor recently about this issue, and we began to think about all the impediments that keep non-college aspiring young people from taking a serious look at the construction field as a career choice. We came up with several that might be worth our attention. On average, there are few organized training programs regionally or nationally on the high school/vocational school level that allow students to learn and earn a diploma or work at the same time. The only exceptions we could identify quickly were the electrical and mechanical trades, which also require certifications – and in some cases, licensing – to climb the career ladder. Add to that, the often-poor working conditions on project sites such as limited elevators or buck hoists, non-air-conditioned work areas, and disorganized work spaces with numerous other trades often working in the same rooms. I’m sure there are many more you can think of, but probably one of the most important is the low earning potential of many workers during the training process and potentially even beyond.

We need to start the dialog about how we as an industry can develop an attractive career path, including training that will show entrants what they must achieve to earn their desired income. At the same time, we need to attempt to minimize some of the other negatives of the modern construction environment. As a finish trade with highly artistic components, I believe we have an advantage over some other trades because our work is always on display.

Dan Welch and Becky Serbin – along with the Education and Training Committee – are working hard to put together the complete apprenticeship program, which will include a career path and earning scale. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I invite you to do so. This is only one piece of a comprehensive plan we must develop or eventually we will all suffer the consequences.

I welcome your comments and ideas about how to move forward and I ask for your involvement and participation in the solution.

Keep on tiling!

Martin Howard, NTCA president

Committee member, ANSI A108

[email protected]

ON THE COVER – Merkrete Systems – July 2017 Feature

Merkrete System ensures style and longevity in the lap of luxury

Photos courtesy of Bill Caldwell of Caldwell Images. www.caldwellimages.com

In a project where luxurious sophistication is the name of the game, each and every detail, no matter how large or small, makes all the difference in the final presentation. The Sagamore Pendry Baltimore – of premier hospitality brand Pendry Hotels – is the newest hot spot for luxury travel and indulgence in Baltimore’s historic yet newly renovated Fell’s Point neighborhood. Developed in collaboration between Montage International and Sagamore Development Company, the hotel boasts 128 luxury guestrooms and suites and several glamorous restaurants, lounges and bars. From the American Industrial Age-themed murals and décor, to the Grand Ballroom with sky-high ceilings, to the visionary choice and placement of stone tiles throughout the building, each unique detail of the Pendry Baltimore denotes and delivers a story and vision.

Flair and functionality come together

The impressive interior style combines sophisticated, inspired design reminiscent of the city’s rich industrial heritage with a modern, edgy perspective; juxtaposing rich, warm wood with eye-catching, cool stone furnishings throughout and complemented by unique American accent pieces. Designed by architect and Baltimore’s own Patrick Sutton, the Pendry Baltimore sets the standard for the melding of both new and vintage styles. The stone installations throughout the building perfectly match this high-class, world traveler aesthetic, as each piece was masterfully chosen and strategically placed for an extra touch of glamour and ensured functionality.

When NTCA Five Star Contractor Profast Commercial Flooring was approached by Whiting-Turner General Contractors to supply the cost-efficient, high-performing materials they wanted from around the world, Profast president Kevin Killian knew they’d need a trusted and top-quality waterproofing system to ensure a job well done. Upon reviewing the scope of the project, all answers pointed definitively to Merkrete, the leader in waterproofing, crack-isolation and underlayment technology. The expertly chosen stone tiles grace the hotel’s grand lobby floors, every guest bathroom on the shower walls, shower floors, shower curbs, stone base, stone flooring and stone backsplash, along with the restaurant and bar floors, interior and exterior fireplaces and public bathrooms. To prevent any potential moisture issues in such highly utilized areas, Merkrete’s trusted system won them the contract. 

A versatile solution seals the deal

When it comes to the critical waterproofing under tile in the stone-clad bathrooms, guest and public, Merkrete’s BFP waterproofing membrane system was the only solution. Durable and long lasting, this membrane system is designed for heavy-duty applications, promising zero leaks or cracks, even with severe exposure and high amounts of traffic.

Because of the size of the showers in the guest bathrooms, Killian needed a versatile product that could address several specific needs at the same time: a pre-mixed product that could be used to form the shower pans while also repairing imperfections in the floors. Merkrete’s sales representative on the job, Chris Zampella, said, “I immediately knew that Merkrete’s Underlay C was the perfect product for these requirements. Its versatility allows you to build up to 3” and spread to almost a feather edge (1/8”). You don’t usually get that in a single product.”

Merkrete proved the perfect match for a specific challenge, again considering the strength of the mortar it called for. “We used very large stone panels, which require a mortar with a super high bondability that can handle the weight of the panels,” said Killian. Merkrete 855 XXL is a one-step, polymer-modified setting adhesive for installing extra-large-format porcelain, ceramic tile and natural stone for both floors and walls, and can be used as thin- or medium-bed setting adhesive for stone. Merkrete proved it could hold its weight.

In addition to the waterproofing membrane system the hotel required, Merkrete was the trusted source yet again in providing high-performance, sustainable grout in the lobby and bar floors. “Merkrete’s ProGrout is a fast-setting, polymer-modified, color-consistent and efflorescence-free high performance grout that exceeds ANSI A118.7 for all types of ceramic and dimensional stone tiles on walls and floors,” said Zampella. “It works for grout joint widths of 1/16” up to 1/2” wide, eliminating the need for different grout products and allowing Kevin the versatility he required.”

Part of the challenge in this project involved the fast-track timeline. Installation began in June 2016 and was completed by November 2016. It was critical that Killian chose a company that would be able to get the products delivered and the job completed on time. Merkrete is a member of ParexGroup, one of the largest companies and a worldwide leader in tile setting materials, façade finishes and technical mortars, established in 22 countries with 68 manufacturing plants and over 4,100 employees. “Merkrete was perfect for this project’s requirements, because we have plants and distribution centers all over the country, so our turnaround time and ability to get our products there quickly were no problem,” says Zampella.

With the Pendry Baltimore having just recently celebrated its grand opening, the guests have flooded in to experience the fine culinary offerings while embracing the idyllic harbor setting and incredible architecture. In the years to come, more renovations may take place, but thanks to Merkrete, you can be sure the stone tiles will be standing strong.

 

Photos courtesy of Bill Caldwell of Caldwell Images. www.caldwellimages.com

PRODUCT SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: LATICRETEⓇ TRI-LITE™

LATICRETE TRI-LITE is a lightweight, high performance tri-purpose mortar designed for large and heavy tile, thin-bed and wall installations. Due to its lightweight formula and smooth, creamy consistency, a 30 lb bag provides the same coverage as a 50 lb bag of traditional mortar.

LATICRETE TRI-LITE can bond to many suitable substrates including concrete, steel and cement plaster. Its incredible non-sag performance is able to support very large and heavy tile with ease.

LATICRETE TRI-LITE can be used for common applications such as countertops, ceilings and bathtub walls. For more information,
visit www.laticrete.com.

Coverings Industry Ambassador – TRENDS 2017

Welcome to the show!

By Alena Capra, CKD, CBD

This year, Coverings makes its return to Orlando…and April is the perfect time of year to be visiting the Sunshine State.

This Coverings, I’m excited to see all that’s in store – I’m looking forward to checking out the exhibitors’ newest products, and sharing the tile trends with my fellow design and tile industry friends. Where else can you tour miles of tile on a show floor but Coverings?! I’ve packed my comfortable shoes, and I’m excited to take on the show floor.

In addition to all of the beautiful tile and products to see, this year there are a few more fun things in store to explore while you’re at the Orange County Convention Center. The Installation and Design Showcase is back, but with a fun new twist! This year, it will be the “Tiny House Edition.” Keeping in line with the tiny house trend, this year, three top designers, and three NTCA Five Star Contractors will partner to design and build these tiny houses live at the show! Each will have a different theme, with unique and beautiful tile, donated from several different manufacturers.

Among the notable things to discover while at the show is the NASCAR experience, also new this year! See what it’s like to drive on a NASCAR track with this simulator. There’s also an opportunity to win some pretty exciting prizes!

In between all the fun events, live demonstrations, and products to see, don’t forget to sign up for some of the free CEU sessions; there are many great topics on deck this year.

Looking forward to seeing you all again this year, for another exciting Coverings show!

– Alena

President’s Letter – TRENDS 2017

Keeping up with standards

We are fortunate to be part of a dynamic and innovative industry, where change is normal with new products, methods and trends in design and installation. Here at David Allen Company, we have just completed several projects with 40 to 60 different tile types and numerous different color combinations. I don’t know of another finish trade that is so diverse and complex: gauged porcelain tile/panels in sizes up to 5’ x 10’ have been around long enough that most of us have some experience working with them. There has been a resurgence of handmade and extruded tiles with concave, convex and three-dimensional faces, just to name a few.

If you were at TISE West in January, you had the opportunity to see many new tile designs. While these tiles create beautiful projects and sometimes works of art when they are complete, they demand the highest levels of installation skills and management ability. Continuous training to keep crews updated on the specific installation requirements of 60 different products on a single project is challenging. It’s times like this that a good working knowledge of industry standards and recommendations is essential. On more than one occasion recently after installing handmade tiles, the project architect rejected portions of our installation quoting the TCNA Handbook tolerances. Knowing that the TCNA Handbook standards only apply to tiles manufactured and tested to comply with ANSI A137.1 was the key to helping educate the architect that not all tiles can be judged by the same standard and installation tolerances. Following are excerpts from the TCNA Handbook that specify where standards can be applied.

Ceramic Tile Types

“Ceramic tile suitable for TCNA Handbook installation methods are those that meet the specifications outlined in ANSI A137.1 American National Standard Specifications for Ceramic Tile. ANSI A137.1 contains performance and aesthetic criteria for the five major types of ceramic tiles: porcelain, pressed floor, mosaic, quarry and glazed wall tiles.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.2

Specialty Tile

“Specialty tiles are designed to meet special physical requirements or to have special appearances characteristics. They are not required to meet all requirements of ANSI A137.1. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications. They are sometimes manufactured to create an architectural effect toward the casual [sic].These tiles vary in size, one tile from the other. Variations in plane may be expected. Larger tiles will usually require greater variation in joint width. For each specialty tile being chosen, review installation guidelines supplied by manufacturer/distributor of specialty tiles and/or adhesive manufacturer. Specialty tiles include, but are not limited to, tiles made from nonceramic materials.” – 2016 TCNA Handbook, pg.5

Keeping up with industry standards can keep you from replacing acceptable workmanship unnecessarily. If you are unsure if the tile you have been contracted to install meets ANSI A137.1 contact the manufacturer and request a Master Grade Certificate. If they can’t provide one or state that their product is not manufactured to meet this standard, you have the answer needed. This will allow you to educate your client and establish reasonable expectations for the installation.

Education is key to working more professionally and profitably. Keep on tiling!

––––––––––

Martin Howard, President NTCA
Committee Member, ANSI A108
[email protected]

Editor’s Letter – TRENDS 2017

Here we are, in the midst of a long-anticipated spring. Weather is warming, blades of grass are poking out of barren ground and COLOR is everywhere.

That’s fitting since in this issue, we are having a veritable spring explosion of color – and style. Take a look at Shelley Halbert’s story for a bloom of fresh new colors that will be influential, inspiring and blossoming forth from everything from fashion to home decor. And in fact, the Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 is GREENERY – a life-affirming color of hope, and fresh new starts.

There’s a burst of new color and design from around the globe as well – see the stories from Tile of Spain, Ceramics of Italy and Turkish Ceramics to sample the international menu of important trends that will inform our industry. And just how are tiles incorporated into residential and commercial design? Explore the A&D Q&A to see how interior designers Lisa Mende and Patricia Gaylor create magical settings through the use of tile.

Kent Klaser speaks with us about budding stone trends and directions, and suppliers of stone and tile share with us what’s selling in their necks of the woods and identify up-and-coming trends.

Peruse our product section for an overview of color, aesthetics and formats in tile and stone this year. We also include a setting materials section because a sound foundation, complemented by the proper accessories, treatments and tools, helps ensure the beautiful finishing materials look and perform splendidly for decades.

And I would be remiss to not mention a big event for NTCA – this year marks this association’s 70th Anniversary. A festive celebration is planned Thursday night, April 6, at Coverings to commemorate NTCA’s perennial influence in supporting the trade, advancing the use of tile, and partnering with other sectors of our industry in creative ways to raise tile’s visibility as a beautiful and enduring surfacing material – and to ensure that installations perform beautifully for years to come.

There is so much beauty, drama and style coming into flower this year in tile and stone – and TRENDS is just the beginning. Enjoy the issue and see these trends come to life on the Coverings show floor in Orlando April 4-7, 2017.

God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Editor’s Letter – February 2017

Lesley Goddin, Editor

“This is the power of gathering: it inspires us, delightfully, to be more hopeful, more joyful, more thoughtful: in a word, more alive.”
– Alice Waters

I just returned home from Surfaces a.k.a The International Surface Event (TISE) West in Las Vegas. You’ll read more about the show in our March issue, since in the wonderful world of magazine publishing, the February issue is already designed and ready to be produced except for this letter. But here’s a little taste of what took place at the show.

What I noticed is a LOT of people – crowds seemed fuller from day one through the end this year. People were excited – about the products, about the conferences, about what they could find to enhance their businesses and take them to a higher level. For instance, there were standing-room-only crowds at presentations by NTCA presenters Mark Heinlein and Robb Roderick conducted at the installation stage.

This crush of people was echoed at the NTCA booth, where State Ambassadors, members and curious showgoers clustered to talk about tile, education, business and membership, and where member volunteers like Chris Dalene of Five Star Contractor Dalene Flooring, and staffers like Amber Fox, newly hired Five Star Contractor Program Director, signed up seven new members. 

Also percolating at the show was Certified Tile Installer testing, with nine installers taking a timed test to lay tile on the CTI modules.

The effort was supported by several of the new Regional Evaluators, which will allow more frequent CTI tests to take place with smaller class sizes across the country. Twelve new Regional Evaluators are on the job, led by Kevin Insalato of California Flooring. In the testing area were also workshops and testing conducted by other industry sectors like carpet and vinyl.

For NTCA, the whole show kicked off with an executive committee meeting, followed by a well-attended Training & Education Committee gathering, led by Training & Education Committee chair Dave Rogers of Welch Tile and Marble.

NTCA Training & Education Committee chairperson Dave Rogers (l.) with NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson.

That first evening, NTCA held a reception and dinner in appreciation of its members and State Ambassadors with an address by NTCA president Martin Howard, presentation by Eric Astrachan of TCNA and a video on the history of NTCA and its accomplishments in the last 15 years.

David Allen Company’s Martin Howard, NTCA president, addressed the State Ambassador and Member Appreciation Dinner.

Wish you had been there? Stay tuned to our March issue for more details on the show. For now, enjoy all the information in this issue, from the Bostik’s cover story on the stunning mosaic installation in a Utah lodge to LATICRETE’s Sean Boyle’s economic update, to an exploration of the confounding problem of discoloration of natural stone used in shower installations, to the list of installation track seminars at the Coverings show, coming to Orlando in April. We also have a bonus story on measuring wet film thickness from MAPEI, and voices from the field in our new Hot Topics section, focused this month on grout.

The new year is building momentum. Let’s make it a good one!

Be well, and God bless,
Lesley
[email protected]

Bostik Inc. – February 2017 Feature

To many, Snowbird, Utah is known as a multi-facility resort community. 150 years ago, it was known for its adjacent silver mines, but the shining draw today is top-shelf winter powder skiing and snowboarding.

One major magnet, The Cliff Lodge and Spa, not only enjoys an outstanding Snowbird location near loads of Utah’s finest ski resorts, golf clubs, and other attractions, it also boasts some of the most unique and progressive architectural and design treatments one could imagine. Featuring wall-to-wall windows with awe-inspiring mountain or canyon views, Cliff Lodge vistas are modern, spacious, and sumptuously well equipped. Cliff Lodge owners wanted some new indoor visuals, which resulted in two very large mosaic murals installed, designed by Edge ID.

Kari Bennett is principal/interior designer at Edge ID, a full-service hospitality design company, located in Salt Lake City. Bennett prides her firm on “researching, planning, designing, involving and orchestrating all projects to the last detail.” Such was the case for this highly innovative mosaic mural installation at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.

Close up of the individual vitreous glass mosaics used to create the aspen tree mural, incorporating Bostik’s Dimension® RapidCure™ Glass-Filled, Pre-Mixed, Urethane Grout. The custom mosaic was designed by Artaic Innovative Mosaic.

Creating an aspen tree “wow factor” for the interior

“We wanted in some way to bring the outdoors indoors,” declared Bennett. “There are so many beautiful vistas surrounding The Cliff Lodge. In particular, there are exquisite aspen trees indigenous to this part of the country, which look good year-round. So we made the collective decision to create an amazing aspen tree ‘wow factor’ motif on two large walls, one being in the ballroom lobby, and the other in the ballroom mezzanine. These were to be very large murals, each thirty feet wide by four feet high… 120 sq. ft.… each consisting of over 166,000 individual vitreous glass mosaic pieces.

“We knew a bit about Artaic, and how the firm offered a unique, space-age service of creating mosaic murals using computer-driven robots,” she added. “Artaic provided us with its mosaic depiction of an aspen tree motif. We immediately liked it, but wanted to change the color of the trees from black-grey to more of a sepia tone, which was more relevant to the Snowbird landscape’s colors. Artaic had no trouble whatsoever accommodating our request. The people there were without question, very professional and a joy to work with.”

The Cliff Lodge and Spa, Snowbird, Utah, 30’ x 4’ mosaic utilizing 166,000 individual vitreous glass mosaic pieces creates an aspen tree motif in colors that more perfectly fit the sepia-toned interior design scheme.

Inventor and scientist, Artaic’s Dr. Ted Acworth, added, “When Artaic was asked to design a beautiful custom mosaic for the Cliff Lodge renovation, we learned the designer was looking for a custom mosaic that really reflected the beautiful natural environment of the Utah landscape. We were provided with a photograph of a stand of aspen trees… loaded that image into our proprietary design software, and subsequently designed a beautiful custom mural out of glass tile from that image. This was not hard to do, especially when working with clients who knew what they wanted and understood our process.”

NTCA member Katwyk Tile handles the installation

Bennett went on to say that the tile installation contractor, NTCA member Rod Katwyk, owner of Katwyk Tile, was quite stoked about using Bostik materials for this massive mural project. “We believe we were hired because of the ‘touch and finesse’ we offer,” he said. “The people at Artaic highly recommended, Bostik’s Dimension® RapidCure™ Grout, which we had used previously and were confident would be ideal for this project. To begin with, we used exterior grade plywood, perfectly fitting it on the walls. Once it was glued and screwed in, we used Bostik’s GoldPlus™ crack isolation product, (ready-to-use, roller-applied latex waterproofing and anti-fracture membrane for use beneath thinset ceramic tile installations) which also served as a good primer and bonding agent to the plywood. After applying two coats, we started installing the Artaic mosaic sheets from the center of each mural. To do so, the thinset we chose was Bostik’s Glass-Mate™, using it one bag at a time. We were very happy how the material ‘stayed active’ in the bucket, which gave us time to adjust each sheet if need be. By far, this is my favorite glass tile thinset!”

The installation crew from Katwyk Tile use Bostik’s Dimension® RapidCure™ Glass-Filled, Pre-Mixed, Urethane Grout to grout the glass mosaic mural.

Bostik Glass-Mate is a premium, polymer-modified, thin-set mortar that exhibits superior bond strength, durability, non-sag properties and workability. Its bright white color and high polymer content make it ideal for installations such as that at The Cliff Lodge and Spa.

Katwyk added that grouting was accomplished with Bostik’s Dimension RapidCure Grout, which his company knew well. “We reached out to Bostik for advice, and Bostik came through,” he said. “All their products are easy to use, their customer service is great!”

Bostik grout offers “another light source” to the project

Acworth added, “Our relationship with Bostik began when we started using Dimension RapidCure Grout – their unique formulation that contains 60% recycled glass content – in our productions. The product is easy to apply, highly durable and most of all, actually adds more luminosity to mosaic productions. For example, if a project contains glass mosaics, imagine another light source being incorporated: that’s what Dimension RapidCure offers.”

Designer Bennett remarked, “We believe great design should be simple, so our process is one of honesty and communication throughout. Not only do we think it’s the right way to do business, but it does wonders for keeping efficiency up and costs down. Working with great suppliers such as Bostik, Artaic and Katwyk Tile, we were able to once again implement our philosophy for the mosaic murals at The Cliff Lodge.”

Scott Banda, Bostik’s director of Marketing and Business Development, summed it all up. “Along with our strategic partner, Artaic, Bostik is on a mission to resurrect the ancient art of mosaic design,” he said. “We’re bringing it back worldwide. The two murals at The Cliff Lodge and Spa are perfect examples of how mosaic masterpieces can once again be specified by the architectural and design community. We are proud and pleased to be an active participant in this ongoing, successful global quest.”

A video has been produced of this world-class project by Bostik. You may view it by clicking on
bit.ly/SnowbirdVideo.

Kari Bennett, principal/interior designer at Edge ID, a full-service Salt Lake City hospitality design firm wanted to bring the outdoors indoors, drawing on the beauty of the stunning vistas surrounding the lodge. The indigenous aspen trees in the area inspired the “wow factor” mosaic.

Business Tip – February 2017

Top 5 tips to avoid ambiguity in construction contracts

By Yasir Billoo, partner at International Law Partners

Avoiding ambiguity should be a primary goal when drafting and negotiating construction contracts. This helps ensure that you get what you want, including the bargained-for benefits of the contract, smooth contract administration and fulfillment, and avoidance of lengthy and expensive legal disputes. Follow these five tips to minimize ambiguities:

1. Keep it simple.

Keep your writing simple, clear and concise. Construction contracts are read and interpreted by a wide variety of people, including judges with no knowledge of the construction industry. Using plain English and shorter sentences while avoiding legalese and redundancy will make your contracts easier to read and understand.

2. If it’s part of the agreement, include it in the contract.

If a contract appears complete and comprehensive on its face, courts will prohibit the use of other documents to give meaning to the parties’ intentions. Statements made during pre-bid meetings or negotiations will not be effective in contradicting express terms in the contract. Include all terms of the deal in the contract, or incorporate key documents by reference.

3. Define key terms.

Courts give ordinary terms their ordinary meanings and technical terms their technical meanings. But the meanings of words cannot be divorced from the context in which they are interpreted, and parties often disagree on what terms mean in certain contexts. To avoid disputes, capitalize and define terms to attribute specific meaning. Then use the capitalized term as needed throughout the contract.

4. Include an order-of-precedence clause.

Because numerous documents make up construction contracts, conflicts may arise between requirements contained within the documents, such as the drawings and specifications. One way to address these conflicts is to include a clause providing that in the event of a conflict, the specifications take precedence over the drawings, or that contract documents take precedence according to a prescribed order of hierarchy. You may also wish to include a provision stating that what is required of any contract document shall be binding as if required by all.

5. Make proper use of standard forms.

Standard-form agreements such as AIA and ConsensusDocs are commonly used throughout the construction industry. However…there are risks with using such forms because they are written broadly, they may contain terms that are inapplicable to the transaction at issue, and parties often use such forms without fully reviewing them. Even if both parties orally agree to terms that differ from what is written, oral understandings will yield to written agreements, so it is important to read all the terms before using standard-form agreements. Add terms you think should be included in the contract and delete terms that are inapplicable.

Yasir Billoo is an experienced attorney in the areas of business/commercial contracts and litigation, real estate transactions (and title services) and litigation, intellectual property litigation, employment and labor, and civil appeals. Yasir’s experience ranges from representing large Fortune 500 companies in complex litigation and appeals in state and federal court, to helping small business owners with simple agreements and legal consulting.

Yasir earned his law degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and was admitted to both the Florida Bar and the California Bar in 2004. He is admitted to practice in all courts in each of these states.

Yasir earned dual Bachelors Degrees in International Relations and Communications from Florida International University. While earning his Juris Doctor, he was a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court team and on the Board of the Journal of International and Comparative Law. A native of Karachi, Pakistan, Yasir, speaks English, Spanish, Urdu, Hindi and Memoni.

Prior to practicing law, Yasir managed the finances of a group of Central American companies, handling complex international financial transactions.

Yasir currently serves as a Hearing Officer for Miami-Dade County’s Commission on Human Rights, where he presides over appeals of initial determinations in cases where discrimination is alleged.

Yasir is a member of the prestigious invitation-only International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). IADC has been serving a distinguished membership of corporate and insurance defense attorneys and insurance executives since 1920. The IADC membership is comprised of the world’s leading corporate and insurance lawyers and insurance executives. They are partners in large and small law firms, senior counsel in corporate law departments, and corporate and insurance executives. Members represent the largest corporations around the world, including the majority of companies listed in the FORTUNE 500. Reach him at intlawpartners.com

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