Why do NTCA Five Star Contractors all have an active safety program in their company?

In many instances, the need for an active safety program is required to bid or secure work. Effective safety programs perform many positive functions. Here are some examples:
• Avoid costly interruptions to the project
• Reduce Insurance Costs
• Lower workers compensation costs
• Improve employee morale and trust
• Improve company performance
• Improve overall quality of workmanship
• Reduce job site accidents
• Reduce the need for training replacement workers
• Cultivate an environment that encourages quality company applicants

For these reasons, and many more, NTCA Five Star Contractors are making a commitment to improving workplace safety. Many of them have dedicated considerable resources to safety training, which is the cornerstone of identifying potential risks. If a tile installer or helper is educated on the means and methods to protect themselves and others from project site risks, along with the steps necessary to correct these risks, he/she is equipped to manage and eliminate unsafe work practices. This in turn reduces costly delays in the construction process.

One of the key components to reducing risk is to empower employees to take action if they witness unsafe practices or hazards on the job site. This is why it is important for the tile contracting company to properly train their supervisors and employees so they realize that not only do they have the right to take time to correct a safety-related shortcoming, they have an obligation to correct it. There is a fundamental difference between the ability, or right to correct, and the obligation to correct. NTCA Five Star Contractor employees understand that it is completely acceptable to shut down operations in order to address a safety concern.

As you educate your workforce, it is necessary to break the myth that correcting a safety-related problem is an expense. You must educate your workers so they understand that risk or hazard identification and correction offers significant savings and adds value to the project and the company bottom line. Most importantly, though, it is the right thing to do for the safety of each and every individual on site. Most safety-hazard corrections take almost no time at all to correct, while an unsafe practice can have a horribly negative and sometimes life-altering effect.

NTCA Five Star Contractors often require a project-weekly meeting, in order to keep every project team member informed about site-specific issues related to safety. These meetings offer a great opportunity to communicate concerns related to quality and production as well. Furthermore, they can serve as a forum for all individuals on site to express safety concerns. The discussion, and action taken immediately after, can have a positive impact on site for everyone.

NTCA Five Star Contractors are committed to an injury-free worksite, and to increasing safety throughout the tile industry. If each tile contracting company continues or begins to put forth this type of effort into employee education and raising expectations for all involved in the tile trade, our industry will continue to reduce installation-related injuries.

Crossville Announces NTCA Five Star Contractor Rebate Program

Crossville is pleased to announce that it will support the NTCA’s 5-Star Contractor with a rebate specifically designed for them. Crossville, as a company, has always believed in training and education as a foundation of building better business and better business relationships. The NTCA also believes this; so to that end, they have chosen to support the 5-Star Contractor who commits to the requirements to join this elite group.

The program will begin in January, 2012 and will include a quarterly rebate based on paid invoices through Crossville distributor partners. Participation and eligibility in the program will be conditional upon at least 10% of the tile contractor’s field crew to be certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation by January 1st, 2013.

The program will be evaluated on an annual basis.

NTCA Five-Star Contractors – “Créme de la créme” of tile contractors

“As far as creative, technical and business resources are concerned, [NTCA Five-Star Contractors] are the crème de la crème!,” So said Buck Collins, of Collins Tile and Stone, a NTCA Five-Star Contractor in Aldie, Va. “The knowledge is deep, with a proven track record of successful installations. The proud employment of Certified Tile Installers is also a trademark of the Five-Star contractor. My ability to personally contact some of the most respected tile contractors in the U.S. has proven to boost our credibility and knowledge.”

These are just a few benefits of membership in this elite group of tile businesspeople. Earlier this year, the group gathered at Crossville’s headquarters in Tennessee for a leadership and networking summit that equipped them with additional resources for success and fostered connection and camaraderie that, in some cases, led to business partnerships with distant contractors.

“I was called by a client of mine to help with a project that another tile company was installing was running behind,” said Kevin Fox, PE, of Fox Ceramic Tile, Inc. in St. Mary’s, Kan. “Since my mechanics were busy, I sent out an email to the Five-Star members. The result was longtime NTCA member Williams Tile (Maryland Heights, Mo.) sent 2-1/2 crews to the project for three weeks, and now Welch Tile (Kent City, Mich.) is there with two crews.  Result: I was able to take care of my client using the Five-Star network with the confidence of having competent installers on the job, which was very important – because even though I was not able to send my in house mechanics, the work that was performed still has my name on it.”

Standards of excellence

This group of contractors, currently 25 strong, is dedicated to upholding standards of excellence in their work and their operations. The NTCA Board of Directors created this program as a way to recognize companies in our association with a proven track record of excellence in our trade. Each contractor goes through an accreditation process, which includes recommendations from customers, suppliers and peers; participation in continuing education and training programs including educational seminars and events; maintenance of an active safety program; and of course, active membership with NTCA.

In addition to being prominently listed on the NTCA member locator site, having a direct link from NTCA’s national website to yours, and being able to use the Five-Star logo on your letterhead and marketing pieces, NTCA is actively working on growing this program and the benefits for members (see sidebar). This translates into more potential top-level business for you and leadership within the tile industry.

How? Take it directly from some current Five-Star members.

“In addition to being extremely proud to carry the Five-Star designation, we feel that when we convey this to a customer, whether a big contractor or a homeowner, we also convey credibility in our knowledge and skill,” said Libby Morgan, Battles & Battles Tile, Knoxville, Tenn. “We are very appreciative for the opportunity to be in a class of professionals who care about quality, and we always search for better methods. A great tile job speaks for itself. A bad tile job turns the end user against tile altogether, so we are doing everything we can to spread the word of the best methods, even to our competitors. We are seen as the tile experts in our region, and our Five-Star designation proves it!!!”

Kevin Fox added, “We just recently installed a stone floor/wall bathroom and shower in a residence for a good general contractor client. We typically do not install residential projects as we specialize in commercial, but make exceptions for these types of clients.  The project called for us to use a self-leveling underlayment with electric heat. Because of the relationships created with this Five-Star Contractor group, I knew just the person to call: Jan Hohn with Hohn & Hohn, Inc., as I know she has performed this type of installation many times. She was very willing to give advice which helped us perform the work: just another reason why this group has had value in my company. I had the application sitting on my desk for well over a year. I guess it never got high enough on the ‘to-do list.’ Wish I would have sent it in sooner.”

Buck Collins summed up: “Recently, I received a call from a prospective customer who had just read an article in the Holmes magazine. They featured an article which made mention of the NTCA and their commitment to quality installations. She visited the NTCA website and was impressed with what she read, and ultimately found us there.

“The NTCA is an organization that is passionate about the success of the tile industry as a whole,” Collins said. “We are grateful for all their leadership and commitment to the needs of, and promotion of, the contractor – it has truly benefitted our business.”
For more information on the NTCA Five-Star Contractor Program, visit www.tile-assn.com and click the Five-Star link on the scroll bar at the bottom of the page.

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