The Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), as previously reported in TileLetter, submitted a proposal for language to be included in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation stressing the importance of considering qualified tile contractors and installers when specifying tile and stone.
Stephanie Samulski, TCNA, announced February 8, 2012 that committee members approved the ballot with a significant affirmative vote. Carole Damon, executive director of TCAA, noted, “We are very pleased and gratified by the ballot outcome. The Handbook has long been an authoritative guide to materials usage and installation techniques. Expanding that guidance to the equally important consideration of contractor qualifications is a watershed moment in our industry.”
Nyle Wadford, NTCA president, added, “It was said concerning this new language that „everyone involved has worked to lay a bedrock foundation in which trust and partnerships can develop and thrive for the good of our industry.‟ I could not agree more and would like to thank everyone involved. It is really exciting to see the important industry relationships that are developing as a result of this venture.”
The approved TCNA Handbook language recommends including installer and contractor specifications, stating, “How good the finished installation looks, how well it performs, and how long it lasts are in [the hands of] installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and take the time to remain current with the latest materials and methods.” The Handbook further stresses, “Requiring a portfolio and references reflecting the installer‟s/contractor‟s experience, along with a bid or estimate, is a good way to ensure work of similar size, scope, and complexity has been completed. [Varied installations] require different skills. Matching installer ability to the project at hand requires close evaluation of their experience, training, state licensing…and certifications/credentials.”
Programs administered by non-profits, associations, and unions serve the tile industry by providing education, hands-on training, and evaluation of the skills and competency of installers and contractors. The Handbook recognizes the following well-established non-profit programs:
Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence Program: TCAA is a contractors association for BAC signatory contractors. Its Trowel of Excellence Program recognizes TCAA members who have demonstrated a record of successful installations. To earn the Trowel of Excellence designation, a member must submit letters of reference, submission of a detailed project description and photos, employee participation in educational programs and proof of financial responsibility. See www.tcaainc.org to learn more.
National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Contractor Program: The Five Star Program is peer review program recognizing NTCA members who demonstrate a record of successful installations. To earn this coveted designation, a contractor must complete a rigorous evaluation including customers‟ recommendations, supplier references, and participation in continuing education, training, and safety programs. For more information, see www.tile-assn.com.
Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) Certified Tile Installer Program: CTEF tests hands-on installation skills and knowledge. Installers must achieve the minimum required score on both tests to earn the “CTEF Certified Installer” designation. See www.tilecareer.com for more information.
International Masonry Institute (IMI) Contractor College Program: IMI conducts professional and technical courses for union masonry and tile contractors. For more information, see www.imiweb.org.
Journeyman Tile Layer Apprenticeship Programs are recognized by the U. S. Department of Labor and require several years of documented training as apprentices. Qualified Journeyman Tile Setters may be located through union locals, primarily the Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers (www.bacweb.org) and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC, www.carpenters.org).