Controlling liabilities = profit

By Vincent Lamont

Most entrepreneurs underestand that controlling all the elements of risk associated with a business has a net effect of better controlling the outcome and profit associated with the operation.

In my experience as a flooring contractor, knowledge is undoubtedly the driving force in obtaining this goal. I confess that I have probably made at least 2,000 mistakes (small and large!) in my 28-year career, but the key is that I have never made the same mistake twice! Thoses mistakes translated into experience and wisdom that has resulted in fewer mistakes and a more controlled decision making process. It was only later that I also realized it is much less painful to borrow from the experiences of others and apply them to my projects than to learn each lesson on my own.

Joining TTMAC has enabled me to meet and interact with fellow contractors from all across Canada, gaining insight on regional differences, challenges that they have faced and overcome and a general sharing of information. It has given me a broader and more well informed picture of our industry as a whole. I have also made connections with senior managers and technical specialists of distributors and manufacturers who have helped me to understand the view from their perspective.

 

TTMAC Guidelines for Installation is a comprehensive manual that outlines all phases of a tile, terrazzo or stone project. It’s true, and perhaps a bit sad, that anybody can “hang up their shingle” as a tile installer, but we all know that every project brings its challenges, most often revealed well before the first box of products arrives on site, right down to the nuance of the shadow effect that lighting has on wall tiles. Again, I return to the phrase “controlling liabilities.” The development of a pre-checklist with items to watch for, even before starting work, has helped our business by bringing to light such issues as moisture mitigation, structural stress and the need for control joints that cannot be foreseen in original contract documents.

The TTMAC 93 00 00 manual is updated every two years, and bulletins are released regularly to assist TTMAC members in keeping ahead of the curve as our industry grows. Updated installation requirements in response to the insurgence of thin porcelain sheet (1 meter x 3 meters) in the last five years is a good example of TTMAC’s ability to react to a changing trend.

Every Architectural Specification (Section 09310 Ceramic tile) includes an article that can be summarized as follows: “Conduct tile works in accordance with TTMAC installation manual, except where otherwise specified.” The math is simple: if you perform your installation based on the details outlined in the manual, you are on solid ground to defend any objection.

Since its foundation in 1944, this association has created the conditions for a forum beween spec writers, manufacturers, contractors and distributors to provide answers, insights and guidelines to follow and improve the likelihood of a successfull project. All with one common goal: Professionalism to uplift industry practices and standards … something we in the industry should all strive for.

 

Vincent Lamont is president of flooring contractor Jacques Lamont Ltd. The Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada was founded in 1944 to promote standardized installation techniques and to provide technical resources.

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