Cooperation equals effectiveness

Industry associations need to work together

Lee Senter, CFCRA president

The CFCRA recently held the first International Certified Flooring Installer Association (CFI) classes in Canada in April.

We held three classes: Carpet Installation, Resilient Installation and Hardwood and Laminate Installation. We certified 40 registrants and the feedback received for the classes was generally very good.

These classes would not have been possible without the unbelievable support we received from Kraus Floors, Torlys and Congoleum. There are no words to express the gratitude we have for these manufacturers for their support. I also admire the spirit that Torlys and Kraus have towards promoting the program and to make having certified flooring installers a priority.

There was some negative feedback about how the classes and exams include some information that is not relevant in Canada. Specifically the information on health and safety and the environment were quoting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), neither of which have any authority in Canada.

The CFCRA will change the classes to accommodate for Canadian law. We reached out to the National Floor Covering Association (NFCA) in meetings we had already arranged with them, to see if we might be able to quote their technical manuals for this information. It appears what we need does not exist in the manual at this time.

The meetings we had with the NFCA were interesting but unfortunately not as productive as we wished they could have been. In case you are not aware, the newly revitalized NFCA has been very active in trying to update their technical manual in co-operation with many of the largest flooring manufacturers. They have been very active in creating a quality assurance program for commercial floor covering specifiers such as architects and designers. They are making progress. But is this progress too slow?? I tend to think so.

The opportunities that allow for the ability to reach the necessary audience is very limited in Canada. The biggest show is The Buildings Show, held at the end of November every year in Toronto and incorporates Construct Canada, PM Expo, Concrete Canada and IIDEX. We had hoped to put together a program to present at the Buildings Show but time was just too tight.

I think it’s time that the CFCRA, the NFCA and all the provincial trade associations start to work together for one common cause, to be a voice for the manufacturers, distributors, retailers, installers and maintenance personnel in our industry. We need to sit down — all of us — and discuss what we can all do towards making available the information required on how flooring products perform, how they should be installed and how to maintain them.

Lets face it, it’s not unusual for a professional company in Canada to install flooring on substrates that have not been prepared to receive the flooring about to be installed. I see flooring installed incorrectly all the time, and I far too often see a complete lack of knowledge on how to maintain these soft and hard surface flooring products. These issues are ultimately blamed on the manufacturer. Maybe the manufacturers can help all the trade associations to get together with a common cause. There must be an answer here. I know TTMAC seems to be doing a good job with the marble and ceramic floor industry.

I am looking for ideas or maybe some people who have the full circle of contacts that may be able to set up a meeting where we can start a dialogue. It is important to all of us. Because let’s face it, it may be the manufacturer who gets the blame, but it’s the people who are buying the floors that are paying the price with products that do not perform or last for as long as they should.

On a quick note: The CFCRA will be holding a carpet repair and reinstallation class in July. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information. We will be holding a Woolsafe class, as well as more CFI classes this fall. Watch our calendar on the website for more information.

The Canadian Flooring Cleaning and Restoration Association (CFCRA) was preceded by the Flooring Institute of Ontario (FIO), a not-for-profit organization which proudly served the needs of flooring industry professionals in Ontario since 1962.

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