The association can’t defend the indefensible
I know all about bad football – I’m a long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan. They do some stupid things. I can’t logically defend them – but I do have an emotional attachment, so I’m loyal.
We have a similar situation with some NTCA members who step into the installation arena and play “bad tile.” They penalize themselves because they don’t know industry standards; our “rule books.”
In the last few weeks NTCA staff has been busy answering questions and trying to help solve issues from contractor members about job site and installation disputes. Problem is, it’s the third quarter and these NTCA teammates are still trying to figure out what to do out on the field. They’ve fumbled and they want NTCA leadership to blow the whistle, pick up the ball and make a call in their favor.
Tile contractors and installers must know our industry’s standards. These ARE the “rules of the game.” Ignorance of them is not a viable excuse when a problem is discovered. In the eyes of a court (if a problem gets that far) tile contractors are deemed experts. You must know tile sizing variances and warpage, substrate tolerances, above-grade installation standards, waterproofing details and much, much more. Knowing these is what separates professional tile contractors from people who “lay tile.”
That’s exactly what proved to be true on a recent inspection I performed. It was an elevator lobby that consisted of 12”x24” porcelain in a 50% offset with wash, or grazed, lighting. The lippage was noticeable when you walked through the lobby doors. The tile contractor that hired me was blaming the tile and the lighting. I asked him if he had done a mock-up, as is mandatory in this situation per ANSI; he said no, he had never heard of ANSI. I then did my best to explain to him that since he did not perform a mock-up he was outside of industry standards. He was not happy. Nothing I said at that point made the situation better in his eyes, and he threw out the famous phrase, “I have been doing this for 25 years and have never had a problem.” Well, today he did have a problem and the contractor eventually made him tear out the entire wall and replace it.
Don’t get me wrong – the NTCA is not a neutral zone. The association is there to guide you in preventing problems and helping you do things right. Industry standards are evolving with modern technologies and changes in the way tile and setting products are made – it’s your responsibility to gear up and that includes knowledge.
Members of the NTCA Technical Committee – Nyle Wadford and Mike Gillette – are currently developing a white paper on how to construct a mock-up to show wash/graze lighting. It’s useful information, along with the TCNA Handbook, ANSI Guidelines, and the NTCA Reference Manual, that would have helped on that lobby install.
None of these resources can be helpful if you are halfway through the job or nearly completed, and you have not been following industry standards when you realize you have a problem. Don’t perform like my beloved Bucs. We’re handing you the ball – run with it!