ICS Magazine

Everyone Will Benefit from a Carpet Installation Standard

October 7, 2009

The carpet industry is coming together to develop a standard for the installation of residential and commercial carpet. The IICRC announced in late July that it will lend its expertise to help write the IICRC S600 Carpet Installation Standard and Reference Guide to address a problem which for many years has been seen by some as an Achilles heel for the carpet industry.

Funding will be provided by the Carpet and Rug Institute and the World Floor Covering Association.

Why is the IICRC involved in writing a carpet installation standard? The answer is that writing standards is what we do best, and we have more than 30 years experience doing so. Hopefully, we can apply our expertise as a service to the carpet industry.

The IICRC is accredited by the American National Standards Institute, which brings a high degree of credibility to our standards and the process for writing them. ANSI coordinates the development and use of voluntary consensus standards for a wide variety of industries and represents U.S. stakeholders in international standardization forums.

The carpet installation standard writing committee will be chaired by James Mullins of Shaw Industries and the vice chair will be Barry Costa of Aspire Educational Institute and Conference Centre.

Barry has been involved in writing standards for almost 17 years, including 6 years as chair of the IICRC’s Standards Committee. Among Barry’s roles will be to ensure that the standard-writing process stays true to the bedrock principles and requirements of both ANSI and the IICRC and that the playing field is level for all participants.

Among the most important principles of the standard writing process is that it is open and inclusive. The first step to achieving this is to assemble the experts necessary to draft the standard.

Work is already underway to solicit volunteers to serve on the 15-to-20-member Consensus Body, as well as on the committees and subcommittees responsible for writing sections and chapters of the standards.

Anyone can volunteer, although all may not be selected. Those selected must commit to the process, to carrying out their assignments, and to staying the course until the standard is complete. Those interested in volunteering should contact James Mullins (installation@shawinc.com) or Barry Costa (barry@aspire-centre.com).

Writing standards is also a consensus process. That means everyone’s opinions are valued and everyone has an opportunity to voice them. Those involved in writing the carpet installation standard must be committed to working in an atmosphere of candor, honesty, and mutual respect in resolving conflicting opinions.

Balance in perspective is also critical in writing ANSI-accredited standards. As a result, carpet manufacturers, retailers and installers, as well as other parties with material interests in carpet installation, will be invited to participate and share their opinions. The greater the range of perspectives, the stronger the standard will be.

The process will also be very transparent, and the Consensus Body will regularly update the industry on its progress. This can take many forms, including reports to key industry trade mediums by the IICRC annually, or more often if the situation warrants. The process for writing the carpet installation standard is expected to take approximately 36 months. First, the Reference Guide will be written, reviewed, fine-tuned, and professionally edited, followed by the Standards Section.

Once the full document is accepted by the Consensus Body, it will undergo the ANSI/IICRC public review process. Reviewers will have the opportunity to comment on the content of the document and there will be a response to each comment by the appropriate chapter committee. If there are any substantive changes to the document as a result of the public review, there will be another vote by the Consensus Body, followed by ratification by the IICRC Board, the WFCA, and the CRI.

Clearly, writing a carpet installation standard using this process will require dedication and commitment from the participants. Their reward will be a standard that is “win-win” for everyone involved. The IICRC will have another platform to demonstrate our leadership and ability to write standards that make a difference. The volunteers will have the satisfaction of affecting this very important standard. Carpet manufacturers will benefit from a standard that raises the bar of excellence for the installation of its products. Installers will have well-defined consensus guidelines for applying their craft. The ultimate beneficiaries, however, will be consumers of residential and commercial carpet.