ICS Magazine

Moisture vapor testing Position Statement adopted

November 1, 2001
After more than a year of coalition building, the World Floor Covering Association's Ad Hoc Industry Task Force on Moisture Emission Testing can now officially take the word 'Draft' from the Floor Covering Industry Draft White Paper on Moisture Emission Testing.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After more than a year of coalition building with key floor covering organizations, the World Floor Covering Association's (WFCA) Ad Hoc Industry Task Force on Moisture Emission Testing can now officially take the word 'Draft' from the Floor Covering Industry Draft White Paper on Moisture Emission Testing.

The WFCA (www.wfca.org) Board of Directors on Oct. 25 voted unanimously to formally adopt the White Paper, Position Statement on Moisture Emission Testing, and its accompanying document, Moisture Emission Testing -- Responsibility and Qualifications for Testing. The WFCA directors had previously passed the measure in draft form on Sept. 23, 2000 in order to begin the process of soliciting industrywide support for the measure.

ICS Cleaning Specialist founder Howard Olansky was instrumental to the Ad Hoc Industry Task Force on Moisture Emission Testing that helped spearhead the effort. He was credited as "the man who blew the whistle on the current practice of owners, architects and general contractors that make the flooring contractor responsible for determining substrate moisture and solutions for handling high moisture emitting floors."

Olansky provided the stimulus for an industry White Paper, which places the responsibility for testing on qualified, independent agencies rather than flooring dealer/contractors.

"The WFCA Board approving this document is a significant step in our goal to achieving a common sense approach to a problem that has plagued the floor covering industry for years," said Gary Wasmund, immediate past Chairman of the WFCA Board and Ad Hoc Industry Task Force chairman. "We now have the combined forces of the 10 most significant associations/organizations in the floor covering industry speaking with a unified voice on the issue. That level of unanimity is unprecedented."

In order to encourage floor covering personnel to be proactive in working with architects, building owners and specification writers, the complete document is available from the WFCA at 2211 E. Howell Avenue, Anaheim, Calif., 92806, or by calling (800) 624-6880 or faxing (714) 978-6066 and requesting a copy. The document can also be downloaded from the WFCA Web site.

Wasmund urged floor covering dealers, contractors and installers to share these documents with architects and contractors before initiating a commercial job.

The gist of the position statement is that concrete moisture vapor testing needs to be performed by qualified independent agencies, and not by floor covering personnel.

"Our task, now that we are of one voice on this issue, is to carry our message to general contractors, building owners, architects an specification writers and convince them it is in their best interest that this testing be done independently," Wasmund concluded.

If adopted, the recommendation requires that architects move moisture testing away from division 9 of construction specifications and place them with other construction related test requirements.

Historically, building industry practice has been that floor covering installers, dealers and contractors have been held accountable for testing of moisture emissions in concrete and the satisfactory installation of floor covering on this material. Horror stories abound about floor covering professionals being held liable for non-performance, often in extenuating circumstances beyond their control.

Compounding the complexity of this situation are technological advancements in concrete formulations, as well as new, "fast track" construction techniques. It was in this environment that the Ad Hoc Task Force of interested professionals was brought together last year by Wasmund to attempt to rectify what has proven to be a serious problem. That led to the development of the Position Statement on Moisture Emission Testing that has now been finalized.

The endorsing organizations behind this effort now include Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI), Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA), Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA), International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI), International Society of Cleaning Technicians (ISCT), National Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), Professional Flooring Installers Association (PFIA), Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), StarNet Commercial Flooring Cooperative (StarNet), and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA).

The WFCA, the industry's largest advocacy organization, is serving as the coordinating body for this industrywide initiative.