The cost of flooring materials and installation may only be 2 to 5 percent of your entire construction project, but if that floor fails the costs can climb as high as 10 to 15 percent of your project — or higher.
You wouldn’t hire an unlicensed electrician to wire your building, so why would you allow an unqualified installer to put the flooring in on your project? To ensure you get the best install, mandate that only qualified and certified installers work on your flooring projects. After all, it’s much easier and more cost-effective to address potential issues upfront than to correct failures after the fact.
Questions to ask potential installers include:
- Are they certified, and by whom?
- Have they been through installation training from the material manufacturer and, if so, did they pass the course?
- Do they conduct themselves as business professionals and craftsmen?
- Can they provide a list of references with contact names and numbers?
Better still, ask your manufacturer to steer you to qualified installers who have been through a certification process that the manufacturer either provides or values and respects. Traditionally, when something goes awry with installation it is the flooring manufacturer who is on the hook to make things right. And since the manufacturer is held accountable, they are vested in ensuring your installation goes well.
As a matter of fact, that vested interest makes your flooring material manufacturer a great asset in making sure the installed product meets your long-term needs. By utilizing the flooring manufacturer as part of your project management and risk mitigation team early in the design and construction process, you’re more likely to get a high-quality, cost-controlled installation.
There are many different variables during the construction process that can affect the performance of the flooring material — from inappropriate moisture testing to unexpected jobsite conditions to installation errors — so it can save time and money to bring your supplier to the table during the specification or construction document process and/or pre-slab pour. These early meetings should outline:
- What should be expected from your flooring materials and the installer.
- Who is responsible and accountable for what activities.
- The quality control measures that need to be in place during installation.
Sounds simple, right? But too rarely do the manufacturer, general contractor and facility manager take the time and effort to build the necessary relationship on the front end of the project. The facility manager, in particular, loses from this oversight. It would be better to establish a relationship with a trusted vendor now so you have an ally to turn to when you need replacement materials, and advice, in the years to come.
By working with your vendor in a joint project management team, projects can see cost and time savings and ensure the final product is installed correctly at a fair price.
About the Authors: Eric Bower is national sales manager and Chris Cobb is director – General Contractor Relations, North American Construction Services, for Forbo Flooring North America.