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Home » Troubleshooting/Inspections » NWFA Inspections re: Manufacturers vs Installer

For problem floors and inspection-related issues.
9/30/2011 3:01:02 PM

neil moss
neil moss
Posts: 13
grooving wrote:
Crummy inspectors rob the installation and retail community all the time. The time it takes, the inappropiate repairs or complete replacement that don't work and the frustration fo all involved.

The free-for-all market system for producing qualified inspectors has failed, has been, will continue to fail.


AMEN brother....but not just the installation and retail community...they rob every levels of the industry.
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9/30/2011 4:40:13 PM

geniasmith
geniasmith
Posts: 231
Neil, Sorry to disagree but I have had some less than stellar contact with several manufacturers about inspecting fees. I can't do a decent inspection for 150 bucks (which I think would be on the high end for a manufacturer!) Manufacturers tout that they want "quality" inspections, but only if it comes with the hundred dollar price tag they are used to paying. They refuse to believe that a wear or scratch issue is the same as a cupping or gap issue. I have had 2 of them tell me they won't use me again after getting a 500.00 inspection fee from me (even if I told the person who assigned it to me that it would cost this). When I got another request from one of them, I emailed them and asked if they really wanted me to do this. Next thing I knew is I got a cancellation notice about the inspection. I won't name names but I heard with my own ears somebody that actually runs an inspection service say that they would'nt say certain things in their reports due to the high volume of business a certain manufacturer gave them. I personally think that you wish it was the way you claim, however I think you are only kidding yourself. I have been there and done that and had to pay a close to 3k claim on account of an idiot, lamebrained, ignorant inspector. I wanted to throw up when I looked at his report. He said on his report, "The moisture content of the wood was between 10 and 10.5%, which is good". You said that nofma did'nt train as many inspectors as is needed. Very true! Nobody that's even decent would accept the kind of money that manufacturers offer for inspections. Many qualified people would consider it if they did'nt have to take a pay cut to do it. Sorry to all my friends in the inspecting biz, but you work too much for too little. I am fortunate. I did not get into inspecting because I wanted a job. It is a passion and basically a hobby for me. I have done many inspections, but I have probably put 10 times the amount of research, study and seminar attending as I have doing inspections.
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9/30/2011 5:34:54 PM

neil moss
neil moss
Posts: 13
As unfortunate as it is..I have to agree with you genia.

There are multiple contract houses out there that do nothing but inspections. Carpet, vinyl, basically any floor covering. You know them and I know them...and most are totally untrained in relationship to knowledge of WOOD. . In and out...quick report and done...on to the next 8-10 that day. Because of the contracted fee they cannot do a really good job, even if they had the knowledge, as their load is too high but must be to make a living...as that is all they do. In large part that whole thing is related to convenience and not always price. Those contracting outfits have a central office in which the claim is called in then dispersed to whomever it is in the area that can get to the claim as quickly as possible. There is not separate calls to separate individual through the country...one call that's it. We, as CWFIs, really do not make it real convenient..we say..."find us". We have no set price nor any set schedule and no convenient "clearing house".

Genia, I feel confident when you contract a job that you know the price of the goods before hand. Perhaps you shop for the best price, whatever. A manufacturer is going to look at an inspection just as they do the cost of any labor or raw materials...they want to know the cost before they assign the task...probably even want to create a budget to handle it...if they knew what the cost was.

As I stated in an earlier post 98% of the claims never even get to our level and I suspect that is the 98% being handled by this contracting bunch for a variety of different manufacturers. And, certainly as you know, many of these manufacturers have carpet, vinyl and ceramic divisions so they were already used to contracting out claims inspections. Perhaps we do not want any of those and that is fine (I do not)...but we have no central point where a manufacturer..or anybody.. can call in to get an inspection in a given area...really somewhat of what tdmac was talking about. We DO NOT create convenience for our customers. Worse yet within OUR group of certified inspectors we are not creating a huge amount of credibility when our reports turn out looking similar to the contract players...the other issue tdmac brought up.

I do not think we should have high expectations of what the manufacturer may or may not do in regards to hiring us until such time as we clean up our own act and make it far more convenient for others to deal with us. What I do know, and I will say it again..they are not the enemy...they are part of our family. If we want to deal with them at the inspection level then we need to find out what their needs are and we simply have not done that...because...after all...they are the enemy. Instead, we as a group, cannot figure out how to clean up our own act so that we have a far more valuable asset to "sell" than those contract houses.

Hopefully all that read this understand that I am not picking on anyone in general that is a CWFI. TDMAC started this whole string with ideas on how we can improve our small CWFI piece of the industry. Somehow we CWFIs have lost credibility, whether we are personally guilty of assisting in that credibility loss is our own affair. I am personally embarrassed, especially as one of your first CWFIs, when a retailer/contractor such as tdmac and groovin have to bring it up as they are the ones that have been hit by the results of bad claims reporting by other CWFIs due, at least in part, to our lack of oversight and controls over ourselves.

Neil
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9/30/2011 6:02:35 PM

Michael Martin
Michael Martin
Posts: 3
It’s great to read all of the passionate comments and opinions about the NWFA Certified Inspector program. It’s especially helpful to have your input as the NWFA Certified Professionals, Inc. Board of Directors and committees are currently working to update the program.

I would, however, caution those who are following and reading this string that some of the commentary here is opinion. Opinions are great to share, but they’re not always factually accurate.



If you would like to know more about the NWFA Certified Professionals, Inc. organization, go to www.nwfacp.org. 

If you have specific questions about the program, feel free to contact Sharon Schaller, NWFACP Administrator, or myself at 800.422.4556. You can also request a list of the NWFACP Board of Directors and share your opinions with them—they would like very much to hear your input.

To give you a brief overview of what the NWFACP Board of Directors and committees are currently working toward:
  • New Licensing Agreement clearly stating annual certification requirements, certification review procedures, standards of professional conduct, and the ramifications for violations
  • New prerequisites for eligibility to take inspection exam
  • 
New continuing education requirements for maintaining certification
  • 
New conflict of interest policy

  • Revision of the inspector complaint processes and procedures

  • Revision of the code of conduct



We look forward to following further healthy debate, productive discussion, and ideas for improvements for shaping the future.



Sincerely,


Michael Martin, CEO

National Wood Flooring Association

800.422.4556

michaelm@nwfa.org
edited by Kim Wahlgren on 9/30/2011
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10/4/2011 3:24:39 PM

craigdewitt
craigdewitt
Posts: 125
Neil recently said " Because of the contracted fee they cannot do a really good job, even if they had the knowledge, as their load is too high but must be to make a living...as that is all they do." Who set the fee? Why accept the fee if you can't or won't do a good job for that fee? I might check the RH in a house to see if it is in warranty levels for $250, but that won't tell me the real cause of the floor issue. And it seems to me that it is in the best interest of everyone involved, from manufacturing to distributor to retailer to installer to consumer to trainer, to know the real cause, so something somewhere along the line can be modified as necessary to keep it from happening again.

I once talked to a builder who said he had to cut corners just to stay in business. Good thing the licensing laws were strong enough to revoke his license.

Which leads to my next thought: Mr. Martin, I truly appreciate your efforts towards improving the NWFA/NWFA-CP. But I think new rules and regulations and requirements are not as critical as enforcing the ones in place. A certification program is only as good as its de-certification program. I have heard of many conflict of interest and bad inspection complaints that have been presented to the NWFA/NWFA-CP in the past, with no ramifications. Can we just start enforcing the rules and regulations and standards that currently exist? It would certainly be in the industry's best interest.
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10/4/2011 6:41:36 PM

TDMAC
TDMAC
Posts: 1196
Craig, Breifly, I do see your point but it seems that the effort to POLICE the CWFI system as you state, is more intense than revising the process. My thoughts to Mr. Martin are spelled out by Neil very simply. Since the Inspection process has low guidance, NWFA becomes the HUB.
Simple. All Inspections must be cleared through a NWCA simple process:
1. Clerical acceptance with a minimum fee for an inspection $150.00. If a complaintant is serious, they will put that fee up to the NWFA.
2. Clerical at NWFA ( They are great gals there) contacts inspectors in that area of complaintant.
3. chosen, competent, proven Inspector predetermines the fee and sets it with NWFA. (within parameters set)
4. Complaintant accepts cost.
5. Inspector provides competent inspection with pitures and facts. He submits that to clerical at NWFA.
6 Clerical sends email to panel of 5 professionals our here in email land for review. That volunteer panel reviews an unbiased and unknown compaintants for proper guidelines.
7. Report is paid for by complaintant and sent out. Seems to me that would process hold up in any court of law.
8. No policing needed. Good Inspectors get paid properly, Bad inspectors are weeded out. NWFA has a WIN WIN ...And as I am the customer being Inspectod for Crappy workmanship ( never me) or what ever ...I get a proper Inspection. I win in court if I am not at fault due to a great Inspection process.
No spanking of hands and enforcemnt necessary. Craig, this is the ISSUE; Competent Inspections. The PROCESS: Steps 1-8 above. Neil can take it and perfect this PROCESS, as his knowledge is way over my thoughts.
Martin.
I havent had the chance to reply to your comments. Please see this as my best attempt to answer you. I am proud to be a memeber of NWFA. I wrote " What to Expect" 6 yrs ago for all our clients out there and with NWFA stamp and link on my web page, that article has been hugely effective for me.
Any thing I can do to help this process, I will make time, but I referr to Neil as the PROCESSOR of this ISSUE.
Thanks TDMAC
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10/5/2011 10:03:43 AM

neil moss
neil moss
Posts: 13
craigdewitt wrote:
Neil recently said " Because of the contracted fee they cannot do a really good job, even if they had the knowledge, as their load is too high but must be to make a living...as that is all they do." Who set the fee? Why accept the fee if you can't or won't do a good job for that fee?

Craig. My statement is specific to those that work for the inspection contract houses. I won't work for them but it is my understanding they set the rates...not the inspectors. The inspector then chooses to work for that fee or does not work for them at all. And again, these guys are not specialists..they are doing carpet, vinyl, laminate etc. That's good for them as there is enough complaints with all products to keep them busy full-time. With that type of load, often 4 or more a day, one would not expect very good inspections nor reporting. Ya gets what ya pay for and those that choose to use them are aware of it. They must be following someone's minimum standards and like building, minimum standards often equals minimum results and performance.
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10/5/2011 11:22:07 AM

Roy Reichow
Roy Reichow
Moderator
Posts: 342
Tdmac has started a great discussion on this forum regarding inspections and policing NWFA inspectors. Many of you probably wondered where I have been through all the inspector conversation? I am a flooring contractor first and schedules and deadlines overwhelmed me this past two weeks. Yes, even with 110,000 hours of hands on flooring experience I still install, sand and finish every single day just like the rest of the installers reading this thread. My inspection service becomes secondary only because my heart and passion is still providing clients with the floor of their dreams. My history, I started in flooring in 1971, established Reichow Parquet Floors in 1974. In 2003 I was asked by distributors to look at flooring related problems because of my field experience and they encouraged me to become an NWFA inspector, 2004 I became a NWFA certified inspector. By 2006 I noticed the quickie inspectors or contract inspections services were now gaining ground and fees were around 150.00 which are very attractive to manufacturers and retailers. Think for a moment could a manufacturer or retailer pay 500-1,000.00 for a NWFA inspection on a 300SF claim? No not unless it was headed for court.

tdmac has great concern where the industry is headed by these inspection services costing installers thousands of dollars each year. I'm in total agreement with tdmac however this type of process would take time to achieve a pilot program. If any of you have ever worked on any committees, (even church) the process is slow especially when dealing with volunteers. Therefore this type of program tdmac will take time to devise and perfect. We have to remember this approach is after the fact, bad inspection, bad install, poor maintenance or whatever.

My approach comes from the installer side of me, if I have a problem, I fix it! As installers there isn't a day that goes by without a fix and repair program up your sleeve. For that reason 2 years ago I told our distributors here in MN I was going to change the way we do business and they can be part of the problem or part of the solution. I started providing educational seminars to the flooring professionals on my own, I don't like seeing flooring failures regardless who's name is on them. By the second seminar I have the distributors on board and sponsoring my seminars, yes competitors joining forces to provide education to the installers and retailers. We provide the tools for installers to protect themselves against these budget inspections services. I teach a mini inspection process (self-help) to the installers so when they are present during the first site visit they properly document the concerns, conditions and photos. This aids the NWFA inspector to history accuracy of the first site visit. The upcoming seminar will be with a construction defect attorney, I provide the playbook to inspections and what inspectors look for while the attorney provides tools in protection methods regarding contractual agreements. Like I said before my heart is with the installers, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many say I'm cutting my own throat regarding inspections but on the contrary my phone never stops ringing, mostly by installers who believe in change. This type of networking has proven to be very effective for the entire industry including manufactures, retailers, installers, builders, etc.

A few installers and I went to lunch to discuss this very issue "why is the installer always thrown under the bus"? As I listened to their concerns and what they saw wrong with the system and what can we do about it? I came up with 3 things that would dissolve somewhere between 30 to 50% inspections across the country. 90% of the time if an installer did wrong doing he/she will take responsibly and correct the problem so don't put the rest of the failures on installers shoulders. I am independently working on 3 simple changes in our guidelines and then I will submit them to the appropriate committees for review and discussion.

1. "Professional Responsibly" This will clarify who is responsible for the causation of concern, did the designer specify the wrong product for the wrong application, retailer failed provide warranty maintenance instructions, builder purchased materials and failed to acclimate correctly, etc, the "installer" is ONLY responsible for installation process and days present on the job period.....this will give clarity to who is the responsible party on one single page document added to our guidelines.

2. "Flooring Checklist" This will be a 4-part checklist starting with sales, pre-installation, installation, post-installation. Sales will be responsible to ensure the flooring product meets all manufacture requirements as promised to the buyer/end-user. Simply put will the floor perform in the specified environment? Pre-Installation will be required for confirmation of site conditions, concrete and subfloor testing, acclimation practices (per manufacturer) HVAC controls including humidity control requirements, etc. Installation will be responsible for documenting jobsite conditions, subfloor MC, trowel size, photos, etc. Post-Installation is responsible for closeout documents including floor care instructions and installation acceptance sign off. This checklist will provide the installer clarity who did not complete their job in the supply chain to the end-user. This would be a 4 page document merging the builders checklist and installers checklist into the document. This goes hand in hand with the professional responsibility.

3. "Inspections" The NWFA inspector can only site the concern that is reported by end-user. Meaning if we have a finish scratching concern and if the inspector sites fastening schedule, crawlspace issues, H-patterns, etc, the report would not NWFA certified. This should take care of hired guns for various parties and keeping the integrity within NWFA inspection industry.

We have to remember we can only "POLICE" NWFA inspectors and improve the our current inspector program. As Micheal pointed out there are many revisions of current policies and implementing new ones as well. We can not do anything about low priced or inadequate inspectors outside our organization. However with 3 simple changes we can provide accountability to the responsible party regardless who is at fault. Manufacturers many times reference the NWFA installation guidelines, if the first two are applied to the guidelines then responsible party would apply to all inspections regardless of the association the inspector is associated with.

Lastly many believe the NWFA is run by manufactures and distributors, yes there is a great deal presence on various committees yet FYI there is installers influence including my own on various committees as well.

For those who wish further information on the educational seminar programs I am doing you can contact me privately or if you wish to see the NWFA have similar seminars at the convention contact the NWFA convention committee.

Regards,

--
Roy Reichow

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10/5/2011 6:56:03 PM

Stephen Perrera
Stephen Perrera
Posts: 955
Kudos to you Roy for your involvement and seminar!

I quit doing inspections when I figured out I could not possibly perform a professional hardwood inspection for 110 bucks. It takes hours to do if not several on the larger and more difficult ones including writing a proper report. So I was making minimum wage. ha ha. I asked for 350 and the unkind lady sent me a nasty email.

Plus they didn't even let you do destructive testing! And I don't have x-ray vision. Whaaaaa?
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10/8/2011 2:05:13 AM

Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke
Posts: 27
Roy,

I agree with the basic concept that you propose for "responsible party" as relates to the NWFA Installation Guidelines. As I have stated earlier in this conversation, the guidelines should assign responsibility where responsibility logically rests. Specific NOFMA older documents actually made these distinctions. As you may remember, some early manufacturer documents placed specific responsibilities on the builders and so forth. Over time, all has drifted along the path of least resistance and LEAST ABILITY TO FIGHT BACK. The industry as a whole has suffered for the way this has been handled in my opinion. I do not agree with you that most installers will fix an issue that is their responsibility prior to an inspection, however. I think that at least some of the time that is because they feel overwhelmed by having to cover for so many things that should have been handled by other people. In my market, most of the time true installer mistakes are just simple lack of knowledge. They should have let someone with more know- how do the work.They didn't know how to do it the first time and they sure aren't going to correct it the second time.

Now, to address a concern that your recent posts have stirred. you stated that "the NWFA inspector can only site the concern that is reported by the end user". This type reasoning is why I said that NWFA doesn't need to attempt to become INSPECTOR CENTRAL GENERAL for the wood flooring industry. NWFA reviewers can't posibly know what should or should not be sited in an inspection. They would never have all the information that the competent inspector would have. This post would be much too long if I gave specific examples, and I can think of many, but often issues that a novice homeowner might not yet be aware of will at a later date create a catastrophic failure in a flooring system. If I do an inspection and don't even mention that issue, then just how incompetent have I set my self up to be. I'm sorry my man but when I inspect a floor I INSPECT THE FLOOR. That is what I am hired to do. If you are the installer and you doomed the floor, then likely, my inspection is going to demontrate with data and analysis that you doomed the floor. Just because the floor has not yet exploded doesn't mean its's not going to explode. Same goes for the builder and any other responsible party. If the data says it's your fault then it's your fault as applies to the inspection.

Just because a novice homeowner doesn't yet know additional issuses are important doesn't mean that I don't know that they are important. Seems to me that a reasonable judge just might find me negligent for failure to mention that, under specific circumstances.

A review of an inspection should be focused on whether the data gathered during the inspection process is acurately reflected in the conclusion portion of the inspection. A review should not be used as a "nanny" to protect someone that is responsible for an issue. If you don't want the problem sited in a report then don't cause the problem.

Folks that hire me to inspect usually hire me because they have decided that I "have a clue". I don't do $150 dollar inspections. Most of my inspections average around $800 to $1000 and folks expect the inspection to tell them something. They "expect" the inspection to keep them out of court.

I summarize my thoughts here. In my opinion NWFA can do the most good for the Inspection professional by:
  • Word NWFA guidelines in such a manner as to properly place responsibility for issues, and not "dump" on the installer.
  • Continue to refine the wording of the procedures and practices to be as specific as possible, and stop the always present "always defer to the manufacturer instructions". This statement just throws the power back to the manufacturer to jeopardize the proper assignment of responsibility.
  • Aid in the professional training of the inspection community as much as is practical.
  • Certify only competent, properly trained, and knowledgeable inspectors.
  • Occasionally review inspections with a focus on whether the conclusion of the inspection accurately reflects the data collected.
  • Once an inspector is determined to be competent, don't try to micromanage the inspector. To do so will ultimately come across to the general public as having inspections that favor the more powerful segments of the industry.
Joe Clarke
edited by Joe Clarke on 10/8/2011
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10/8/2011 4:50:32 PM

Stephen Perrera
Stephen Perrera
Posts: 955
Not that my grammer is perfect by any means and I dislike being corrected but I've seen this word misused so many times here lately.

Cite, Sight and Site http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/citegloss.htm

If yer going to court with a report your better cite it right! hee hee

..
edited by grooving on 10/8/2011
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10/8/2011 8:06:24 PM

TDMAC
TDMAC
Posts: 1196
Joe,
You have put out a lot of information and I will challenge some.
Specifically your comment."This type reasoning is why I said that NWFA doesn't need to attempt to become INSPECTOR CENTRAL GENERAL for the wood flooring industry. NWFA reviewers can't posibly know what should or should not be sited in an inspection. They would never have all the information that the competent inspector would have.

I totally disagree. My process is not for NWFA to be INSPECTOR GENERAL !! My process is for NWFA to be the FACILITATOR.
Please remember; the ISSUE is about NON Biased Inspectors and Reports!

My process would have a simple set of basic guidelines like the NWFA has in their book. Those guidelines will be in a format that an Inspector must 'fill in the blanks' on the report. ie. If the inspection is regarding a prefinished floor over concrete, that report will be available to him online to cover the specific issues on that type complaint. That reduces the complexities of him being " biased for pay" from the client, as many inspectors are now. That report can easily be reviewed on line after NWFA sends it "confidentially" to a panel of members for review." Once reviewed the client pays NWFA and NWFA pays the Inspector and that report is 'Unbiased and factual"

I have recently controverted 3 inspectors hired by a client in a huge lawsuit. Their reports are so biased and non factual that it is easy for me to shoot them down in front of attorneys. Biased reports are the Nemesis of our Industry and, I am sorry , MAN. but that is the Total meaning of my Process. The Issue is that our Industry is fraught with Biased - Client Paid for reports that Inspectors state they know what they are doing, but THEY WONT GET PAID unless the client is happy. GET IT???
My deposition with attorneys in this case was against 3 inspectors paid by the complaining client against a good contractor. Guess who wins...ATTORNEYS!!! An NWFA approved inspection process as I have detailed will virtually eliminate many attorneys. They wont have a leg to stand on with a valid "reviewed" NWFA approved inspection.

Another term that you used was a 'reasonable Judge". That is an OXYMORON. who knows when that might happen. A Judge relies on VALID and competent Proven Inspectors to be reasonable. They don't know how to be reasonable unless they have a Valid Unbiased report. The 'Reasonable Judge' is swayed towards a BIASED client paid for Report. and guess who looses. ME the contractor. What did I do about that?? Hmmm. Complaint to the NWFACP and get the Inspector fined.WOW
I will end with a question to you. Respectfully, Are you a contractor, Inspector or What is your expertise? I do Know Roy is, Neil is as many are in this discussion. I am NOT a Certified Inspector. Just an old time Contractor with 40 plus yrs hands on experience. My Architectural degree also aids with my background in building designs and problems.

My Intent here is for NWFA to have the status , nationally to gain membership by announcing that they will back a basic Valid Inspection Program in the future that will be fair to all. NON Biased. Manufacturers will applaud this , Clients will only file a valid complaint contractors will have the ability to have Fair judgment and also use this in complaints against Manufacturers.
Each set of Guideline Reports will be with a written set of parameters for that inspector to follow. A client complains about a Sand & finish job.. That report will be available to that Inspector with the NWFA guidelines. .
A contractor complains against a manufacturer; that Report will be with those parameters for an Inspector to fill out for review. SIMPLE. The Inspector fills out the report pertaining to the complaint and does not have to wander the process all around areas not important.
When a JUDGE finally sees that type specific report. Then he will be informed and reasonable!! We all can help write those report formats for the NWFA. I will continue another time, but after a great discussion today with a smart, informed Member, I am encouraged that this process can resolve the dire Issue of bad Inspectors and inspections.... & with out intense cost to the NWFA!!!
MY 2 cents.
TDMAC



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10/10/2011 12:29:30 AM

Joe Clarke
Joe Clarke
Posts: 27
Grooving,

I work more with job sites than citations, and I make note of your perception.

tdmac- Tom,

I addressed, partially, the answer to your question as to my background earlier in this conversation- top of page two. A fairly comprehensive review of my credentials is available at iawfp.org. Click on certified inspectors, Then click on Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Tennessee. A couple of additional schools and seminars have not been updated to the site. My last training program attended was a four day wood floor school sponsored by Floor Inspectors Educational Guild. The school was mid- September this year. Howard Brickman and two professors from North Carolina State University were the instructors.

IAWFP membership, at this time, consists primarily of the original NOFMA group of certified inspectors and a few "professional" members. NWFA has added a group known as NOFMA/NWFA Certified Wood Floor Inspectors. I am a meember of this group. I thank Mr. Martin for his efforts in accomplishing this task.

Sir, let me state clearly that I do appreciate your intent concerning the biased and/or incompetent inspection issue. I fully respect your opinion. I simply disagree, strongly, with your proposal on how to resolve the issue. My interest in performing inspections originated because of a bad inspection performed on one of my wood installations, many years ago. The situation was a distraction for four years before resolution, and it cost me thousands of dollars. Believe me, I do know the damage that a bad inspection can cause.

I also would like to state that I first met Neil Moss in 1996 and know "of him" since that time. He likely does not know me, but I did discuss technical issues with him ocassionally while he was at Armstrong and in the adhesive industry. I regard him as a "GREAT" in the wood flooring industry. I agree with some of his views on this issue, but not all.

I do not know Roy, but obviously his opinion deserves respect.

I know that with 35 years hands on experience, I still do not know in advance the exact questions I will need to ask or what specifics I may need to investigate to properly collect data for a report. I DO NOT KNOW FOR CERTAIN WHATS IMPORTANT UNTIL I VIEW THE SPECIFIC SITE AND ISSUE(S) AT HAND. I do not decide on a final format for the report until I have thoroughly reviewed all the data and subjective information collected. Then the "chips fall where the chips fall". Bias in a report can derive from not collecting relavent data as well as deliberately collecting only specific data. My inspection may be biased from the start if some third party decides what should be discussed in the inspection report with some predetermined format. That bias may be deliberate or inadvertent. I simply would not inspect floors under the system you propose. My professional reputation means more to me than any organization's certification.

If an inspector is proven to deliberately collect data that slants a report in a direction that is not relevent, then that inspector should be decertified. As Craig Dewitt earlier stated, the decertification process is also important.

In my opinion the real issues at hand here are integrity and basic honesty. NWFA nor anyone else is going to significantly curtail a dishonest approach to inspections or much of anything else.

My thoughts in this discussion have been fairly well documented in previous posts to this conversation. I might add to my last summary of thoughts:
  • promptly decertify "bad" inspectors
Joe
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10/10/2011 11:10:06 AM

Stephen Perrera
Stephen Perrera
Posts: 955
Found this while surfing around. Read the posts Grumpy copied from a brokers private forum, the questions these guys ask are shocking....like what is EMC! And thats not the half of it. This is what really needs to be stopped.

http://www.flooringinstaller.com/forum/topics/freaking-idiots
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10/10/2011 4:17:46 PM

David Brattin
David Brattin
Posts: 1
I have had conflicting "Certified inspector inspections" on my installation. I have been doing wood floors for nearly 30 years and am well versed on most install procedures and finishing processes.
The problem with this particular floor was that the customer couldn't keep he humidity levels above 25% in the winter time, hence her 5 inch wide solid oak floor would shrink in 6 or 7 different areas approximately 1/4" wide.
No convincing her that the humidity needed to be 35 to 40% to help minimize this movement, using all the data provided by NWFA and other info on the net.
I suggest a "Certified inspection" by the NWFA.
I recommend a man that has been in the business for several years and pay for him to do the inspection. His findings were that installation and finishing procedures as well as the wood met all of the NWFA guide lines. The humidity levels were the cullprit to the flooring problems. This did not satisfy the customer so she hired her own "Certified inspector" by the NWFA.
This inspector found that the flooring had not been nailed properly, the flooring was miss milled and should be replaced.
Hence big trouble for me and very costly.
The first inspector had many years of wood flooring experience while the 2nd was a carpet salesman with little or NO experience in the actual field of wood flooring short of prefinished.
The help I got after a call to the NWFA was that they do not get involved with disputed findings and that my best bet was to file a report of complaint.
That sure made me feel better! And it helped me feel much more at ease with the $4000.00 I lost, not to mention the hours of time that were wasted.
Now I have a floor that I sanded, stained and finish in a Dura seal Antique brown with oil base poly.
The floor has 10 foot windows across the back of the house with a front stoop that sits approximately 2 ft below the height of the wood floor. This floor is a solid 8.5 to 9 on a scale of 1-10. Nice sand job and a spotless finish. I took pictures to display on my web site.
This nice lawyer customer decided my floor was a disgrace and did not want to pay. I again suggested and "Certified NWFA inspector" and would pay the cost and if the findings did not meet NWFA standards he would not pay a dime for the floor work.
I suggested an inspector, he stated he planned to research the NWFA and would contact his own.
Since the house was empty I brought my own inspector in and waited for my customers results from his inspector.
AGAIN my inspector and the customers inspectors opinions varied.
I had a conversation with the customers inspectors findings. He became very agitated when I ask how long he had been inspecting wood floors, he told me a few months but that was not the case according to the NWFA. I ask him his experience in installations, sanding, staining and finishing and he said he has little and it had been a few years back since last working on one. I again do not know if he was telling me the truth or was just a qualified smart Ass.
With his findings varying so much from my thoughts and another NWFA inspector I have to believe he was not following the guide lines set forth nor does he know his job due to lack of experience.
It appears to me that the NWFA needs to change their Certification process.
I know I have bad luck at times but this is really bad luck created by their Certification process.
I would like to know "who is at fault"


TDMAC wrote:
Recent discussion on "who is at fault" by Roy Reichow has prodded me to this thought:
NWFA might review the Inspection process by any Member or Certified Inspector. NWFA would become the governing body for payment and information on any Inspection initiated by a Manufacturer, ' Injured Party" or Installer. The process would be that any party wanting an inspection would pay NWFA a fee for the Inspectors work and findings. NWFA would review all information and find the facts per NWFA guidelines. NWFA would pay the Inspector, therefore keeping the findings unbiased!
Of course an unbiased panel of 5 would be appointed at the NWFA ( by member voting) and paid part of that fee for proper adjudication. Email reports, Pay Pal payments are easily used for that purpose.
Inspectors would then have to step up to the plate and then get paid properly by NWFA.. No sides taken!
My thoughts are still in their infancy. This process might invalidate many frivolous claims and problems.
As a member of NWFA, I have done quite a few inspections. One now might have been settled more easily if NWFA Inspectors were overseen by my above stated process. I have challenged one NWFA inspector for improper processes and also not being a Licensed California contractor.

Any Comments?
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10/10/2011 8:35:24 PM

TDMAC
TDMAC
Posts: 1196
David,
WOW....Exactly!!
I REST MY CASE FOR an OVER SITE Review process by NWFA as I have suggested
Cheers. TDMAC OUT for a few days.
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11/3/2011 1:45:34 PM

Anita
Anita
Posts: 4
Several people have asked about this post Howard made about Board distribution in 2009:
“Manufacturers and Distributors represent 35% of the NWFA membership and 76% of the Board of Directors of NWFA and 86% of Board of Directors of NWFACP. NWFA and NWFACP Leadership positions are dominated by the manufacturer and distributor segments of wood flooring industry.”

I’m sure you all are quite aware that NWFA is now under new leadership and had experienced tremendous change within the past few months. While I cannot speak to our membership or Board makeup in 2009, I can tell that our current membership is 23% manufacturers, 16% distributors, 52% dealer/contractors, and 9% allied (importers, etc.). Our current Board is very evenly represented among our membership: seven manufacturers, six distributors, six dealer/contractors, and one allied (importer/exporter). We do make an effort each year to make sure that seats vacated are filled with member types that facilitate an even representation of ALL our membership types. In this way, all member types received equal votes on all NWFA initiatives.

As always, we welcome your feedback and comments.

Anita Howard
Senior Director Communications & Events
800-422-4556
anitah@nwfa.org
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11/30/2011 3:47:12 PM

jdenman
jdenman
Posts: 2
grooving wrote:
Roy Reichow wrote:
I see your passion for inspections/inspectors and change, however change will happen, just can't promise how long it will take.

Regards,


I support your earnest attempts to correct the misgivings of the past managment in the inspection division of the NWFA Roy, but it's aready taken to long to fix. Someone needs to step up to the plate like the tile people did. Meanwhile more installers/retailers/contractors will be screwed because certain entity's willl certify these people with a multiple question test, for a lousy few hundred bucks even if they have absolutely no hands on experience. It's a complete travesty.

Do you realize the cost to the installation community to just go out and defend against the undereducated inspector? I'll bet it is much much more than the NWFA is making on it I assure you. Meanwhile everyone keeps their mouth shut. Loose lips sinks ships.



..
edited by grooving on 9/24/2011
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11/30/2011 7:27:18 PM

Roy Reichow
Roy Reichow
Moderator
Posts: 342
I totally understand your concern but I want you to know the NWFA has NEVER been more transparent until Michael Martin took over. Michael posted earlier
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]To give you a brief overview of what the NWFACP Board of Directors and committees are currently working toward:[/font]
New Licensing Agreement clearly stating annual certification requirements, certification review procedures, standards of professional conduct, and the ramifications for violationsNew prerequisites for eligibility to take inspection exam
New continuing education requirements for maintaining certification
New conflict of interest policy
Revision of the inspector complaint processes and procedures
Revision of the code of conduct.

I too wish at a snap of finger change would happen over night but that's not the case. For those who sit on various committees are volunteers, they have their day jobs too. I spend 5 to 10 hours every week donating my time to the NWFA and for what, it's not for the money, it's not for a gold pin, it's only for the betterment of the industry. Everyone on ALL committees feel the very same way and donate their time. You also must realize you can't publish a novel until you have ALL the chapters completed, the NWFA is no different, they can't publish new guidelines until all committees have their work completed and turned in. So I encourage you and other readers to become more involved and you will see first hand how the system works and the lengthy process. I encourage you and other readers to call NWFA headquarters and they will be more than happy to provide you with the committee chairpersons name that you have the most concern with. Then contact that chairperson and I'm sure they would tell you what progress is currently being made just as Michael stated above.

Remember sitting on your hands accomplishes nothing, become more involved and donate some of your time makes thing happen. I look forward to see you on the next committee...

--
Roy Reichow
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