Final Coat – A Guideline for Collaboration

As I reviewed the profiles of the women featured in this issue of Hardwood Floors magazine, it became clear to me that one of the things our industry does really well is collaborate. This is unusual, especially among competitors, but it is something I have witnessed again and again during my tenure at NWFA.

Over the years, I have seen contractors travel thousands of miles to help competitors complete complicated or time-sensitive installations. I have seen distributors work together to meet the needs of projects that require large amounts of product, resulting in sales for their competition. And I have seen manufacturers join forces to advance initiatives that benefit not only themselves, but their direct competitors as well. It is really quite amazing, and speaks volumes about how NWFA members come together to put the needs of the entire industry ahead of their own personal agendas.

One project that has involved a great deal of collaboration is the newly revised NWFA Wood Flooring Installation Guidelines. During the course of the past year, the NWFA’s Technical Standards & Publications Committee has worked diligently to conduct the most-comprehensive revision of the Installation Guidelines since they were first published in 1988. The individuals who developed these first Guidelines, as well as those who participated in several revisions during the past three decades, laid a strong foundation on which we could build. Here are some of the highlights:

• Content has tripled in size, providing more in-depth information on topics including job site conditions, acclimation/conditioning, moisture testing, basements/crawlspaces, substrates, underlayments, layout, installation methods, maintenance, and repair.

• Architectural CAD drawings have been added to enhance learning and clarify descriptions.

• Photographs have been added to provide visualizations of specific instructions and to make these Guidelines multilingual.

• Artwork and illustrations have been updated and improved to augment comprehension.

• Responsible parties have been clearly defined, and include obligations for each.

• Regional Climate Variations have been expanded to include detailed information for every county in every state in the U.S. This information has been published into a supplemental technical publication and will be a valuable tool for determining temperature and humidity implications in different regions.

These new Installation Guidelines represent one of the largest and most-extensive collaborations in NWFA history. Not only did NWFA work with its members – of all member types – to research and update this publication, but it also worked with numerous other organizations that had significant expertise in specific areas. See a list of these at right.

That is quite a list of collaborators, and their efforts are evident in the new Guidelines, which should be hitting your mailbox any day. I am confident it will be a publication you will refer to again and again.

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