Have you considered becoming an NWFA Certified Inspector? We interviewed two inspectors who passed along some tips, tricks, and share some great information about what becoming an NWFA inspector has done for them.
Tom Owens – Superior Coverings and Contruction Inc
Earned Inspector Certification in 2007
What was your background before becoming an inspector?
I worked in a variety of jobs within the construction and flooring industry. I did carpet, vinyl, tile, and hardwood. I always had a desire to want to know more and learn more about what I was doing. Becoming an inspector helped me gain a broader knowledge of the science behind hardwood flooring and made me a more confident installer.
What do you feel are the most rewarding parts about earning your inspector certification?
I get the opportunity to meet different people, travel new places, and am overall challenged more when conducting inspections. I enjoy looking at the forensics of the flooring issue and using my destructive testing skills to figure out what happened. I have learned how to avoid issues when installing hardwood and that short cuts are not worth it.
What advice to you have for someone looking to get into the field of inspections?
Don’t be scared to ask questions. There is so much to learn and all kinds of ways to get information. Call mills, call NWFA experts, attend workshops and classes. No one has ever made me feel stupid and the information I was able to gain helped me tremendously.
Do you have a tips or tricks about writing inspection reports?
Practice by walking into your living room and write notes about everything you see. Note where the furniture is positioned, the doors are located, anything that would help a reader see what you are currently seeing. Reports are all about being able to put the details you see into words. Second, you have inspector school instructors that are a wealth of information. Reach out, have them read over your reports. You have support to help you in the beginning until you start to get the hang of it.
Oliver Robertson – Southern Floor Designs
Earned Inspector Certification in 2023
What was your background before attending inspector school in 2023?
I started in the construction industry as a teenager helping out at my father’s business in California. When I moved to the east coast a few years ago, I took a position as the Operations Manager at Southern Floor Designs overseeing crews we subcontract out to complete our new build flooring installations. I realized that the installation environment in California was much different than the east coast.
How did you balance a busy work schedule with the requirements of inspector school?
I set goals every week to complete a certain amount of courses in the online University. This helped me stay on track for the 6 months prior to inspector school in September. I tried to have all of the learning paths for intermediate school completed before attending the in person course to stay on schedule.
What advice would you give about the online inspector test?
Read the technical publications before taking the test. Review all of the guidelines they covered in the in person courses. Be familiar with where to find information in your tech publications to reference during the test if you aren’t sure about an answer. Just doing this leg work the weekend before helped me pass the test on the first attempt with time to spare.
What did you enjoy most about inspector school?
The ability to ask questions without judgment. Questions were encouraged and the discussions provided me with a wealth of information. I also enjoyed getting the opportunity to network with my peers along the way. I made great connections with the students are instructors.
How do you plan to use your certification moving forward?
The class had made me a more confident manager and I feel I understand the flooring process in much greater depth. My hope is to complete one report a month to stay fresh with my writing skills. Eventually, I might consider inspecting full time, but for now I am grateful that the experience has made me stronger in my current role.