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Why Independent Moisture Testing?

 

               In 2001, ten different Floor Covering Industry trade organizations published a unified statement titled: Floor Covering Industry White Paper Position Statement on Moisture Emission Testing. It states that "Testing by an independent specialist to determine the suitability for installation under current complex conditions is a prudent and necessary safeguard for general contractors, owners and architects". A review of that document clearly demonstrates that there is much more to evaluating the risk of moisture and pH related flooring failure than testing alone. In addition, whether perceived or real, it is a clear conflict of interest for a flooring contractor to conduct testing with a vested financial interest in the outcome of those tests. 

               Having managed many millions of square feet of flooring installation in my career, I have rarely witnessed CaCl, RH and pH testing that was correctly performed—unless I had performed the tests myself. I have also witnessed many millions of dollars in moisture mitigation that was purchased based on inaccurate test results and lack of knowledge. Too many times I have witnessed flooring failures because of inaccurate testing, or no testing at all. That is exactly why I started this company. There is a clear need for accurate and independent moisture testing and the knowledge necessary to avoid unnecessary mitigation and accurately evaluate the risk of flooring failure due to moisture and pH.

               In my 35 years in installation and management, I have had to solve just about every type of flooring failure at least once; and in every case I found that it could have been avoided. When the right construction procedures are followed and the right information and testing data are available at the start; quality, cost-effective construction, and ample time to make cost-impacting decisions are the result.

               With well over 100 years of collective experience in the flooring and construction industries, my staff and I certainly have the capacity to ascertain the causes of flooring failure after the fact. But the truth is, good management is not about putting out fires—it is about fire prevention. Concrete moisture testing is not a sideline for us, it is all we do. We have developed a system that uses ICRI certified field technicians, with expanded training, to ensure that testing and analysis are done according to industry standards with the customer in mind. 

               Because we are independent specialists, we have only one interest: Yours.

Grant E. Crump 

 

 

To all: General ContractorsOwners, and Flooring Retailers

 




General Contractors

                As a contractor, I expect that you are probably knowledgeable about concrete design, the placement process, and the importance of accurate moisture and pH testing to determine the suitability of a slab for flooring installation. You may not, however, appreciate the value of certified independent testing and RH monitoring during the concrete drying process.

  Some questions you may wish to consider:

 

  • Are you relying on test results from someone who is not qualified and putting yourself in the last-minute position of having to purchase thousands of dollars of non-negotiated moisture mitigation? 
  • If a flooring failure occurs, what doubts will be raised during litigation about the use of non-certified or self-performed tests?
  • Is it justifiable, based on non-certified or self-performed tests, to approach the owner just days before flooring installation is scheduled to begin, with a change order request for moisture mitigation?
  • Are you comfortable with the risk of having to maintain staff after turnover for warranty and/or replacement issues?
  • When was the last time you received pH test results with your moisture test results?
  • Did you know that high pH is actually responsible for more flooring failures than moisture?
  • How has the trend toward "Green" concrete impacted the flooring industry? (see "Understanding Moisture and pH")
  • Most importantly, how will these considerations affect your relationship with your customer?

 

 

                These are just a few of the considerations that make it in your best interest to hire an independent testing agency that is knowledgeable and experienced in both the concrete testing, and flooring industries.




Owners


As an owner, you should understand that the concrete components of your structure are the most permanent and, once placed, the least alterable. Yet, on most projects more attention is given to design elements such as wallpaper, carpet, and furniture than the ensuring that the most fundamental part of their project—the concrete—is designed, mixed, placed, and cured properly.

Becoming even minimally involved in this process can accomplish two important things: 

 

  • It greatly reduces the risk of flooring failures and the associated costs due to lost revenue and litigation.
  • It can reduce or eliminate the cost of expensive unneeded moisture mitigation, because when/if it is needed, you can allow for a timely, negotiated implementation.

 

The time to address possible moisture and pH failure of your flooring is during the design process. Review of concrete mix designs, under-slab construction, and seasonal water tables alone will go a long way in enabling your builder to accurately assess and manage your risks and eliminate last minute mitigation costs and after-occupation flooring failures.

By insisting on independent, certified moisture and pH testing, you can accurately assess your risks and enable your builder to be a more effective advocate on your behalf; thus ensuring the most superior, durable, and cost-effective flooring installation possible.




Flooring Retailers

               To be frank, flooring retailers have the most to lose when flooring fails. I am sure that every flooring retailer is acutely aware that the general contractors and owners are rarely liable for the costs incurred in the event of flooring failure. We all know how the contract documents read, plainly put: In the event of a failure, the retailer is assumed guilty until proven innocent.

               I have seen many good companies suffer, or even go under, as a result of large scale flooring failures. I believe wholeheartedly that such failures could have been prevented with the right information and accurate, independent testing.

               With this in mind, it is certainly in your best interest to have your risks accurately assessed and certified by independent testing and analysis. From personal experience, I can tell you that I know exactly how it feels to be the "point man" when conditions are not right for the installation of flooring, and how perceived conflict-of-interest can damage relationships between flooring retailers and their customers. Do not put yourself in that position. There few things more valuable in business than risk assessment and customer relations. Independent certified testing and analysis, by a qualified testing agency, accomplishes both.

 
              We offer ourselves as a testing agency that will help you accurately assess and manage your risks in the ever-changing construction and flooring installation landscape.





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