Claims file: Standards update

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by Lew Migliore

The Carpet Inspectors Reference Guide is being rewritten as a new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard. ANSI is a private, non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems and personnel in the United States. These standards ensure that the characteristics and performance of products are consistent, that people use the same definitions and terms, and that products are tested the same way.

This undertaking addresses the long overdue update of this guide and is actually a new document. I have the honor and privilege of being vice chairman of the new standard committee along with representatives of the three largest carpet manufacturers, inspectors, installation experts and many other wonderful volunteers. In the process of selecting the committee members, we wanted to make sure, if a standard was to be written, the carpet industry had to be involved from all aspects. It was important—imperative really—for manufacturers to be involved since most claims are filed against them; they volunteered immediately when asked.

There are 14 chapters of the guideline which include:

  • How to write an inspection report
  • Commissioning party guidelines (which should bring standardization to what is required of the inspector and the commissioning party)
  • What makes a professional textile flooring inspector and conducting the inspection
  • Inspection tools which includes those for not only routine inspections but for all types of testing equipment and repair services
  • Types of complaints which include, spots, stains, soil, bond failure, poor performance, appearance retention, shedding, fuzzing and tuft issues, general fading and color change and loss issues, shading, pooling/water-marking, pile reversal and side match
  • Testing, both in the field and in labs
  • Authorizing corrections and repairs
  • Photography, and
  • Manufacturing defects, which covers visible and latent defects, odors, product damage and a myriad of other things.

The document should be completed by the first quarter of 2012 and will have to pass ANSI certification. After that there will be work to do, which is also currently under way, on the courses which teach, train and certify carpet inspectors.

Also at this time the S600 is being written which will be the new carpet installation standard. This document has participation from carpet mills, installation groups, residential and commercial flooring groups, ancillary manufacturers and independent organizations such as LGM. It will also be an ANSI standard.

Once these standards are put in place we should be able to eliminate many of the problems with textile floor covering materials and their installation. Everyone in the industry will be on the same page with uniform and conformed training, and warranties will then be based on the product being installed by a certified installer, inspected by a certified inspector and maintained by certified cleaners.

Following these standards, we expect other segments of the flooring industry will follow. Talk has already begun. Given that, also, much of the acquired knowledge will be lost when the current “boomer” generation vacates the market, there will have to be in- formation, standards and guidelines for those who follow. I have made sure that LGM is as involved as we can be in these new standards and you can be sure that we will be here to help you with whatever concerns, issues or problems you have now.

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