Why are Flooring Contractors Responsible for Concrete Moisture Vapor Emissions Testing? The Time for Change is Long Overdue!
During his meeting with the architect, George recalled, he suggested “that concrete moisture vapor emission and surface pH testing should not be part of a floor covering contractor’s responsibility. Instead, the testing should be specified in the same section as other construction-related testing, and performed by an outside agency reporting to the general contractor and/or building owner. The architect agreed and asked me to write a specification that he could use for future projects.”
Wow. That is a breath of fresh air!
George accepted the architect’s challenge, and developed and wrote such a specification. “Most floor covering contractors or dealers want nothing to do with moisture testing,” he explained, “and they should not be responsible for performing these tests.” (I should note that George has considerable experience and excellent credentials, built up during his more than 25 years in the industry. He held key positions with manufacturers, distributors and a moisture-control firm before he started his own company. George has always been known as a man who emphasizes proper installation.)
“After all,” he continued, “concrete quality testing is not performed by the concrete contractor. Steel weld testing is not performed by the structural steel contractor. Why then should a floor covering contractor be responsible to test for moisture vapor emission from a concrete slab?
“The CRI Standard for Installation of Commercial Carpet — CRI 104, section 6.3 — requires an owner or general contractor to submit a report to the floor covering contractor regarding slab moisture and surface alkalinity.”
Note that the CRI document requires the owner or general contractor to submit a report to the floor covering contractor regarding slab moisture and surface alkalinity. Pretty cut and dried. The problem, George said, has been no enforcement of this requirement.
So, where do we go from here? “If the architectural, design and construction communities will embrace this test standard, there will be far fewer moisture-related floor covering failures,” he said. “Proper testing, performed under proper conditions, reported directly to the owner and/or general contractor, should encourage pro-active remedial treatment of non-compliant slabs before a floor is installed.” (For more information, go to George’s website, at www.moisturetesting.com, and click on the “Test Specification” link.)
Floor covering contractors and dealers who typically have good relationships with architects, general contractors, owners, and managers could be able to convince these clients to move the testing away from the floor covering contractor’s responsibility.
But the real key is for our industry is to stand up and speak out. We have strong, knowledgeable industry associations — with manufacturers, retailers, contractors, installation contractors and distributors as members — which, by combining their efforts, could bring about this much-needed change.
Where do you stand on this issue? Your opinions are welcome. You can e-mail them to me at email@example.com, fax to (818) 224-8042, or write National Floor Trends at 22801 Ventura Blvd. #115, Woodland Hills, CA 91364.