The EIFS Council of Canada is growing up. As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, its next step forward is a big one, mainly because it involves the implementation of a quality assurance program, expected to be launched next winter.
John Garbin, who was hired as the new president May 1, sees the QAP as "a high-water mark” for the industry and the association. Few associations in Canada have ever attempted such an ambitious endeavor.
In a nutshell, the QAP will provide "pre-tested, pre-designed and pre-approved EIFS packages” that should instill confidence in the users of EIFS products, explains Laverne Dalgleish, the consultant who developed the program for the council. Dalgleish is principal of bpc (Building Professionals Consortium) Inc., the Winnipeg-based consultant that will also administer the program.
Garbin expects that once the QAP is well established, the council’s membership list could grow by "100 percent or more a year.” He is confident the QAP will help leapfrog the EIFS Council into a "truly national association” that has members across Canada actively shaping the future of the industry.
The new council president is a good bet to help make that happen. He has 30 years of experience in the building industry and has served in senior management posts with three leading building products companies. He was involved in the start-up and development of a major EIFS manufacturer and played a key role in the formation of the EIFS Council in 1987. Furthermore, he served on the board as the inaugural president and was active in two more terms guiding the industry through difficult times.
"One of the reasons for the QAP is to make sure the design and user communities understand what it is they are specifying and getting,” explains Guido Rapone, chairman of the EIFS Council’s board of directors. Further rationale is to ensure that the execution of the work is well understood and done according to standards.?
Rapone sees the move as "a pioneering one in the development of standards and the methods of dealing with deliverable quality to our clients.”
Dalgleish says there is good reason for other building groups to follow in the EIFS Council’s footsteps. In the past few years the market has seen "tens of thousands” of new construction products, many of which are tricky to install. "We’re seeing some horrendous problems on job sites because of this influx. If building owners knew what they were getting, they would freak out,” Dalgleish says.
Dalgleish suggests that dealing with unfamiliar products is one of the biggest challenges facing the building industry. "I think what the EIFS Council is doing is addressing this through its QAP,” he says.
EIFS are "extremely good products” with a lot of versatility, but not everyone in the building and design community thinks so. "The QAP will move EIFS from a system that had a bad reputation to a system that will be recognized for the benefits it has when the right components are used and they are installed properly,”?he adds.?
The EIFS Council of Canada has more than 100 members, including the leading eight EIFS manufacturers in Canada, plus many major contractors, distributors and a number of top design and inspection consultants.
On another front, the EIFS Council has just completed an overhaul to its Web site. Available in English and French, the new site is more user-friendly. It features a passport-protected link for members only that will cover topical issues affecting the industry. "We are aiming to constantly update it with new items to keep our members informed and connected to the industry and the association,” Garbin says. The site is at www.eifscouncil.org.
About the Author
Don Procter is free-lance writer in Ontario, Canada.