Advancing the EIFS Industry
The Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Falls Church, Va., announces the 10th anniversary of its exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS) education and certificate program, EIFS—Doing It Right®. More than 4,400 individuals have been certified during the first ten years, and additional programs have been developed as the industry embraces its advances.
At the ten-year mark, there are live courses leading to certification in three categories, self-study DVD instruction on generic EIFS applications and a corporate recognition registry just for EIFS contractors.
Originally developed to meet the need for generic education and certification for EIFS mechanics, the program has expanded well beyond that to meet the increasing demand from the industry to certify independent inspectors, as well as industry professionals such as general contractors, distributors, architects and engineers. Education is provided through attendance at a two-day instructor-led course or through DVD and workbook format with proctored, objective examinations administered to assess knowledge of program content. Separately, and reaching beyond the intended audience of EIFS contractors, a variety of organizations within and auxiliary to the EIFS industry have used AWCI's programs in one manner or another.
Michael Heering of F.L. Crane & Sons, a large EIFS contractor with companies in four states, says the program is one of the company's best tools on several counts: "We can see the difference in the work between those who have been through the program and not. There have been multiple occasions when the applicators have corrected themselves or other applicators. This tool affects our company's quality and bottom line." He goes on to say, "On a broader level, it's a tool the industry in general can use as a policing device. There are lots of qualified mechanics; however, there are others who are doing work that gives EIFS a bad rap. This is a way of identifying those who are trained and tested; we need a smarter work force to keep EIFS viable."
Nancy Roylance, who directs the program for AWCI, supports his assertion: "We're hearing more and more that applicators can't get on the job without 'the card,' meaning our wallet certificates. EIFS contractors are getting their applicators educated through the self-study program, and are going themselves to the courses. The program took off during the first five years. What started as voluntary credential is becoming more and more essential in just ten years."
The level of industry "buy- in" is also evidenced by the huge increase of By-Request Programs. Contractors, GCs, architect/engineer companies, design build teams distributors, and professional associations are coming forward to request EIFS education and certification at their location for large groups of customers, members or employees.
Also celebrating an anniversary is the EIFSmart Contractor Seal launched five years ago. This distinction is awarded to companies that meet requirements regarding percentage of certified employees. Almost 200 companies have achieved the distinction thus far, with still more in the process.
Roylance is not surprised by the immediate interest in this recognition credential: "Contractors want that competitive edge and the negotiating power with insurance companies. Architects have started specifying EIFSmart Contractors, and we expect that to build as awareness of this recognition spreads within and beyond the EIFS industry. EIFSmart is an objective indicator of a company's commitment to quality EIFS installation, education and certification. The wider construction industry and consumers value that knowledge."
Since 1918, AWCI has been serving wall and ceiling contractors, manufacturers, suppliers/distributors and others allied to the fields of acoustics, drywall, EIFS, fireproofing, insulation, plaster, steel framing, stucco and many other interior and exterior applications. The EIFS education and certificate program was developed in 1998 and has educated more than 5,600 individuals according to industry standards since then.