EIFS Council Gets Its Man

Don Procter

May 2006

The EIFS Council of Canada has lost its president but gained an executive director.

Kevin Day resigned from the post of president in March. The seat is held by a company, not an individual, and Day has left DuRock Alfacing International Limited to take on a job at Halsall Associates Limited. A decision on whether to appoint a new president or leave the seat empty hadn’t been made a press time.

Meanwhile, after talking about it for years, the council has finally hired a full-time executive director. He is Peter Burdon, former executive director of the Ontario Concrete Block Association.

Promoting exterior insulation and finish systems as a green-friendly product will likely be a high priority for Burdon. "Frankly,” he says, "I see this job as a marketer’s dream” because of EIFS’ energy efficiency.”

But pitching the cladding system to the design world might not be as easy as Burdon might hope. Many architects dismiss EIF systems all together. There are several reasons why. John Smith, national sales manager of Dryvit Systems Canada and a member of the EIFS Council board, says architects see contractors as a "rag-tag bunch of disorganized people.” The problem is while some contractors meet high installation standards, others don’t.

To get every contractor working to a common high standard is a challenge. That is where the ECC’s Quality Assurance Program is a key. "If you structure the installation in such a way that you don’t get any deviations, corner-cutting and so on, then I think you will appeal to architects in a way we don’t today,” points out Smith.

The QAP’s success rides on architects regularly requesting it, but that is not happening now. Smith says more contractors must get on side before architects accept the QAP as the norm. One area that EIFS might cash in on is where owners are chasing LEED certification. "Our Web site should very clearly say what (LEED) points are available when an architect specifies EIFS,” Smith says.

Another task for Burdon is the creation of a database that might include a breakdown of where and how much EIFS is installed across Canada. The Council’s Web site might also contain a life-cycle analysis of EIFS. Assuming an EIF system is well-designed and maintained, it should easily last more than 25 years with only a paint-like recoating required for color fading.

In the United States, research into the long-term performance of EIFS is being conducted at several labs including a facility in South Carolina that is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The design and upkeep of a building are major factors in EIFS’ long-term performance, says John Edgar. In Europe, 40-year-old EIF systems are still going strong.

Burdon’s job also will include forging ties with wall and ceiling associations in B.C. and Alberta. The idea is to get everyone on the same track so the council isn’t seen as Ontario-centric.

Funding for Burdon’s post is through a new tiered fee structure that hikes membership dues substantially. Contractors pay $500 (Cdn.) to $1,500 in annual dues, depending on company size. Of the 60 or so members in the EIFS Council, eight are manufacturers and 27 are contractors. Other members include suppliers and distributors of EIFS-related products.

As for Day, he says the move to Halsall is an opportunity to get back into work he loves—building forensics. He will also be implementing strategic business development initiatives for the firm. Day will continue to participate in the ECC in a technical capacity.

About the Author
Don Procter is free-lance writer in Ontario, Canada.