EIFS Council Shifts Gears

Don Procter

October 2006

About half a year ago I wrote a column about the EIFS Council of Canada and its new executive director Peter Burdon. Since those winter days in Toronto, Burdon and council directors have been busy, shifting gears and steering the group in a new direction.

Topping the priority list is making the council a "truly national” association, explains Burdon. To accomplish that, the new board has 14 members (the old one had nine) who represent all major regions in Canada. Improved representation is particularly important in the west where construction is booming. Board members will serve two years.

Burdon and the new board (Guido Rapone of Durabond Products Limited was elected president of the council in July) have lofty goals. The council’s budget, like its membership, is projected to grow sizably in the coming year. Right now, there are 45 member companies, eight of which are manufacturers, but Burdon and the new-look EIFS Council board members project that it can double membership in a year.

In July, four new members signed up: Composite Building Systems Inc. of Edmonton; Skeates Construction of Burlington, Ont.; Richter Lukenhaus, a major European manufacturer and one of several sellers of mesh products; and Canex Wall Systems represented by Nic Faienza who some of you may recall is with Toronto-based Granolite Company Ltd.

One of the key objectives of the new EIFS Council is to increase its involvement with architects. The reason is simple: "We want to grow as a cladding alternative but we can’t grow if they don’t know about us or they are not comfortable designing with us,” explains Burdon. To improve relations, the council will host design competitions and organize seminars for architects. In Alberta, for example, members have set up a seminar for the design community at the upcoming Buildex Calgary this November. It is the city’s largest conference and expo for real estate management.

Burdon says the council polled 500 architects and designers on their interest in EIFS. The response was "overwhelmingly positive.” The council now has more than 2,500 architects, designers and specifiers in its computer database.

Another objective is to implement the Quality Assurance Program. It’s been tough getting the QAP out of the starting gate, largely because the council didn’t have national representation.

On another front, Burdon has the council’s new Web site up and running. It features a section for architects and engineers on the latest technical information on EIFS, upcoming design competitions and where to access people at the council. Plans also include running a "contractor of the month” feature that looks at various member firms and their operations. Visit the site at, www.eifscouncil.org.

The new board includes John Smith from Dryvit Systems Canada as vice president and Rafael Bao of Adex Systems Inc. as treasurer. Five new members are contractors from across Canada and six others are manufacturers. The three other members represent distributors, consultants and component manufacturers. All of the old members of the board remain, as their positions fit well with the new composition, says Burdon. Chris Gater of BASF, who served as interim president will continue to work on the Council’s behalf on important initiatives, Burdon says.

Meanwhile, the number of EIFS installations is growing and most members report sales increases as well as rising levels of interest from designers. Most growth is in the residential sector, and indications are that EIF systems are displacing more conventional brick and wood siding as claddings, especially on larger, higher priced homes, points out Burdon.

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