System Warranties Require Following Manufacturer Specifications

Mike Taylor / August 2016

I hope this message finds everyone doing well.
On the good news front, as I travel around the country speaking with contractors, I understand business continues to be good. Bidding activity is strong. Backlogs help us rest a little easier at night, and the outlook is for more of the same over the balance of the year. With the presidential election looming in the fall, who knows what will happen in 2017? But as we say in the south, “Let’s make hay while the sun shines.”
On the not so good news front, I am very concerned for part of our industry. As many of you know, our company has done EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems) for many years, along with plaster and stucco. I see a trend in my region and around the country where some contractors use a base coat from one manufacturer, mesh from another and finish from yet a third. The shift away from a single-source manufacturer, which all specifications call for, is not only risky from a liability and warranty standpoint, it is unethical from my viewpoint.
Who is watching? Is the architect aware? In some cases they have specification writers who may not know what is going on. And most general contractors are not aware or show no concern. They trust that the trade contractors are qualified to make the best decisions. But when problems arise, finger-pointing begins.
What about the manufacturers selling the products? Yes, they have a system in place. All applicators are required to go through a training class to be certified. Is this being done, and who is overseeing this?
What about the distributors’ role? Who are they selling to, and are they enforcing the manufacturer’s rules on training and certification? Would we be seeing this trend if all rules were being followed? What is the penalty for not following the rules? Manufacturers and distributors can void their agreement with trade contractors and stop selling to them, but under pressure to make sales, will they abide by the rules?
We need a system with integrity, where contractors, suppliers and manufacturers all have responsibility to make sure projects are delivered as specified, warranties are maintained and shortcuts are not taken. Let us all do the right thing.

In addition to being 2016–2017 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Taylor is executive vice president of Liddle Bros. Contractors, Inc. in Nashville, Tenn.