HomeArticlesWhat are the Benefits of Inspection Classes?
HomeArticlesWhat are the Benefits of Inspection Classes?

What are the Benefits of Inspection Classes?

By Bob Blochinger


Installers can take classes for carpet, LVT/P, resilient sheet goods, laminate, wood, ceramic tile and stone flooring products. Most have a certification designation, once you pass both the hands-on and written tests.

In flooring alone, we have manufacturing, shipping, sales, specification, installation and maintenance as separate, but connected concerns for the end user. Inspectors are trained and educated to perform the correct inspection procedures through independent schools, manufacturers’ classes and association courses.

Any education is worth the time and treasure; it’s how you use it that makes the difference.

The courses and classes offered by any of the above mentioned entities will teach the protocol of performing an inspection, from the first minute you enter the jobsite till submission of your report. You are taught what to look for within the scope of concern, the type of questions to ask, how to gather a history of the claim, interview the various parties as needed, perform non-destructive field testing and then write the report using unbiased, descriptive words free of emotion. (Destructive testing requires written permission, always. As the old saying goes: “you break it; you own it.”)

Typically, you will also visit the manufacturing plants of the various products you are about to inspect, from wood planks to laminate, carpet and all types of resilient. Knowing how the product is made will enhance your understanding of what you are reviewing and the cause of negative concerns. Visiting a plant may also present you with a different understanding of the products you install, as well as other parts of flooring selection and specification.

Once you have seen how a product is made you can start considering its possible limitations. You can look beyond the overselling of it in sales presentations and think in terms of how the consumer believes the product will look once installed. Once its down, maintenance is an important factor, and you will learn the basic procedures in these inspection classes.

Today’s online inspection courses, offered by many organizations, such as the IICRC, will give valuable insight into what a flooring claim is all about. The combined in-person and online classes will teach you the entire claims process, and within your business model you will be able to make the necessary changes to your operation to avoid these negative issues in the future.

Learning how the product is installed is the first step to a claim, in any product. Take substrate classes, with certification. Learn how to prepare any substrate to accept a flooring product, as with the ASTM 710 standards for concrete.

You will also learn what the flooring cleaners and maintenance people do on a daily and regular basis. Your properly completed installation is paramount to the product holding up to this maintenance. Other benefits of inspector classes include learning how a product is manufactured; how the shipping process works, how a product can be damaged by manhandling prior to receiving it, and how to examine the product prior to your acceptance; and the relationship all along the chain from raw material to the finished floor.

Another important benefit, of course, is meeting your peers within the flooring industry.

On a personal note, I attended my first inspector certification school at the Southern Tech School, in Marietta, Ga. I did not plan on becoming a full-time inspector but did want to see what inspectors were looking for when given a claim. I was a successful flooring contractor in the high-end flooring world and wanted to add a credential that would make a better impression on my current and future clients.

This was a successful decision and I advertised it in all my sales, contracts and negotiated bid work. As a certified cleaner of carpet (on commercial projects) and other flooring materials, I was able to offer a training service with every installation as well. I spent 10 years going to a school every year. Since closing the contractor business, I am a full-time inspector, enjoying my own business again and not on my knees all day.

All this effort into education ultimately increased sales, and elevated my company a step above the competition. Stay up-to-date on classes in your area, take some inspection courses, and you can reap the rewards as well.


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