The UBC's elite floor covering program, INSTALL, continues its successful expansion throughout the south.
The International Standards and Training Alliance (INSTALL) first made news in 2016 throughout the Southern District's 11-state region by announcing the UBC's first district-wide collective bargaining agreement. By growing its membership base this past year, INSTALL is now positioned to bring even more contractors into the fold. Recently, INSTALL set a goal of establishing at least six new Southern INSTALL contractors in 2018.
The signature INSTALL service mark - maintaining its focus on council-to-council and contractor support - provides contractors with the opportunity to enter viable construction markets and establish new offices, allowing for additional revenue streams. It is also an opportunity to bring additional training and certification to the Southern labor pool.
“As the most endorsed and specified training program in the industry, INSTALL is able to leverage long-standing manufacturer partnerships to bring together field know-how and in-depth product expertise,” said John McGrath, executive director at INSTALL. “For newer markets like Texas, this means contractors will now have access to trained and certified journeymen and will be able to train the next generation of expert installers.”
INSTALL’s expansion into the Texas market was spearheaded by a joint partnership that included the Central South and St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Councils and INSTALL Warranty Contractor, Image Flooring. Kansas City-based Image Flooring wanted to create a presence and workforce in Texas. The company already had a large presence throughout the Central US, but without certified installers in Texas they were unable to tap into the thriving construction market.
“It’s the chicken and the egg scenario,” said Jim Wilkinson, vice president of Image Flooring. “You need trained and certified installers to win bids and work on specific projects, but you also need to secure the projects and provide jobs to attract trained and certified installers.”
“Image Flooring and INSTALL approached us to hold training sessions and open houses at several training centers,” said Jason Engels, executive secretary treasurer of the Central South Carpenters Regional Council. “Thanks to their unique relationship with the St. Louis – Kansas City Regional Council of Carpenters, they were able to bring INSTALL certified instructors to Texas. This was an extremely important step as we did not have any instructors at the time,” he added.
The Central South Carpenters Regional Council and Texas Carpenters and Millwrights Training Fund were fully supportive of the newly formed partnership and began recruiting from inside the flooring industry in the Dallas and Houston market to secure trainers and apprentices. INSTALL training, from apprentices to full journeypersons, started in July 2016. Image Flooring also sends certified installers to supplement specific jobs depending on need, which cements the company’s willingness to support INSTALL’s expansion efforts.
“The individuals that stepped up have been instrumental in training and have been extremely receptive to the transitions,” said Engels. “It’s been a true partnership with Image Flooring and INSTALL. Building a new workforce in a new state has been a monumental task. You need to provide a trained and skilled workforce to help create market share, and that’s exactly what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Added Image Flooring’s Wilkinson: “Everyone working together and towards a common goal is our biggest strength. “We have the collective tools, training and understanding to overcome any hurdle we face during this new and exciting time.”
News of the Southern expansion is also being covered by the flooring trade media.
INSTALL is an alliance of major flooring manufacturers, contractors and professional installers across the U.S. and Canada. It consists of a comprehensive training and certification program for its floor covering installers, and a marketing program for its alliance members. Certifications and trainings are based on the direction and continued review of floor covering mills and manufactures making it the most endorsed and recommended training programs in the industry. With a demonstrated commitment to quality installation, INSTALL provides the only additional, extended, free, non-proprietary and third-party installation warranty on labor of $25,000 and two years. Learn more about the INSTALL Warranty on Labor program at www.installfloors.org/warranty. For more information on INSTALL, visit www.installfloors.org.