Were you aware that expert tile installers and contractors play a critical role in tile installation best practices and standards?
An example of this is the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Technical Committee where qualified tile contractors actively participate.
Meet James Woelfel, NTCA Technical Committee Chairman
We caught up with James Woelfel, chairman of the NTCA Technical Committee and vice president of Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co., of Mesa, Arizona. We wanted to learn more about the organization and how it integrates so seamlessly with other critical Tile Industry installation resources, two of which include the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook and the ANSI Standards.
James is very active in the industry, not just with the Technical Committee, but also as past president of the NTCA, as NTCA representative on the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook Committee, and a member of the ANSI ASC 108 Committee.
As the article titled Artcraft Granite Marble & Tile Co.’s James Woelfel Named NTCA Tile Person of the Year mentions,
"... Woelfel is a tireless advocate for strengthening industry standards and methods."
And, by the way, James' company Artcraft Granite, Marble & Tile Co. is a model for tile installation best practices. It has earned the Five-Star Contractor designation from the NTCA by meeting criteria for the highest standards in installation performance, ethics, education, and peer review.
And, the company proudly employs Certified Tile Installers (CTIs) who successfully completed the testing provided by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF).
Qualified Tile Contractors and the NTCA Technical Committee
CTEF: James, what is the NTCA Technical Committee?
JW: The NTCA Technical Committee was established in 1985. I have been involved for 18 years and 15 years as chairman.
The Committee is charged with editing, updating, and fine-tuning the NTCA Reference Manual since new technologies, methods, and products all impact the experience, practice, and outcome of tile and stone installations.
The NTCA Reference Manual is a well-respected companion document to the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation and ANSI standards.
The Committeeprimaryily focuses on and concerns itself with developing documents that assist tile contractors in problem prevention and resolution and to support improved communication and professionalism with their customers.
We identify recurring job site problems in the field and address them through regularly scheduled meetings.
CTEF: Who participates in the NTCA Technical Committee?
JW: The Technical Committee is made up of NTCA tile contractors, along with manufacturer representatives, tile consultants, trade associations including the TCNA, TCAA, CTDA, and TTMCA. All are leading representatives from the entire tile industry.
For example, some of the people on the Technical Committee include the chairman of the ANSI 108 committee (Chris Walker), the executive director of the TCNA (Eric Astrachan), the president of the NTCA (Martin Brookes), and past presidents of the NTCA (Martin Howard, Dan Welch, Nyle Wadford, and John Cox), and director of certification and training at CTEF (Scott Carothers).
CTEF: How does the Technical Committee interact with other tile industry committees and associations?
JW: The Technical Committee used to be a conduit from NTCA tile contractors to the TCNA Handbook Committee. The NTCA then developed the Standards and Methods Committee which is now the conduit to the TCNA Handbook.
The Technical Committee works with the Standards and Methods Committee to provide them with some ideas on which tile standards need to be looked at or developed. We have had closed-door meetings dealing with new technology and the development of new particular standards but this is now a rare occurrence.
CTEF: What makes this work so valuable?
JW: The majority of this committee is made up of tile contractors, so the ideas usually come from tile contractors to either bring attention to an issue, solve an issue or provide information for a tile contractor to keep themselves out of job-specific issues.
Literally, to me, this manual saves you money or puts it in your back pocket.
CTEF: How integral is the NTCA Technical Committee for best practices and specifications?
JW: Without standards and best practices, we, as professional tile contractors cannot separate ourselves from our competition. Best practices also keep us out of installation and job site issues.
Again, this comes down to keeping more money in your pocket, continuing your education, and, frankly, being at the top of your profession.
CTEF: How does this work fit into TCNA Handbook?
JW: The NTCA Reference Manual follows all applicable TCNA and ANSI methods; it also goes into written detail in a cause, cure, and prevention framework in order to explain some of the nuances involved in a properly installed tile application.
It also explains what the symptoms are of a poor tile application.
If you haven't already, you should order your own NTCA Reference Manual!
CTEF: Thank you, James.
Now that you know the important role qualified tile contractors play in the NTCA Technical Committee, please tell us your thoughts.
Note: We originally published this article on 02/28/2017, and have updated it.