A little over a year ago, leading contractors including Superior Tile & Stone, recognized that field employees – irrespective of their years in the trade, their labor affiliation, or the quality of their initial training – need continuing education with respect to new products and related means of installation.
The two largest tile employer associations, Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA) and National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) joined together with the International Masonry Institute (IMI) and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts (IUBAC) to develop a series of certifications that will help distinguish the skilled tile installer from the less-skilled. The program is known as ACT. ACT is a new set of certifications that recognize the importance of qualified installers and the role that the installers play in the success of any tile project.
The current specialty areas of ACT are: large format tile floors/substrate preparation, mud work, shower pans, and membranes. It is anticipated that additional areas will be added as the program expands. In order to be eligible for certification, an installer must be experienced (completion of BAC/IMI apprenticeship program and/or training provided by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), and then the installer must then pass a written exam and a hands-on test related to each specialty area.
Recent editions of the TCNA Handbook as well as Arcom MasterSpec recommend requiring qualified tile installers, such as those certified under ACT. Superior Tile & Stone has the largest number of ACT certified installers in the United States.