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New Coatings Demand New Credentials

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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Commercial coatings technology is advancing faster than the skills of the painters who apply it, stepping up the need for applicator certification and training, says the man who is leading that charge.

Today's functional coatings are an integral part of the building system and must be properly applied to function as designed, according to Jeff Theo, vice president of business development at Vulcan Painters, of Bessemer, AL.

Technology Publishing Company

As the chair of SSPC’s commercial contractor certification subcommittee, Theo is involved in the development of SSPC-ACS 1, “Application Certification Standard 1,” as well as the revisions to SSPC-QP-9, “Standard for Evaluating Qualifications of Paint Contractors Who Apply Architectural Coatings.”

Last week, Theo made his case for certification and training at D+D 2014. He also recently discussed the topic  with Durability + Design in this video.

Traditional contractors who do commercial coating work are predominantly “brush and roll” painters and “are not ready to handle the new technology,” Theo said.

“They need a source for training and new business practices to ensure that the coatings are applied properly.”

Who Benefits?

Advancement in coatings technology is running years ahead of the development of the skill required to put them on, Theo says.

Creating a body of knowledge, qualifications and certification standards for the workforce will provide a number of benefits to the industry, he adds.

D+D 2014 audience

Jeff Theo was among the presenters who received a warm welcome last week at the D+D 2014 Conference and Expo in Cincinnati, OH.

“First, the industry is going to get a more qualified workforce. The specifiers are going to get assurance that the products they specify are put on properly. The buildings are going to work as [designed].

“More importantly, it’s a great new career opportunity for high school and younger people who may not think of a trade as a viable means of employment in the future,” Theo said.

D+D 2014 Presentation

At D+D 2014, Theo presented “Building a Case for Commercial Contractor and Applicator Certifications.”

There, he explained the benefits of certification for contractors and applicators and the benefits of specifying these standards for owners, specifiers and coating suppliers.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Certifications and standards; Coatings Technology; Coatings technology; Color; Commercial Buildings; Commercial contractors; Design; Painters; Specifiers

Comment from Gregory Stoner, (5/29/2014, 3:27 PM)

I think it is a great idea on developing certifications for contractors and their workers. More important though is educating inspectors so that the public gets what it is paying for. So many times I hear that the job requires a primer and two coats of finish but the workers are pushed so hard that they settle for two coats weather it be two coats of finish(more likely) or a tinted prime and one coat of finish. To many times there isn't enough over sight.

Comment from Rodney White, (5/30/2014, 9:49 AM)

I agree that there is an overwhelming need for comprehensive training to properly apply today's coatings. Not only the high-performance coatings used on buildings, but even in "everyday" coatings used for interior spaces. We have seen technological changes in the makeup of paint products, driven by the regulatory environment, resulting in products that now possess application properties that require training in order to properly install. There is no shortage of contractors willing to train their workers and prepare them for certification, but to what end? Unlike the engineering community that designs assets for industrial environments ( and thus establish very high standards for both coatings to protect the assets, and the contractors who apply those coatings), the architectural construction community is driven by cost. Because of that, those contractors who incur the cost of training, must somehow recover those costs, and thus find it difficult to compete with the contractor who bids to win the job (and not necessarily to do it correctly). Faced with the added cost of using a contractor who will do the job correctly vs. using the contractor presenting the lowest bid, the low bid will almost always win. The obvious answer would likely be that the States should require certifications or licensing to become a painting contractor, but the last thing our industry needs is more government oversight- there's more than enough as it is. Only when the owners, designers and general contractors demand certifications, will it happen. As coatings manufacturers, we strive to bring new technologies forward, and many times are met with complacent contractors who will default to older technologies because it's familiar, and generally cheaper to purchase. That results in a lower bid price, and.....the rest is obvious. As a representative for a coatings manufacturer, I spend a great deal of my time trying to educate those who specify coatings, as well as teaching those who would apply the coatings. I can only hope that Jeff's and SSPC's efforts get the attention of the construction community, and we can begin to see both an understanding of the new technologies, and a willingness to embrace the practices necessary to produce the desired design results.

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