Whether You’re a Design or Construction Professional, Your Success is NTMA’s Success
The National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA) is more than a guild of contractors and suppliers. It’s a team of like-minded professionals, collaborating to reach a shared goal: successful terrazzo installations and more of them.
Founded in 1923, NTMA’s role in setting and enforcing industry standards protects the interests, not only of its members, but of anyone who has a stake in the success of a terrazzo installation.
NTMA serves as a reliable third-party resource for all players in the industry. In addition to supporting its current 158 member companies, NTMA’s full range of services extends to design professionals, architects, general contractors, maintenance professionals, and building owners. From helping architects put specifications together to providing technical assistance at any stage of a project, NTMA’s purpose is to orchestrate quality terrazzo installations.
“NTMA sets standards and holds terrazzo contractors to the highest national standards,” said Anna Tatman of Rosa Mosaic, an NTMA member company since 1938. “The NTMA brings credibility and legitimacy to terrazzo businesses, providing architects, owners, and contractors with the comfort in knowing their terrazzo contractor will install to the highest industry standards.”
Supplying a list of prequalified contractors and material suppliers to the industry is a central element of NTMA’s role. The purpose is to ensure impeccable installations.
“It’s probably one of the most stringent membership processes in the construction industry,” noted Mark Fowler, Executive Director of NTMA.
“Can they do a quality job?” is the primary question addressed in the performance-based screening process for membership candidates. NTMA’s role is to support and promote those elite companies that have proven their ability to produce quality work, explained NTMA Technical Director Gary French.
Mr. French hears the occasional complaint from membership candidates, he reported, mainly about the length of the two-year application process. Some have also objected that the application process doesn’t take into account an individual’s previous work experience at other companies. For a new company, the level of skill of its installers still has to be proven, Mr. French explained.
“That’s what it’s all about: it takes craftsmanship, experience, attention to detail,” he said. “It’s a real team effort. It doesn’t depend on the experience of just one person.”
Advice for the Asking
As the authoritative resource on terrazzo, NTMA offers assistance to design professionals to achieve their goals. Complete specifications, color palette, swatch book, reference guide, and information on sustainability, lifecycle, and public art are available on the association’s website or by request.
Personalized technical guidance from the Technical Director on the installation of terrazzo and related issues is also freely available to all parties on an NTMA member project. On staff with NTMA since 2013, Mr. French is a 40-year veteran of the flooring industry and has presented over 300 American Institute of Architects (AIA) seminars on terrazzo. He’s also developed numerous epoxy formulas, primers, and membranes. Mr. French has been a member of the NTMA technical committee since 1992, as well as a presenter, on topics ranging from resinous materials to concrete, for the Construction Specifications Institute
He estimates that he spends about half his time facilitating the specifications process with architects. He explains the differences between systems and answers questions about everything from timelines to color options, from strip placement and water-jet cut elements to moisture mitigation. His goal? That designers produce solid specs for terrazzo and that the job goes out to bid with NTMA members.
If an owner or architect doubts the contractor’s methodology or the sequencing of the job, NTMA is also a reliable resource for a second opinion.
How NTMA Member Resources Serve You
The Association’s technical seminar is a highly anticipated yearly event that brings member companies together to share knowledge and learn new techniques.
In September 2018, 275 individuals representing 70 companies attended.
The seminars, covering a wide range of topics, help contractors avoid problems. For example, John Blakley of NTMA member Blakley Corporation reported that as a result of information learned at a technical seminar, he changed the specification in a 280,000-square-foot installation in an airport to avoid a potential problem.
The association also continually produces technical bulletins to keep contractors on the cutting edge of advances and regulatory trends. To meet new OSHA regulations on silica, for example, NTMA established the required exposure control plan for members.
“No one can put a price on the significance of learning from others’ trials and errors,” said NTMA member contractor Rick Crouch of DESCO Coatings. “These invaluable guides keep us from the expensive process of ‘reinventing the wheel.’”
The NTMA’s seminars and annual conventions also provide contractors opportunities to talk shop with colleagues.
“Having the ability to draw on the collective experience of the NTMA membership is not only good for the individual contractor, but it is also good for the terrazzo industry as a whole,” noted Warren Kvistberg of Custom Terrazzo.
For example, on NTMA’s 2016 Job of the Year, a 70,000-square-foot public art installation in the Pittsburgh airport, installers employed an innovative method of transferring the complex strip layout to the floor. The contractor shared the technique with the entire membership.
“Reasons to join NTMA? People!” said Lyndon Kelsey of supplier member company Husqvarna Construction Products. “It’s filled with people who want to promote the betterment of the industry. The members are all sharers; they accept and give advice freely to help everyone succeed.”
“I hire people who are smarter than me” explained Brett Rizzi of Gallery Painting, a newer member. “Any job can be done; I just need to find someone who’s done it. The old-timers know tricks we can learn from. Is it worth the two-year process? By far! I’d do it again, and I recommend it to anybody.”
To be considered for NTMA membership, a company must:
- Have been engaged in the installation of terrazzo for at least two years under its current structure and ownership.
- Have completed at least five poured-in-place terrazzo jobs in the past two years as installing contractor of record, using its own employees and under its current structure and ownership.
- Identify and explain any substantial difficulties in completing a job satisfactorily.
- Propose projects for inspection by NTMA’s Technical Director, who also talks to the project architect and GC for their evaluations of the company’s performance.
- Attend two technical seminars and complete an 8-hour onsite education course.