Two national flooring associations, the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and the Flooring Contractors Association (FCICA) have endorsed a position statement on floor flatness tolerances written by the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC).  Members of both associations will use the document to help resolve this ongoing construction issue.

The statement explains that flooring contractors (Division 9) and concrete contractors (Division 3) measure floor flatness by different means.  In addition, floor flatness changes with time, due to a process called curling.  Curling makes it impossible to predict what the flatness of a slab will be when the floor coverings are installed.  

The solution to this, the associations agree, is for the owner to provide a bid allowance, established by the designer and based on the floor covering requirements, for grinding and patching necessary to close the gap between Division 3 tolerances and Division 9 tolerances.

“The difference between how Division 3 and Division 9 measure floor flatness, and the changes that occur in a concrete slab between pouring and the time the floor covering is applied, have been the source of many arguments, much misspent time and numerous lawsuits,” says Paul Albanelli, president of ASCC.

“For the first time, instead of disagreeing, the two sides have come together to find a common solution to a problem that has cost both sides hundreds of thousands of dollars in rework,” adds Edward Korczak, executive director/CEO of NWFA.

“We believe an allowance in the bid would accomplish two things,” says Ward Malisch, technical director of ASCC.  “First, it would cover the cost of the patching and grinding that is almost always required.  Second, it brings the issue to the attention of the owner and designer early on, hopefully forcing them to acknowledge that the point in question does in fact exist.”

“Many members of the ASCC have successfully used this Position Statement to drive home this point with owners,” says Albanelli.  “We believe a joint statement from Division 3 and Division 9 contractors will carry even more weight.  The intent of all three organizations is that it will be used to make the construction process go more smoothly for all involved.”

The Position Statement may be read online  To purchase a copy call (866) 788-2722.