DCN ARCHIVES

June 3, 2009

EIFS components being prefabricated in the Edmonton plant of Composite Building Systems Inc.

Quality Assurance

EIFS Council quality assurance program is a first for cladding systems

Trial underway on seniors’ residence

This summer, the EIFS Council of Canada will launch its quality assurance program (QAP) in Ontario (rollout in other provinces will occur in the fall) under the trademark EIFS Quality Assurance Program Inc. (EQI). It is the first QAP for any building cladding type in North America, according to the council.

Meanwhile, a shorter quasi trial for the program is under way in Muskoka. It will see the installation of about 17,000 square feet of EIFS on a four-storey seniors’ residence being built in Gravenhurst.

The job will be closely watched by the EIFS Council to ensure the EQI elements the architect does incorporate into specs are fulfilled during EIFS installation, says John Garbin, president of the EIFS Council.

The project is by Kitchener-based Robert J. Dyck Architect & Engineer Incorporated, which has designed about 60 retirement complexes (many with EIFS) in southern and eastern Ontario.

Dyck chose the EQI because it lays out a controlled process to ensure consistent and proper design and installation for the EIFS, he says. That process will give any architect confidence that a project’s contractor (regardless of where the job is in Canada) is qualified to complete the job to the program’s stringent specifications.

The EQI will also make life easier for architects because only contractors certified under the program will be able to bid EQI contracts, adds Garbin.

The EIFS Council’s long-term goal is to see the EQI applied to every EIFS job in Canada. “Whether we end up having 100 or 100,000 projects, we want to ensure that the highest possible level of selected EIFS design, installation and life cycle performance is delivered.”

Garbin points out that whether the project ends up being EQI or not, the Council would like to see the program’s philosophy applied to all EIFS projects. “It means that EIFS manufacturers, contractors and industry stakeholders will be aligned with how they respond to all project opportunities in Canada.”

To fullfil the program’s requirements, the project must first be designed in accordance with the EQI’s specifications. At the tender stage, the EQI assists owners, architects and the general contractors in prequalifying certified contractors to suit the scope of the project. During installation an EQI auditor inspects the EIFS at regular intervals to ensure it meets the predetermined requirements.

The EIFS Council doesn’t expect a big drop-off in business through the recession because of the advantages EIFS has over competitive cladding systems. Apart from its obvious merit — energy efficiency — EIFS also scores high marks in the sustainability arena. “This will play itself out even more as the amount of retrofit work increases during the new construction downturn,” notes the council’s president.

The good news doesn’t stop there.

“We think we are raising the bar not only for EIFS but for other competitive cladding types because all the EQI elements that make sense for EIFS should make sense for other products. Owners and architects will take note of our QAP even when they are using other (cladding) materials and will begin to view EQI as a benchmark.”

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