One such example took place early last year on a project which had the NFCA (National Floor Covering Association) floor inspection service specified. The project was a new commercial build in the interior of BC. As per NFCA spec., a pre-installation site meeting was held to review a list of NFCA requirements including among other things, floor flatness, and moisture testing.
As usual, moisture testing requirements were an issue because the GC had not expected to have to provide and pay for third party testing as per NFCA spec. Nor did he think he would be facing a moisture issue, seeing as he’d poured the slab seven months before the flooring was scheduled to be installed.
During the meeting, the floor inspector mentioned that the 8” thick concrete sub-floor would most likely not be dry enough for the planned installation date. The GC dismissed this.
Three weeks before the installation start date, the moisture tests were done (ASTM F-2170 RH In-Situ Probe) and results provided. All tests had failed with an average 94% Relative Humidity instead of the maximum allowed 85%. With these high readings, neither the adhesive manufacturer or the floor covering manufacturer would warranty the product.
The project quickly ground to a halt because the flooring contractor, quite rightly, refused to install over the wet concrete. With the completion date looming, the building owner had to make a decision - either wait for the concrete to dry, buy a moisture barrier or sign a release. After a lot of back and forth the decision was made to sign a release. All parties drew up legal letters agreeing that the building owner was choosing not to buy a moisture barrier and was waiving the warranty.
The floor installation went ahead over wet concrete and was finished on time.
As a sub-trade, saying ‘no’ to your customer is not easy, however if you do find yourself installing against your better judgement and manufacturers installation guidelines, make sure you ‘GET IT IN WRITING’ from the building owner and or General Contractor. It won’t guarantee you protection in court but it will help you defend your position.