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Advanced Certifications for Tile

IMI and BAC, working alongside tile employer associations including TCAA, have taken a major step to expand the job opportunities of tile installers by developing a series of certifications that will help distinguish the skilled tile installer from the less-skilled. The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) is a new set of certifications that recognize the importance of qualified installers and the role that the installers play in the success of any tile project.

The certifications were developed by IMI, BAC, TCAA as well as the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation and the National Tile Contractors Association and the Tile Council of North America. Recent editions of the TCNA Handbook as well as Arcom MasterSpec recommend requiring qualified tile installers.

The current specialty areas of ACT are: large format tile floors/substrate preparation;mud work;showers; and membranes. It is anticipated that additional areas will be added as the program expands. In order to be eligible for certification, an installer must meet the prerequisite of being an experienced installer (those who have completed a BAC/IMI apprenticeship program qualify); and pass a written exam and practical hands-on test.

The written test is administered through multiple choice questions and tests the installer’s knowledge on the certification topic as documented in relevant ANSI standards, TCNA Handbook and best industry practices. The installer must pass the written test to be eligible to take the hands-on test. The practical hands-on test is administered at an IMI training center, manufacturer’s warehouse or other pre-determined location. The installer is given a pre-constructed module, such as a shower base, subfloor, etc. and will install the designated components of that certification’s system on the module.

These certifications will help expand work opportunities for installers and contractors who want to distinguish themselves as highly-skilled and known for top quality work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is ACT?

A: “ACT” stands for Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers. It is a new set of certifications developed and administered by a consortium of tile industry organizations that distinguish tile installers who have exhibited and proven their advanced knowledge and skills relative to one or more specialty areas of the tile installation craft.

Q: Why have these organizations initiated the ACT program?

A: The major tile industry organizations recognize the importance of qualified installers and the role that the installers play in the success of any commercial or residential tile project. Both tile contractor associations, TCAA and NTCA, have their respective contractor certification programs, but those certifications are held by the Tile Contractor and not the Installer. Recent editions of the TCNA Handbook and Arcom MasterSpec recommend requiring qualified tile installers. The ACT program will provide one method of qualifying tile installers for different advanced areas of installation.

Q: Which tile industry organizations are involved in developing and administering the ACT certifications?

A: Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), providing training and certification for tile installers.

Tile Contractors Association of America (TCAA), representing IUBAC signatory tile contractors.

International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), whose members are skilled tile setters who have completed multi-year apprenticeship as well as other trained masonry craftworkers.

International Masonry Institute (IMI), which provides professional and technical training for union tile setters and tile contractors, as well as other masonry craftworkers and contractors.

National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), with membership open to all tile contracting companies.

Tile Council of North America (TCNA), whose manufacturer member companies contribute to the development of the modules and tests.

Q: What are the specialty areas of Advanced Certifications?

A: Currently the advanced certifications are:

  • Large Format Tile Floors / Substrate Preparation
  • Mud Work
  • Showers
  • Membranes

Q: Who will hold the certification?

A: Certifications are not held by the tile contractor or the employer, rather they are held by the individual Installer upon completion of the certification.

Q: Are there any other advanced certifications?

A: Currently the ACT certifications are limited to the four listed above. The ACT Advisory Committee anticipates that certifications in additional advanced skills will be added to the program in the near future.

Q: Can an installer hold more than one advanced certification?

A: An installer can hold one or more advanced certification. Each ACT certification is a stand-alone unit, allowing the installer to tailor training to meet individual or company needs.

Q: 8. What are the criteria for an installer to become certified in one of the advanced skills?

A: In order to be eligible for certification, an installer must meet these criteria:

  • Meet the prerequisite of being an experienced installer
  • Pass a written exam
  • Pass a practical hands-on test

Q: What defines the prerequisite of being an experienced Installer?

A: Installer has completed a Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program as offered by IUBAC and IMI; or installer has been certified through the CTEF-Certified Tile Installer program.

Q: Once the prerequisite is met, what are the formats of the written and practical tests?

A: The written and practical tests are administered by IMI for union installers.

The written test examines the installer’s knowledge on the certification topic as documented in relevant ANSI standards, TCNA Handbook, and best industry practices. There may be 25 to 50 multiple choice questions. The installer must pass the written test to be eligible to take the hands-on test.

The practical hands-on test is administered in person at an IMI training center, manufacturer’s warehouse, or other pre-determined location. The installer is given a pre-constructed module (e.g. shower base, subfloor, etc.) and will install the designated components of that certification’s system on the module. Either one half-day or one full day is allocated for the hands-on test, depending on the certification. Upon completion, the installer is evaluated for conformance with stated ANSI standards, TCNA methods, and other stated installation criteria.

If the installer passes the written and practical tests, he/she is awarded the ACT certification for that specialty task.


Asbestos Abatement Worker

CPWR is an EPA-certified training provider and will be delivering the instruction. The course is a combination of discussion/Q&A, small-group activities, and hands-on practice. Students practice proper respirator inspection, plus checking, wearing, sanitizing, and actual dress-outs with Tyvek suits, multiple pairs of gloves, boots, and eye protection. They build a three-room decon unit and practice plasticizing critical barriers, floors and a wall, HEPA-vacuuming, scrapping, waste bag disposal, and glove bagging.


Asbestos/Lead/Silica Awareness Training

Asbestos Awareness Training is required for employees whose work activities may contact but do not disturb asbestos containing material (ACM) or presumed asbestos containing material (PACM) and must be renewed annually. Students will learn about asbestos and its various uses and forms, the health effects associated with asbestos exposure, the locations of thermal systems insulation and surfacing ACM/PACM, asbestos containing flooring material, and how to recognize of damaged, deteriorating, or delaminating ACM. Lead and Silica Awareness will also be delivered.


BAC leader 2 leader (l2l) training

Leader to Leader Training includes Mentoring Concepts, Effective Communication, Understanding Individual Differences, Understanding Human Motivation, and Leadership.

L2L Training provides Journeymen with the tools necessary to effectively transfer skills, culture, and values to apprentices.

L2L Training is an important tool in workforce development that has been proven to improve apprentice productivity, quality workmanship, and retention.

L2L Training benefits individuals at any stage of their career development including foremen and supervisors.


Blueprint Reading

This course is a Masonry specific blue print reading class. It is designed for both the inexperienced as well as those who have experience. Whether you are interested in becoming a supervisor or just want to improve your skills to be more marketable and have the ability to do layout work, this course will get you on your way. This course will cover the architectural and structural drawings as well as steel, bar joist, reinforcing steel, and other shop drawings related to Masonry.


Cadmium Awareness

Students will learn the negative healtheffects of this toxic metal, where Cadmium may be found in construction, how to control the hazard, and proper selection of PPE if required.


Computers 1

This is an introductory course on how computers work, computer terminology, and the work environment. Students receive hands-on instruction using an operating system, word processing, spreadsheet, and Inter-net software.

Upon course conclusion the student should be able to accomplish the following: describe the components of an operating system user interface and employ the mouse/keyboard to select menus, tools, text, as well as screen options; select basic operating system commands to format disks, list, copy, move and erase files, create subdirectories, and change default drives; create, save, and print word processing documents using basic editing and formatting techniques; investigate information on the Internet using a search engine and browser; and design, create, preview, save, and print spreadsheets using basic data entry, editing, and formatting techniques.


Computers 2

Description coming soon. 


Concrete Familiarization

This course will familiarize the student with the basic forming hardware, tools, safety procedures, and PPE. Students will gain knowledge in sub-grade preparation, line setting, forming techniques, pour in place walls, batter boards, curb and gutter, driveway approaches, and sidewalks. Students will participate in the placement and finishing of concrete and control joints.


Concrete Flatwork Finisher & Technician ACI Certification

Definitions:

A Concrete Flatwork Finisher is a craftsman who has demonstrated knowledge about and the ability to place, consolidate, finish, edge, joint, cure and protect concrete flatwork.

A Concrete Flatwork Technician is a person who is knowledgeable about proper procedures to place, consolidate, finish, edge, joint, cure and protect concrete flatwork, but who lacks sufficient work experience to qualify as a Concrete Flatwork Finisher.

Scope and Knowledge:

The primary technical resource for this program is ACI's Concrete Craftsman Series, Slabs on Grade, CCS–1. The program requires knowledge in the following areas of concrete construction:

§ Planning for slab-on-ground placement

§ Concrete materials, mixture proportioning, and control tests

§ Preparation before placing concrete

§ Floor flatness and levelness

§ Placing equipment

§ Finishing tools and equipment

§ Procedures for finishing slabs-on-ground

§ Jointing

§ Curing and protection of concrete

§ Finishing problems and possible solutions

Certification Requirements:

For Concrete Flatwork Finisher: ACI will grant certification only to those candidates who obtain a passing grade on the written examination PLUS either:

§ Possess 1,500 hours of actual on-the-job finishing* experience (approximately one year of regular full-time work) AND successfully complete the performance examination**, OR

§ Possess 4,500 hours of actual on-the-job finishing* experience (approximately three years of regular full-time work).

The two-hour written examination is closed-book and consists of approximately 50 multiple-choice questions. The passing grade for the written examination is 70%.

* Finishing experience includes concrete placement, consolidation, jointing, curing and protection, finishing, form setting, prep work, rubbing, patching, and saw cutting. Verification of the work experience by the candidate's employer(s) is required.

** During the performance examination, each examinee must place, consolidate, finish, edge, joint, begin curing, and provide initial protection for a concrete slab. The examiner will observe and evaluate the techniques used and record passing or failing grades on the various individual procedures. A passing grade is defined as "no significant variation from proper procedure and no more than two variations from proper technique in the use of the tools."

Recertification is necessary every five years and requires successful completion of a written examination.

For Concrete Flatwork Technician: ACI will grant certification to those examinees who obtain a passing grade on the written examination. Individuals with Flatwork Technician certification can upgrade to full Flatwork Finisher status upon submittal and approval of sufficient work experience or successful completion of the ACI performance evaluation.

Recertification is necessary every five years and requires successful completion of a written examination.

Study Material:

Go to the ACI Bookstore on this website to order and/or obtain current pricing on any items listed below:

CP–10(10): Craftsman Workbook for ACI Certification of Concrete Flatwork Technician & Flatwork Finisher

A study guide that orients the examinee to the certification program and contains directions on how to prepare for the written examination and performance evaluation. Included are sample examination checklists, practice exams, study questions, and all technical resources. These include ACI's Slabs on Grade (CCS–1), and ACI's Concrete Primer (SP–1).


Fall Protection Awareness

Students learn the basics of a personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) which include selection, use, and care, equipment inspection procedures, and proper equipment donning. Students will participate in field application exercises with demonstrations and hands-on activities. This course covers topics such as the need for fall protection, hazard recognition, evaluation and control, prevention versus protection, and the basic principles of fall forces.


First Aid, CPR and AED (American Heart Association)

Students learn critical skills needed to respond to and manage a first aid, choking or sudden cardiac arrest emergency in the first few minutes until emergency medical services (EMS) arrives. Students learn skills such as how to treat bleeding, sprains, broken bones, shock and other first aid emergencies. This course also teaches adult CPR and AED use.


Hazardous Communication (Globally Harmonized System)

This is a 4 hour hazard communication course that satisfies the general training requirements of OSHA’s hazard communication standard 29CFR1910.1200. If this course is not tailored for participants’ specific worksite, some additional training will be required at their worksite, such as what chemicals are in their work area, where Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) and the employer’s written Hazcom program are located. Students will work in small group activities. This approach will foster participation from the class and allow students to draw on their work experience to learn material and solve problems.

  1. Course introduction
  2. Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) overview
  3. Review of common health effects
  4. Chemical overview
  5. Measurement and exposure limits
  6. Other ways of communicating hazards
  7. Controlling hazards
  8. Emergencies and first aid

After completing the course, participants will be able to:
  1. Discuss the 5 key elements of OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (Hazcom).
  2. Describe your rights under OSHA’s Hazcom standard.
  3. Identify the new OSHA label symbols and explain what each means.
  4. Describe the 4 routes of entry for chemicals and give an example of a chemical known to enter the body through each.

Hazardous Waste Worker (Hazwoper)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has written regulations to make sure that workers at hazardous waste sites are properly protected. These regulations require that contractors plan their work carefully, and that they use the right equipment and work methods. Avery important part of the OSHA regulation is that workers must be given either forty hours of training with an additional three days of supervised site-specific training for general site workers on a hazardous waste site, or twenty-four hours with one day of site specific training for TSD and specialized task workers.

This course will help you to learn about your legal rights and responsibilities, how to recognize and control hazards, how to obtain information about hazardous materials, and how to use and decontaminate respirators and protective clothing. You will also learn about correct work practices, air and medical monitoring, and emergency response.

Hands-on workshops give you the opportunity to practice putting on, wearing, and decontaminating protective equipment.


Hazardous Waste Worker Refresher

This course meets the requirements outlined in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.120 for 8 (eight) hours of annual refresher training for workers at hazardous waste sites. This course is designed for general site workers who remove hazardous waste or who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances or health hazards. Students must have completed the Hazwoper 40 Hour Initial Training.


Hexavalent Chromium Awareness

Masonry cement typically consists of potentially hazardous components, e.g., calcium carbonate and portland cement with trace amounts of hexavalent chromium. Evidence suggests that exposure to wet cement can cause serious skin injuries (e.g., caustic burns) and illnesses (e.g., contact or allergic dermatitis). This awareness course is designed to provide our members with background knowledge of Hex Chrome to include: OSHA policies and information on types of PPE (ex: gloves) that should be implemented on the jobsite in order to safe guard the member.


Hydromobile User-Operator Certification

Students will be able to identify their responsibilities as a user or operator, safety procedures, and hazard controls related to mast climbing scaffolding. This course covers topics such as pre-shift inspections, use and operation, access, fall protection, wall ties, capacities, and emergency evacuation. Students must pass an exam and successfully operate a motorized unit under the supervision of an instructor.


IMI Flashing Application

Students will learn the best practices for flashing applications and demonstrate their understanding in a hands on project applying flashing concepts.


IMI Grout Certification

Students will learn the current Masonry Standards Joint Committee (MSJC) Codes for structural masonry and self-consolidating grout. Attending this class will keep you apprised of current code requirements for testing/sampling and reinforcing steel for Allowable Stress & Strength Design (placement tolerances; ties, hooks, and anchor bolts). IMI Grout Certified installers are mandated in some project specifications.


Jahn Installer Certification

During the three-day workshop, students will learn traditional methods of masonry repair using Jahn Restoration Mortars. Workstations are set up using limestone to simulate a variety of jobsite conditions. Students will receive a graduation certificate and an authorized installer card upon course completion.


Lead Renovator Certification

40 CFR part 745.225(6) defines the Renovator course as: role and responsibility of a renovator; background information on lead and its adverse health effects; background information on EPA, HUD, OSHA, and other Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance that pertains to lead-based paint and renovation activities; procedures for using acceptable test kits to determine whether paint is lead-based paint; renovation methods to minimize the creation of dust and lead-based paint hazards; interior and exterior containment and cleanup methods; methods to ensure that the renovation has been properly completed, including cleaning verification, and clearance testing; waste handling and disposal; providing on-the-job training to other workers; and record preparation.


Masonry Rainscreen Wall Systems

Students will learn the components and functions of a masonry rainscreen wall system; ventilation, pressure equalization, and channel anchored open-jointed systems.  Students will participate in classroom instruction and a hands-on project installing cladding.


Masonry Wall Hazards (Wall Bracing)

Students will learn the rules pertaining to the bracing of unsupported masonry walls exposed to wind during construction. Course topics include contractor responsibilities; training, restricted zone, & signing requirements; wind speed determination; initial & intermediate period requirements; wall bracing systems; and inspections.
This is a Michigan OSHA mandated course for all employees (journeymen and apprentices) in the restricted zone of an unsupported masonry wall exposed to wind during construction: MIOSHA Part 2. Masonry Wall Bracing covering Construction Safety Standards R408.40201 - .40213.


Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA)

New surface miners receive 24 hours of training in specified courses, including: the statutory rights of miners and their representatives under the Mine Act; the use of self-rescue and respiratory devices, where appropriate; hazard recognition; emergency procedures; electrical hazards; and First aid. 30 CFR part 46 & part 48 for Metal/Nonmetal Surface Mining.


Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA)

Refresher training is provided every 12 months for all miners. You must complete the 24 New Miner training as a prerequisite.


MUST Online Safety Modules or Drug Screen

Students must call the MI BAC Training Center to be assigned the 18 MUST (Management & Unions Serving Together) safety modules or drug screen. (517) 886-2221


OSHA Outreach Training - 30 Hours

The OSHA Outreach Training Program for the Construction Industry provides training for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces in the construction industry. The program also provides information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.


OSHA Outreach Training- 10 Hours

The OSHA Outreach Training Program for the Construction Industry provides training for workers and employers on the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces in the construction industry. The program also provides information regarding workers' rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.


Permit Required Confined Space

This 16-hour worker course teaches workers about the most common hazards found in confined spaces, and about the OSHA standard that addresses these hazards. Participants also learn about safe entry procedures, monitoring principles, entry permits, ventilation, personal protective equipment and the roles of the entrant, attendant, and entry supervisor. This course includes extensive hands-on training in confined space entry and the use of PPE.


Pointing/Cleaning/Caulking Familiarization

This course will familiarize the students with the installation and removal of caulking, tuck-pointing masonry units, and operating a swing stage including classroom and hands-on participation.


Pyrocrete 241 Fireproofing

Hands-on training installing the metal lathe and trowel applied Pyrocrete 241 Fireproofing. Pyrocrete 241 is a cementitious inorganic fireproofing formulation using a single powder component mixed with clean, potable water before application. Recommended uses for the fire protection of structural steel, bulkheads, and upgrading the fire resistance of existing concrete. Recommended areas of application are refineries, petrochemical, pharmaceutical facilities, pulp and paper mills, offshore platforms, nuclear and conventional power plants, factories, warehouses, institutional and biomedical facilities. Class provided by outside instructor Carboline


Qualified Rigging & Signaling

Employers must use qualified riggers during hoisting activities and whenever workers are within the fall zone while hooking, unhooking, guiding a load, or doing the initial connection of a load to a component or structure. Students will learn how to properly rig a load and demonstrate the ability to solve problems related to rigging loads (written exam). A signal person is required when the point of operation is not in full view of the operator, the operator’s view is obstructed in the direction the equipment is traveling, or it is determined that a signal person is needed. Students will learn the types of signals used at the worksite and demonstrate competency with an oral or written exam and a practical test.


Quantitative Fit Testing

QNFT uses fit testing instrument(s) to provide quantitative, or numerical measurements of the amount of face seal leakage present when a given respirator is donned by a particular user.


Refractory Basics Familiarization

Description coming soon. 


Supervisor Certification Program 1

Designed specifically for individuals responsible for the on-site, day-to-day supervision of masonry construction, IMI's Supervisor Certification Program (SCP) offers education and certification for current and potential supervisory personnel of signatory BAC masonry contractors. SCP 1 requires successful completion of 16 hours of instruction. Candidates learn the following core competencies: The Role of the Foreman, Productivity – Project Pace, Project Supervision, Personnel Management, The Construction Process, Professional Relationships, Layout – Site Control.


Supervisor Certification Program 2

Designed specifically for individuals responsible for the on-site, day-to-day supervision of masonry construction, IMI's Supervisor Certification Program (SCP) offers education and certification for current and potential supervisory personnel of signatory BAC masonry contractors. SCP 2 requires successful completion of 16 hours of instruction. Candidates learn the following core competencies: The Role of the Superintendent, Improving Productivity, Basic Project Management, Communications, Advanced Personnel Management, Labor Relations, Technical Issues, Advanced Problem Solving.


Supported Scaffolding User

This course emphasizes the basic safety and hazard awareness for supported fabricated frame scaffolding systems. Topics include Fall Protection and Electrical as outlined in the OSHA training requirement CFR 1926.454.


Suspended Scaffolding (Swing Stage) Competent Person

Students will learn basic rigging practices, fall protection practices, and electrical hazard awareness with an emphasis on the Suspended Scaffold Standards outlined in the OSHA CFR 1926. (Please note: it is still up to the employer to designate a Competent Person per site regardless of training.)


Terra Clad System Training

Description coming soon. 


Tile/Terrazo Familiarization

This course will familiarize students with thin-set mixing and application, tile setting, tile cutting, and tile finishing by grouting with epoxy.


Welding (AWS Certification) Mild Steel or Stainless

Approximately 2 weeks or 80 hours of instruction. Students receive video and hands-on instruction in the basics of shielded metal arc welding to prepare them for a bend test for certification. All students must obtain a vertical-up certification in mild to mild steel to begin preparing for the stainless to mild steel certification.




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