As published in FLOORING MAGAZINE- April / May 2013
Independent moisture testing now available-
The revisions to AS 1884-2012 have been extensively reported here in FLOORING MAGAZINE over the past months, so we know that accurate slab moisture testing prior to install is more vital than ever- not only for the horrendous costs associated with installation failures, but also for the known health problems connected to mould and bacteria from subfloor moisture.
“Stakeholders, from installers to project managers, all carry a degree of liability if they don’t have an accurate moisture test and there’s a subsequent problem with the installation” says Patrick Atherton, an ICRI certified moisture testing technician with Floor Test Australia, an independent moisture testing service.
The ICRI certification is US-based, where moisture-related flooring failure was once known as the “billion dollar problem”. The R & D conducted in the USA has been extensive, and their Standards for moisture testing are now directly referenced by AS 1884-2012, and by many manufacturer specifications for flooring products, as has been widely reported here in FLOORING. “Now the focus is in-situ RH and not ‘moisture content’ “ says Patrick, “Not only is it a hedge against liability, the science strongly suggests that if you know all the data and follow the procedures, it will be a quality installation which won’t fail”.
Back in 2001, industry partners in the US released a White Paper which recommended that the responsiblity for testing prior to installation be taken from flooring installers, and handled by qualified, independent agencies. Since then, the testing regime has become even more complex. “That’s relevant here also. An independent test is not encumbered with any other commercial interests, and it means the installer or project manager can keep the relationship with their clients based on honesty and trust”, says Patrick. “The only interest for an independent technician is reporting the slab’s moisture condition accurately, and it’s pennies compared to full mitigation or worse, remedying a failure. Stakeholders can make the right decisions, and we can all avoid failures and ensure a healthy environment”.