Commercial Floorcovering Gains a Presence in the Central South Council

The UBC's elite floor covering program, INSTALL, continues its successful expansion throughout the Central South Carpenters Regional Council.

The International Standards and Training Alliance (INSTALL) first made news in 2016 throughout the Southern District's 11-state region by announcing the UBC's first district-wide collective bargaining agreement.

INSTALL’s expansion into the Texas market was spearheaded by a joint partnership that included the Central South and St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Councils and INSTALL Warranty Contractor, Image Flooring. Kansas City-based Image Flooring wanted to create a presence and workforce in Texas, but while the company already had a large presence throughout the Central US, without certified installers in Texas they were unable to tap into the thriving construction market.

“It’s the chicken and the egg scenario,” said Jim Wilkinson, vice president of Image Flooring. “You need trained and certified installers to win bids and work on specific projects, but you also need to secure the projects and provide jobs to attract trained and certified installers.”

“Image Flooring and INSTALL approached us to hold training sessions and open houses at several training centers,” said Engels, executive secretary-treasurer of the CSCRC. “Thanks to their unique relationship with the St. Louis – Kansas City Regional Council of Carpenters, they were able to bring INSTALL certified instructors to Texas. This was an extremely important step as we did not have any instructors at the time,” he added.

The CSCRC and Texas Carpenters and Millwrights Training Fund were fully supportive of the newly formed partnership and began recruiting from inside the flooring industry in the Dallas and Houston market to secure trainers and apprentices.

INSTALL training, from apprentices to full journeypersons is now underway. Image Flooring also sends certified installers to supplement specific jobs depending on need, which cements the company’s willingness to support INSTALL’s expansion efforts.

To date, there has been several classes of basic and intermediate flooring and two more scheduled in the near future on specific materials needed for an upcoming job. At last council there are 15 new members who joined the union as floor layers and several dozen existing members have participated in the training.

“The individuals that stepped up have been instrumental in training and have been extremely receptive to the transitions,” said Engels. “It’s been a true partnership with Image Flooring and INSTALL. Building a new workforce in a new state has been a monumental task. You need to provide a trained and skilled workforce to help create market share, and that’s exactly what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Added Image Flooring’s Wilkinson: “Everyone working together and towards a common goal is our biggest strength. “We have the collective tools, training and understanding to overcome any hurdle we face during this new and exciting time.”

By growing its membership base this past year, INSTALL is now positioned to bring even more contractors into the fold. Recently, INSTALL recently announced the goal of establishing at least six new Southern INSTALL contractors in 2018.

Based on the success it achieved with the Central South Carpenters, Image Flooring has committed to expand beyond Texas and into Oklahoma. Projects are either completed or underway in Houston, Dallas, and Oklahoma City.

The expansion is also catching attention from the flooring trade media. Floor Covering Weekly recently interviewed CSCRC EST Jason Engels about the progress. Read that article, here.

Learn more about CSCRC’s commitment to the INSTALL program and getting our members trained and ready for more job opportunities when they become available:

Flooring Industry Opportunities Thriving in Texas

INSTALL Launches in Texas