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Technician certification


April 16, 2010
By Mike Davey

Certification for fenestration installation technicians is coming. Once
it’s underway, we’ll have a voluntary certification program for
personnel responsible for the installation of windows, doors and
skylights.

Certification for fenestration installation technicians is coming. Once it’s underway, we’ll have a voluntary certification program for personnel responsible for the installation of windows, doors and skylights.

It’s worth noting, the certification program currently under development is voluntary. In other words, the move to installer certification is industry driven, rather than government driven. However, participation in voluntary certification programs in other industries has been shown to be high, and I believe that we can expect the same enthusiasm within the glass industry.

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Although the certification will not be mandatory, once an agreed upon standard is reached, those who chose not to certify may be left out in the cold. It’s easy to see why.

Participating in the certification program won’t turn an unskilled technician into a skilled one. Only willingness and training can do that, and the program is not an education course. It’s just a test. A technician writes it, and either passes or fails. If he or she fails, writing the test again is the only way to get that certification.

Certification isn’t about developing new skills. The purpose is to prove to others that a technician has the skills he or she must have to do the job the right way. Certification goes a long way towards showing both the architectural community and members of the public that your staff is properly trained and equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to get the job done.

Having that certification will add value. As time goes on, we may very well see a situation where not having it will decrease value, despite the program’s voluntary nature. This will be especially true once shops that have certified technicians start to promote. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that a few years down the road, consumers start to insist on certified technicians. And why not? When you’ve got a choice between two firms, and one of them can prove that they have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job competently, and the other cannot, the choice becomes really easy to make.

This is not to say that those who choose not to certify are incompetent. I’m sure the majority of them know their stuff. They just won’t have any way to prove it to new customers.

The Fenestration Installation Technician Personnel Certification Program is being developed by a volunteer committee under the aegis of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Members of this multi-stakeholder expert committee are responsible for shaping the future direction of this certification. CSA is working with stakeholders and experts to develop a personnel certification program that meets industry requirements and operates in a consistent, fair and reliable manner.

Brian Burton, one of Glass Canada’s regular columnists, is on the committee  developing the program. He will keep us posted as news becomes available.