Training News

EIFS: Skilled Installation is Key

Journal: August - September 2001

After careful study, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) and the International Masonry Institute (IMI) have taken the position that Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS) can be a viable building material when designed properly and installed by trained, skilled BAC plasterers and EIFS mechanics.

This spring, representatives of BAC and IMI met in Chicago to educate new BAC EIFS contractors interested in raising the quality standards of this building system. Pete Marinopoulos, President of BAC Illinois District Council 1, co-sponsor of the Chicago EIFS conference, said, “The masonry industry is expanding. As a service to our members and our signatory contractors, we want to broaden their work opportunities by embracing the allied crafts while maintaining the quality standards that this Union is known for. With IMI’s help, we are doing just that.”

Contractors from Chicago and neighboring suburbs gathered at the IMI Trowel Trades Training Center and BAC District Council meeting hall for a 3-hour intensive conference entitled “Introduction to Synthetic Stucco: Managing a Successful EIFS Business.” The keynote speaker was Steve Nelms, BAC Local 56 Illinois plasterer, IMI plastering instructor, and AWCI-certified EIFS instructor. His presentation contrasted IMI’s comprehensive training program to the relative lack of training provided by other international plastering associations and unions. Nelms also gave an outdoor demonstration of all phases of a traditional EIFS installation, from applying the extruded polystyrene insulation, brown-coating and mesh application, to the finish coat, addressing typical and special conditions.

Mechanical rasping of extruded polystyrene was one of many labor-saving techniques demonstrated for contractors.

The contractors’ reaction to the conference was very favorable. One contractor said “as long as there is a need for EIFS work, it may as well be my company that provides that service. IMI has taken the first step to educate us as to what it takes to be a successful EIFS contractor.”

Since the introduction of EIFS, IMI has been delivering EIFS training to BAC plasterers and other members. As the material has evolved, IMI training programs have remained abreast of the newest techniques required to install polymer-based and polymer-modified EIFS systems. Today, IMI conducts ongoing training programs for BAC plasterers and EIFS mechanics, and provides them with the skills necessary to provide good, attractive, watertight EIFS buildings.

Scott Conwell, IMI’s area director of market development, said “Whether it’s ceramic tile, brick, or EIFS, contractor education is a large component of IMI’s market development program.”

Local 56 IL plasterer Steve Nelms demonstrates steps involved in a traditional EIFS installation for a group of Chicago masonry contractors and BAC officers.
BAC signatory contractors and Local Union officers are briefed by IMI regarding recent development in the EIFS industry.

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