Become a Master
by Richard Walker
Throughout the last two years, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has been developing a training and registration program for residential and light commercial window and exterior door installers. The pilot program, launched last summer and available only to AAMA members, is designed to provide a final comprehensive review of the training to determine if any revisions are needed. This review process is nearing completion, which means nationwide availability of the program is just around the corner.
The overall goal of the program, which is billed as InstallationMasters, is to establish a benchmark in the installer community, improve window and door installation practices and reduce the number of problems resulting from improper or incomplete practices in the field. The training program references the American Society for Testing and Materials and other nationally-recognized installation standards. Once the program is established, it is our intention to encourage the specification of not only certified window and door products, but also installation by AAMA-registered InstallationMasters participants.
AAMA has developed the training program, but manufacturers will sponsor the training sessions. The advantage of this arrangement is that manufacturers are familiar with its installers and have a huge stake in professional installation skills. Through our third-party administrator, Architectural Testing Inc. (ATI), personnel from companies that are committed to participating in the program will be trained. Sponsoring manufacturers also have the option to use ATIs instructors rather than training in-house personnel.
Individuals participating in the program will attend a two-day training course covering the fundamentals of window and door installation. After completing the course registration process, installers will receive an InstallationMasters training manual, a 360-page, fully-illustrated, step-by-step guide to new construction and replacement installation techniques.
At the end of the two-day training session, registration candidates (participants pursuing AAMA registration status) will take a comprehensive exam. Those who pass the test are notified and receive an identification card and certificate stating that they are AAMA Registered InstallationMasters Installers, while those who do not pass are offered the opportunity to take the test again. For non-registration candidates, those who do not plan to take the test to become registered, the training course concludes immediately prior to distributing the exams.
Flexibility for Sponsoring Manufacturers
While the content of the InstallationMasters training course is strictly prescribed, sponsoring manufacturers do have flexibility with respect to arranging their class dates and instructors and adding their own manufacturer-specific training after the AAMA course. Plus, we have prepared pamphlets providing tips and insight to help manufacturers plan successful training courses.
Sponsoring manufacturers who want to offer InstallationMasters training courses can send their own personnel to a one-week instructor training program. The first two days of training allow the potential instructors to experience the full installer training program. The third day provides an opportunity for hands-on window and door installations, followed by a half-day of reviewing some basic elements of teaching on the fourth day. The program finishes with a session in which each participant actually teaches a portion of the installer-training course to the other participants. At the end, all instructor candidates are tested and those who pass receive AAMA accreditation credentials to serve as instructors.
Instructor training is intensive and is, therefore, limited to approximately 12 people at a time. These sessions have been underway since last summer and there is still time for both member and non-member companies to attend. However, non-member instructors will not be permitted to teach training courses until the program is opened nationally, so that they will be able to offer training immediately after the programs national launch.
For use in their training sessions, instructors are given tools, including an instructors manual, a video that parallels the training manual and a Power Point presentation. These materials not only assist the instructor, but also provide a consistent message. This allows AAMA to maintain guidelines that prevent instructors from deviating from the basic course material.
Sponsoring manufacturers also have the option of developing and adding their own company and product-specific training and evaluation the day after the AAMA training session concludes. Installation-Masters receive an identification card that allows for an acknowledgement of the completion of this additional training.
Why Should You Get Involved?
AAMAs accomplishment in creating this program is that for the first time, there is a consistent message for the installer community concerning how to do things properly. The installer training manual and course instruction offer the latest information in one resource.
Additionally, InstallationMasters gives manufacturers the opportunity to offer quality training that would have cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop itself. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to reduce field service problems and callbacks due to improper installations, which, of course, translates to time and money savings for window and door manufacturers.
For more information on how you can get involved in the program, contact Larry Livermore, installation program manager for AAMA, at 540/287-3001.
Richard Walker serves as executive vice president of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association.
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