The article, "Integrity Rules," by Robert Thomas in the February 2004 issue of Walls & Ceilings garnered much attention. According to Thomas, his article, about the Exterior Design Institute's EIFS insurance program has even prompted some people to think he is involved with EDI. He is not (see the Letters section in this month's issue for his clarification).

As the only independent publication in the walls and ceilings industry, W&C is a tool to provide information to contractors so they can practice better business. The EDI insurance program is extremely relevant, not only to EIFS contractors and potential EIFS contractors who want to do commercial and residential work but it is relevant to an industry that is still healing. If a program like this is good for EIFS contractors, it's good for the EIFS industry.

I have just returned from a very positive EIFS Industry Members Association annual meeting. The EIMA meeting was its first since last year's restructuring. The association has completed its transition to a technical association with several technical committees reporting great results and commitment among its members to make these committees even more effective in the coming year. These members care. EIMA, along with several EIFS manufacturers, is supporting AWCI's insurance program. EDI is also a member of EIMA. Obviously, it is not for W&C to be involved in any insurance debate other than as a source of information for our readers on all insurance programs that might help them.

EIMA will also be participating with the Dept. of Energy in a three-year program to conduct an advanced exterior insulated wall test facility in Hollywood, S.C. EIMA will soon have a periodic technical column in W&C so readers can expect up-to-date information on this program as it unfolds.

Steve Etkin, president of AWCI, had positive things to say about AWCI's insurance program during his presentation at the EIMA meeting.

"We're celebrating the five-year anniversary of the ‘EIFS: Doing it Right,' insurance program," Etkin said. "We've held more than 30 seminars, offer videos, workbooks and have enjoyed 1,700 participants."

Time will tell what works and what doesn't. There remains the issue of accountability, an issue that is a constant. Products requiring expertise should only be utilized by technicians with expertise in said products.

At industry meetings, much is made of contractors' issues, associations' issues and manufacturer's issues. Yet in the end, the victims of wrongdoings are homeowners and building owners, and it is ultimately they who must be protected from their own lack of technical understanding. As one industry insider said, "Manufacturers need to inform contractors on the limitations of their products."

Sometimes, it's easy to forget that building owners and homeowners-people like us-are the ones who really pay the bills.