Since 2008, the NTCA Five-Star Contractor Program has established high standards and requirements for its elite members who demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship and business practices for tile and stone installation contractors.
Over the last couple of years, NTCA has aimed to establish accreditation for these members, demonstrating their commitment to advancing the professionalism of the tile and stone industry, and providing third-party accreditation.
“This is very important if you want to be specified in labor qualifications, and necessary if we wish to have credibility with general contractors and project owners,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA Executive Director. “It assures the qualification if anyone questions the program, and also assures the process was fair and impartial in approval or denial.”
The very first company to go through the new NTCA Five-Star Accreditation process was Columbia River Tile & Stone, Inc. “We are very excited to be a part of this amazing program,” said Jeff Occhipinti, owner. Dirk Sullivan of NTCA Five-Star Contractor Hawthorne Tile in nearby Portland, Ore., urged Occhipinti to join.
“For some time I have known about the Five-Star Contractor program and its reputation for representing the top tier of our trade,” Occhipinti said. “We have always strived to offer the best environment for our employees and deliver the highest quality installations to our customers. The Five-Star Accreditation program is an important part of pursuing this goal.
“As a Five Star Accredited Company, we are proud to uphold the highest standards while working towards the advancement of our company and our trade. Being a part of this program represents our commitment to education, industry standards and best practices. Additionally, we are looking forward to learning from other members and continuing to grow as a business. We feel truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing program.”
Re-upping for accreditation
All companies seeking NTCA Five-Star Contractor membership—even existing NTCA Five-Star Members -- need to reapply and go through the accreditation process.
Why? By 2020 the NTCA was successful including NTCA Five-Star Member recognition as preferred contractors in commonly-used architectural specification platforms. This made it apparent that the NTCA Five-Star program needed to transform from a “company recognition” program into an official “accreditation” program which now includes a third-party review process.
“Since we enhanced the application process to give a much bigger view of a company overall, we only thought it fair that everyone go through the application process, instead of grandfathering in companies that had a much simpler application process,” said Becky Serbin, Education and Curriculum Director, NTCA. “Otherwise, it is still the same NTCA Five-Star Contractor program but with a new enhanced application process and third-party evaluation of the application.” Existing NTCA Five-Star Contractor members have through the end of 2024 to reapply.
The first two existing NTCA Five-Star Members to receive accreditation are Heritage Marble & Tile in Mill Valley, Calif., and D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting, Inc., in Marietta, Ga.
“My previous NTCA Five-Star Contractor membership allowed me to promote my company in a category of excellence,” said Martin Brookes, president. “Not only workmanship, but business best practices,” he said.
He credits NTCA’s Amber Fox and Becky Serbin and other committee members for developing and fine-tuning the NTCA Five-Star Contractor Accreditation process. Proud to be in this best-in-class group, Brookes added, “I hope others will seek out the opportunity to up their game and be recognized for their commitment and hard work in also becoming best-in-class. I look forward to the benefits of being an NTCA Five-Star Contractor, and the rewards that manufacturers and distributors recognize within this elite group of accredited tile contractors.”
For more information on the NTCA Five-Star Contractor program, visit https://www.tile-assn.com/page/ntca-five-star-accreditation.