A third round of industry wide surveys are being distributed by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) this summer as it zeroes in on completing the two-year effort to develop a workable accreditation program for the natural stone industry. What probably will be the last survey in the pre-launch programming will focus on content to be included on the final examination, 10 standards for accredited companies and a proposed fee structure for taking part in the accreditation process.

“We have turned to the industry for input at several stages of the process, “ said Ken Krebs, 2005-06 MIA president. “The input provided by industry professionals in this third round of surveys will provide the necessary feedback we need to complete the process. I urge my industry colleagues to participate.” Krebs noted that much of the accreditation program development has been rooted in the feedback received from stone industry professionals, as well as major stakeholders such as architects and kitchen and bath professionals. “At each stage of development, there has been strong support for the development of an accreditation program,” Krebs said, adding that the goal is to prepare a formal report to the MIA Board of Directors and membership for StonExpo in Las Vegas, NV, in early November of 2006. Official launch would be early in 2007.

Much work has been accomplished by a special task force over the course of nearly two years, including creation of a mission statement for the program, formation of accreditation standards, development of a content outline for a written examination, creation of the program application and a determination that the initial program will have two company accreditation options - Accredited Residential Natural Stone Fabricator and Accredited Natural Stone Commercial Contractor.

Major elements to be refined during the summer include outlining details for a site visit for each applicant facility, completing the written exam, developing a marketing plan to promote accredited companies to architects, designers and the kitchen/bath communities and creating a program budget.

For more information about the upcoming accreditation program, go online tohttp://www.marble-institute.com/accreditation/index.cfm, or call 440-250-9222.