One of the main responsibilities of a trade association is to accomplish things for an industry that individual companies would be unable to undertake on their own. The Restoration Industry Association has been developing several major initiatives that will provide the industry with important direction for many years to come.

The Dictionary of Restoration Industry Terminology was created to standardize the terms used in contracts, work orders, project bids and other documents used by contractors. Standardized terminology means everyone is playing on the same field with the same set of rules.

Coming early next year will be the Accounting Guide for Mitigation and Restoration Contracting. The Guide is being written with the company owner in mind, and will address accounting issues that are essential to obtaining full compensation, and will include specific examples, terminology, charts and graphs to assist contractors in managing the financial aspects of their businesses.

RIA is continuing its work on a series of individual standards that will eventually comprise the restoration industry’s first comprehensive fire damage standard. The outline of the complete document is almost completed and subcommittees are expected to begin meeting in early 2011 to begin drafting the first of the component standards. The process will take many months, but like eating an elephant, it is best accomplished one bite at a time.

The first standard dealing with the identification of soot and char in HVAC systems has been completed and just finished its public review. The subcommittee has reviewed and addressed those comments, and expects to submit the revised standard to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for approval in the coming months.

Each of these tools will “make it better” not only for RIA members, but for the industry at large, and that’s what a trade association is supposed to do for an industry.

Convention Update
The 66th annual RIA Convention and Exhibition will be held March 7-11, 2011 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. The convention structure has been revamped to feature 90-minute, in-depth education sessions on topics such as RIA’s new Accounting Guideline; the RIA Phoenix Awards competition and what makes an award-winning restoration project; organizing a business for future success; contents restoration; working in and restoring LEED certified and green buildings and more.

There will also be professionally facilitated open discussion sessions on predetermined topics relevant to the industry, as well as two keynote addresses.

RIA is still accepting entries for it Phoenix Awards competition which recognizes “Excellence in Restoration and Reconstruction.” Both RIA member and non-member firms who are active service providers in the restoration and remediation industry are eligible. To be considered, a project must be at least 90 percent complete by December. Projects must involve personal or building property and may be residential or commercial in nature. There is no minimum project size. The deadline is Dec. 15, 2010. The winners will be announced during the Convention.

For more information on these and other RIA programs, visit