All about the National Wood Flooring Association of Australia

The National Wood Flooring Association of Australia (NWFAA) is a not-for-profit association of grass roots organisations who hold specialised expertise in wood floor installation. The NWFAA is dedicated to improving methods of best practice for the installation of a growing range of wood floor systems.

“The NWFAA was put together by me, after chairing an assortment of other organisations over an amount of time,” says president Gerry Swindale.

“The National Wood Flooring Association of America [ ] is probably the most internationally regarded authority on wood floors and wood floor installations. I thought to put together a parallel organisation in Australia that was connected with NWFA in the US.”

The NWFAA’s charter is to promote, support, cooperate with and further the development of the timber flooring industry at a state and national level. The organisation seeks to work with architects, designers, contractors, builders, developers, the public, the Department of Fair Trading and other government agencies to provide accurate, unbiased and timely technical support and reporting functions within the specialised wood floor industry.

“By and large, I have sought that people at all levels of our industry function in an honest and fair manner,” Swindale says. “There are indeed occasions when I have found that some people’s attitude to the industry has been less than fair.

“NWFAA tries to be an honest policeman in the industry and try to do things in a logical, common sense manner.”

The NWFAA also publishes best practice means of installing wood floors. This is a free service open to members and non-members alike.

“Since the former NSW Labor government tore up the licensing in our industry about six years ago, the number of dishonest people that have been let loose in our industry is really quite frightening,” Swindale says. “I see so many things that are done wrong in this industry that I see people in tears every day of the week.

“It doesn’t matter who the client is – everybody works hard for the money that they spend and when I see matters go to court that’s going to cost somebody $110,000 to pull wood floors out of their home that the builder could not have done more things wrong in installing those floors if they tried, I get very frustrated.

“I’m on public record as saying that if I write a report in relation to something where I see that incompetence has been employed – if you look at any wood floor you’ll find some imperfection because you’re dealing with a product of nature – but when I go on to a job and you see that the person who put the floor down didn’t give a stuff about the job. I make no apologies as to how harshly I will write that report, because I want to see that client win.”

The NWFAA tries to encourage people to go the extra mile and do it speedily and honestly.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” Swindale says. “I have people come to me and say that they’ve seen 15 different people and they’ve been told 20 different things. They say, ‘Can somebody please give me some honest information?’

“No one has spent the time to explain these things or to tell me what the consequences are if I don’t do XYZ. The XYZ is what we publish on the website to try and guide specifiers, architects, designers, builders and even the astute homeowner who is looking to understand what the right thing to do is.”

The NWFAA also holds trade nights and general meeting to provide continued education to wood floor installers.

“It’s so important to get this information out there,” Swindale says. “Only this week somebody reasonably well known on the industry got into trouble after they installed a parquet floor directly on rubber. We make a clean distinction in any of our publications that anyone who installs parquet directly on a rubber underlay needs to understand that such a floor will never be flat – the product will move and you will see distortions.”

In such a case as this, the NWFAA recommends putting a sheet of plywood over the top so there is a timber-to-timber bond between the parquet and the subfloor.

“We publish information, we guide people, and we show them how to do things the right way so they won’t get into trouble,” Swindale says.

As well as free best practice information on the website, the association keeps people updated on the materials that are available and the correct way these materials should be used. They also assist people who call for advice with free technical information.

“We also go out and write reports for people on site if they are in trouble or someone is questioning what should be done, and we’ll give adjudication on that,” Swindale says. “The NWFAA provides independent reports both for legal matter s and insurance matters on whether things have been done correctly or incorrectly.

“Without fear or favour, we will present honest facts for honest people.”

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Why use NWFAA members

  • NWFAA members are bound by a code of professional conduct.
  • NWFAA members are scrutinised prior to their appointment to membership of the association.
  • NWFAA members have a dedication to the professional wood floor industry and an interest in serving clients well
  • NWFAA members are dedicated to training skilled craftsmen for the future of the industry.
  • NWFAA members are dedicated to improving business arrangements and recognition of NWFAA projects as delivering a high quality service to the community.