The topic of this year’s always-popular World of Concrete Polishing Luncheon & Forum was “A Game of Whisper: Specifying a Polished Concrete Floor.” By the time the panel discussion ended, I decided it’s a miracle clients ever get the floor they envision.

Architects, design engineers, general contractors, slab contractors, and finishers know virtually nothing about polishing concrete, so the process seems doomed from the start.

Most architects know only that concrete is less maintenance-intensive than tile, carpet, or wood. Neither they, nor the person most likely to write the specification, the firm’s specifier (yes, that’s right: architects often don’t write “their” specification), know the Concrete Polishing Association of America exists. So they use the American Institute of Architects’ one-page specification. Neither party knows what the polisher can and can’t control, or that admixtures make polishing more difficult.

Then there’s the unfortunate reality that many details critical to delivering the floor the client envisions can’t be specified.

The designer puts joints where they make the most sense structurally, not where they’ll be least obtrusive. He’s not thinking about what people will see or walk on when the project’s completed. Owners and general contractors often don’t even tell place-and-finish contractors the floor will be polished.

Our award-winning cover subject’s artisanship and technical skill are exemplary. But Mark Womack also had several key things working in his favor. His client’s a ready-mix producer; the project was new construction; and he, the owner, and the general contractor worked together from the beginning.

If your specialty is polishing, I suppose you know all this. What you may not know is how to counteract this tsunami of ignorance.

To find out, watch the video of the forum panelists. Architect Mike Stellato (Star Consulting Group), finisher Bryan Birdwell (Structural Services Inc.), and polisher Shane Beal (The Professionals) explain how to respectfully influence the quality of each step in the process.

Control your destiny!