Contractors are, in many cases, required to have ACI-certified flatwork finishers on a jobsite. ACI 301, Specifications for Structural Concrete, states in section “Finisher qualifications—Unless otherwise specified at least one finisher or finishing supervisor shall be a certified ACI Flatwork Concrete Finisher/Technician or a certified ACI Flatwork Technician or equivalent.” Since there’s no equivalent, that forces contractors to get some of their finishers certified on project that have adopted ACI 301 into the contract documents.

But what if your best finishers have trouble passing a written exam, which is one of the requirements of becoming an ACI-certified Flatwork Finisher or Technician? Whether due to language skills or just testing skills, many contractors have top-notch finishers that have failed to become certified even with a lot of coaching and preparation. In the past that left concrete contractors with a problem. But now, ACI Committee C640, which is in charge of the flatwork finishers program, has developed a category of certified finisher called Flatwork Tradesman. This requires only the demonstration of hand skills—no written exam.

Although this program has been approved by ACI, some of the pieces are still under development. Within the next year or so, this program will be available and concrete contractors will have an alternative to full certification. The final step is to get ACI 301 to allow a Flatwork Tradesman in place of a Flatwork Finisher, so the battle rages on!