Archive | September, 2016

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OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

Posted on 29 September 2016 by cradmin

recordkeeping-ruleOver the last couple of years, there has been so much talk among countertop professionals about OSHA’s new silica rule, that it is easy to forget all of the other regulations that must be followed under federal and state law. Although most regulations are directly aimed at keeping workers in the U.S. safe and healthy, several administrative rules are also in place, including recordkeeping requirements, which are set forth in Standard 29 CFR 1904.

Less than two short years ago, the recordkeeping rule only required employers to report work-related fatalities and hospitalizations invoicing three or more employees, but as of January 1, 2015, the reporting requires were expanded to include all of the following:

  • Work-related fatalities
  • All work-related hospitalizations regardless of the number of employees
  • Work-related losses of one or both eyes
  • Work-related amputations

Who Must Report Injuries and Fatalities?

Some employers mistakenly believe that they are not required to report workplace injuries and deaths because they are exempt from having to keep routine records of these unfortunate accidents. However, recordkeeping should not be confused with reporting. The new rule clearly states that “all employers under OSHA jurisdiction” must comply with federal or state injury-reporting requirements even if they are exempt from recordkeeping.

When Must Reports Be Submitted?

To comply with the rule, employers must report injuries and fatalities relatively quickly. If a fatality occurs within 30 days of a work-related accident/incident, it must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours of discovering it. For inpatient hospitalizations, losses of one or more eyes and amputations, employers have 24 hours to submit reports.

How to Report Worker Injuries and Fatalities

It is recommended that employee injuries and fatalities are reported by telephone to the nearest OSHA office. However, these offices are only open during standard business hours Monday through Friday. If reports must be submitted outside of this time, employers must call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at (800) 321-OSHA (6742).

This reporting system, however, is set to change January 1, 2017. After this date, most employers will no longer be able to submit reports over the phone. OSHA will have an electronic reporting system available on its website, and all reports will have to be entered in the computer. When these reports are entered, they are saved in OSHA’s database so that they can be compiled for later research on workplace hazards.

This rule includes additional provisions that are meant to encourage employees to report all accidents to their supervisors, and it prevents employers from retaliating against workers who report accidents.

The electronic reporting rule only affects employers that have been deemed to run businesses that pose significant safety and health risks to its workers, and countertop fabrication and construction are among such businesses. However, if the company has fewer than 20 employees, reports may still be made over the phone.

For further information on the OSHA recordkeeping and reporting rule, visit or call the nearest OSHA office.

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Aristech Introduces 12 New Design Options

Posted on 28 September 2016 by cradmin


Custom wine wall made in Ocean Breeze

Aristech Surfaces announced that it is introducing 12 all-new architectural and design materials under the Studio Collection™ by Avonite Surfaces brand. The new collection features designs with movement and texture, ultra-translucency, and terrazzo-inspired looks that bring a unique aesthetic for interior design.

According to the company these newly formulated polymer materials, which combine a striking design look with a formable, repairable and seamable surface, are ideal design alternatives to higher-cost surfaces such as concrete and glass, onyx, and other translucent PMMA and HDPE-filled resins. Applications include room dividers and partitions, store fixtures, column wraps, illumination, countertops, and accent pieces where lighting and aesthetics are key elements of design.

“The new Studio Collection represents a next generation of design materials, giving customers a competitive edge in design and functionality,” said Kristina Morgan, Global Marketing Manager for Aristech Surfaces. “Other materials such as concrete and crushed glass can be very expensive, have design limitations, and we’ve found installation can cost two to three times as much. With the increasing design trend of translucency and texture, our veined translucent colors are a true innovation in the surfacing industry.”

Designers are quickly specifying these products for use in commercial applications. “Longevity, ease of install, and custom design without a custom price tag,” said the designer who worked closely with R&R Millwork and Aristech Surfaces on the installation of the new Crushed Garnet color in a chain of restaurants. “People don’t realize how much time and cost can be saved by using these materials.”

The twelve new colors are categorized into three different collections. The Elements series includes the new translucent veined colors Tempest, Ocean Breeze, Jet Stream, and Rose Quartz; The Mosaics series includes Terrazzo and Crushed Garnet; and the Frosted Glass series includes Citron, Harbor Fog, Catalina, Pewter, Grenadine, and Pure Aqua. Custom colors are also available through the company’s Chromatix™ program.

You may also be interested in this video about embedded LED light pattern in a vanity or countertop.

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Fabricator Profile: Aspen Design Focuses on Wholesale

Posted on 27 September 2016 by cradmin

aspen-remnant-yard-300x110Aspen Design and Fabrication (ADF) in Denver, Colo., was opened by Dan Dugard and John Ragsdale in 2002, but they experimented with several different business models before the business really took off. In the 1980s and 1990s, Dugard was an employee of Makita Tools, but one day, a customer of his offered to sell him his countertop fabrication business. Although the deal fell through, it ultimately led to meeting Ragsdale at a scaffolding company where they both worked.

A few years after meeting, Dugard and Ragsdale decided to become business partners and opened a fabrication shop specializing in solid surface and laminate. In the beginning, they worked the shop themselves, and their only customers were walk-ins who needed new countertops for their kitchen remodels.

Soon, ADF landed a commercial job that was too big for Dugard and Ragsdale to handle themselves. They quickly scrambled to scale up the business to handle the work, and after hiring new employees, the company continued to grow and expanded into natural stone and quartz.

Aspen Design and Fabrication used the leverage they received from their million-dollar commercial job to jump directly into the wholesale market, and the majority of jobs come from builders and dealers. Today, the business has added glass and concrete to its offerings and is fully automated with laser templating, a CNC waterjet and CNC edgers.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: Tour of Aspen Design and Fabrication

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Optimize Effective and Efficient Behavior for Increased Success

Posted on 26 September 2016 by CRadmin2

By Anne Bachrach

“Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the only thing he cannot afford to lose.”
~Thomas Edison

Whether you are an employee or a business owner, it is your goal to be as effective as you can with the greatest efficiency. If you are an employee, the more effective and efficient you are, the greater asset you present to your employer. As a business owner, the more you can optimize these two factors, the greater return on investment you will realize in your business.

So how do you improve your career or business by improving effectiveness and efficiency? Let’s begin by reviewing the difference between the two terms:

Effective – Producing a decided, decisive or desired effect. Effective emphasizes the actual production of or the power to produce an effect or result.

Efficient – Acting or a potential for action or use in such a way as to avoid loss or waste of energy in effecting, producing or functioning.

Effectiveness is the building block while efficiency is the process of refinement. The better you become at effecting positive results with the greatest efficiency of effort, the bigger asset you become – and so does your business.

Optimizing effectiveness and efficiency doesn’t have any relation to IQ or intelligence levels. It’s really an awareness of your habits. It’s a delicate balance between effecting positive results with the least amount of energy expenditure. This essentially means that you expend the least amount of energy with the largest return – while effectively creating the desired result.

Quality Effectiveness and High Efficiency

Take Henry Ford for example, here is a man that was not well educated, but he knew that in order to build a successful business, he needed to be effective and efficient. Granted, Ford had other skills that contributed to his success, but he was obsessed with optimizing the effectiveness and efficiency of his assembly line in the interest of the success of his company. This obsession led to constant production procedure refinements that were unheard of at the time.

Ford understood that quality effectiveness and high efficiency were vital to building the best car with the least amount of wasted energy. Over a century later, Ford built one of the largest and most successful car factories in the world. While many of his peers at the time thought his ideas were impossible, his innovations still remain a standard in modern-day automobile manufacturing.

Optimizing Effectiveness

Optimizing your effectiveness and efficiency is vital to your success even if you are not a Bill Gates or Henry Ford. Your personal life depends on it and so does your professional life.

Let’s start by discussing improving effectiveness. What does this actually mean? In the most basic terms, you must first learn how to create positive effects, change or results even though by definition you could be effective at producing negative effects. However, our focus is on becoming proficient at producing positive effects. The better you become at effectively creating desired results, the better your personal and professional life becomes.

So how do you know if you are being effective? The first step is to ask yourself what kind of actions you are taking. If the goal is to produce a desired result, every step between the initial action and completed action needs to be in support of the desired result.

Evaluating Effectiveness

Recall a situation or project that produced a less than optimal result. If you go back through the series of actions that led to the result, can you pinpoint what might have triggered the shift from the direction of positive results to non-effective results? When the trigger can be identified, you are able learn from that experience and be more effective in future situations by changing or avoiding the action that created the negative result. Being effective is nothing more than a series of evaluations of past results to identify and separate the successful actions from the negative actions.

This evaluation process not only applies to your professional life but also to your personal life. Your career or your business is only as good as you are – which is why self-improvement is a vital part of your professional success. If you cannot learn to effect positive results, the success of your business will be limited. For optimal success, a dedication to improving effectiveness in your personal life is important.

Don’t ever think your career or business doesn’t have anything to do with you personally. Remember, the effects that are created in your professional life are a direct reflection of you. Every situation, whether professional or personal, deserves adequate evaluation for your improved success.

Refining Effectiveness

Now let’s discuss efficiency. Effectiveness is the building block and efficiency is the process of refinement. Think of it as a sort of horse and carriage. Improving efficiency isn’t possible until you actually learn how to effect results. While it is possible to be effective without being efficient, only having one of the two strengths is like missing the other piece to the puzzle. To be a true force to be reckoned with and to grow your business, you must be able to effect positive results with the greatest efficiency.

We all have the same number of hours in a day to complete our tasks, so you must learn to produce desired results with the least amount of energy lost. This is probably one of the most common concerns I hear from my clients. They wonder how they can do more under time constraints. I ask every client the same question, how are you spending your time? In order to make more time and become better at what we do, we must learn to improve our effectiveness and efficiency.

Calendaring and Scheduling

Although most people resist it, calendaring is a great tool for improving effectiveness and efficiency. When you put everything in your calendar and honor it, you’ll find your focus improves because you have daily tasks staring right back at you in black and white. Schedule everything in your calendar, including showers, drive time, calls, marketing time, client interviews, lunch and workouts. For every task, add a 15 to 30 minute buffer. This buffer will serve to add to peace of mind if unexpected delays come up. If you are actually running ahead of schedule, then you can get a head start on the next task and actually complete more in less time.

Improving effectiveness and efficiency may require improving organizational skills, maintaining a greater focus, task delegation, getting eight hours of sleep every night or any other number of factors. Although adjustments vary from person to person, the factors remain constant and comprise a set of success principles. Begin working on increasing your effectiveness and efficiency today and enjoy the benefits you receive as a result. You’ll find that you will accomplish more in less time and feel great about your progress every day.

About the Author

Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. The objective is to do more business in less time through maximizing people’s true potential and ultimately leading them to an even better quality of life. Anne is the author of the book Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule! and Live Life with No Regrets: How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives.

Copyright© 2016, Anne M. Bachrach. All rights reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at [email protected].

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Video: Repairing a Scratch in a Cultured Marble Countertop / Vanity

Posted on 23 September 2016 by cradmin

This video shows one process used to repair a cultured marble vanity countertop that has been scratched. There is not a lot of information on whose methodology this is or where it is filmed, but it does walk through the various grit changes to get the scratch out of this top.

Because cultured marble typically only has a thin gel-coat top, and are relatively inexpensive, few spend the kind of time developing techniques to fix the material. However, this method appears to work.

Let us know what you think.

You may also be interested in this video on solid surface repair or this video on granite countertop repair.

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U.S. Tile Use up, Says Spanish Tile Producers, Cersaie App Released

Posted on 22 September 2016 by cradmin

According to information released from the Tile of Spain group, tile sales are on the rise for Spanish producers. The organization, which is the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER) representing 125 manufacturers made the following information available:

“During the first six months of 2016, Spanish Tile producers have exported 1,349 million Euros to 183 countries. Sales have grown by 6.8 percent in comparison with the same period in 2015,” stated the release. “The United States is the fastest growing market this year, whereas sales in the Russian Federation and the Middle East North Africa region have ceased to grow or, in some countries, decreased. The growth of the sales to the United States in the last years has been remarkable. From January to June (2016), the sales grew by 36.6 percent. The United States is the second most important market for the Spanish Ceramic Tile producers (6.9 percent of total sales) behind Europe.”

This information reaffirms what fabricators around the United States have been saying – business is booming. And while most research, such as that conducted by Freedonia or Catalina show tile usage as a countertop surface slowing down in America, plenty is still being used in backsplash applications, as well as bathrooms and flooring.

tos-appIn related news, Tile of Spain launched the Cersaie ’16 App in advance of this month’s show that runs Sept. 26 through Sept. 30 in Bologna, Italy. Once again, the group of Spanish ceramic companies is the largest foreign delegation at the show. The free Cersaie ’16 App, which is available for iOS and Android devices, allows access to all Spanish ceramic tile companies at the event. Participants can search through exhibitors, filter by sector and add their favorite companies to a “must visit” list, which can be shared with colleagues via email.

The Tile of Spain Cersaie ’16 App can be downloaded by clicking here, or at the Google Play or App Store.

We’d love to hear your take on the tile market in the United States or elsewhere. Post a response or email us at [email protected].

You may also be interested in this article on countertop and kitchen trends in 2016.


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TheSize Announces Third Annual Neolith International Design Competition

Posted on 21 September 2016 by cradmin

neolithTheSize, manufacturer of sintered compact surface brand Neolith, announced its third annual international design competition. This global competition highlights creativity and innovation of designs incorporating Neolith surfacing by architects, interior designers, builders, remodelers, students, and for the first time, fabricators.

For each of the three categories, judges will focus on the proposal originality, presentation creativity, technical complexity, variety of Neolith applications, quality before-and-after images and the degree of environmental sensitivity in the project.

My Neolith Project – Large Residential Spaces

“My Neolith Project” targets design professionals that have recently developed a major residential project incorporating Neolith in multiple applications, such as façades, flooring, cladding, kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, swimming pools and more. To be eligible, the project must have been completed between 2012 and 2016.

Neolith New Talents – Tiny Houses, Great Living Experiences

This year’s “Neolith New Talents” is targeting architecture and interior design students enrolled in at least one class between 2015 and 2017. Neolith is challenging participants to design a two-story urban micro-apartment, no larger than 538 sq. ft., that includes an outdoor terrace. The micro-apartment must integrate Neolith in multiple spaces and applications, such as kitchen, bathroom, flooring, cladding, exterior façade and more.

Projects must have high-design, without compromising functionality or lifestyle. Versatile materials are key, as well as modular furniture and open and-multi-purpose spaces.

This year for first time, TheSize will include a Top Fabricator of the Year category as part of the International Design competition. This new category will recognize the most meticulous and labor-intensive projects made by fabricators with Neolith slabs.

Projects will be evaluated as “small great pieces of art” that are technically complicated and require outstanding knowledge, ingenuity and the skills to produce them. To participate, projects must be completed between 2012 and 2016, outside of Spain.

The competition entry period will end on December 2, 2016. Winners will be announced on December 20, 2016. The prizes include an all-inclusive trip to a prominent industry tradeshow and are valued anywhere from $1,650 to $5,500. For more information on the design competition and application forms, visit and click on the “Highlights” section.

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Caesarstone Announces Appointment of New CEO

Posted on 20 September 2016 by cradmin

caesarstoneCaesarstone Ltd., a manufacturer of high quality engineered quartz surfaces, announced the appointment of Mr. Raanan Zilberman as the Company’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Yonathan Melamed, Chairman of the Board, commented, “I am happy to welcome Raanan Zilberman, who will join Caesarstone as the Company’s CEO in February 2017. After a rigorous search, the Board of Directors elected Mr. Zilberman due to his leadership and considerable experience, along with his strong track record of success as a CEO.”

Over the last 17 years, Zilberman has served as CEO & President of several multinational corporations, including: CEO of Eden Springs, a Swiss-based provider of water & coffee services to European workplaces; CEO of Danone Springs, a joint venture between “Group Danone” and “Mey Eden; President of Vishay Transducers, a subsidiary of Vishay Intertechnology Inc.; and CEO & President of Tedea-Huntleigh, a multinational company that engages in production and marketing of electromechanical sensors. Prior to that, Zilberman served as COO of Tadiran Appliances, a former subsidiary of Carrier and United Technologies.

Zilberman commented, “I am proud and excited to join Caesarstone. I look forward to working with the management team, who has done an amazing job in developing the company over the past few years. Together we will continue to seek new growth opportunities to foster our brand and to further enhance value for Caesarstone’s shareholders, employees, partners and customers.”

You may also be interested in this article about additions to Caesarstone collections.

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ISFA Announces 2016 Annual Award Nominees – Voting Open for Members Only

Posted on 19 September 2016 by cradmin

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) has announced that the nominations for its 2016 Annual ISFA Awards are in and voting for ISFA members in good standing is now open. The nominees this year are as follows:

For the Hall of Fame Award, which is given to the individual who has, in the course of his/her career, made significant contributions to the decorative surfacing industry, and has demonstrated leadership and commitment to the ideals of ISFA, the nominees are: Jon Olson for contributing significantly to the knowledge base, understanding and awareness of surfacing materials such as solid surface and quartz; Charles “Chuck” Sawyer for his years of service to the surfacing industry including as a past executive director of ISFA; and John Lancto for his years of assisting with the growth and advancement of the surfacing industry and standing as a pillar of the surfacing arena on the East Coast and an example for all.

For the Associate of the Year Award, given to an associate member company that in the past year has best exemplified the role of servicing the needs of fabricator member companies, and who has best supported ISFA in all activities, the nominees are: Moraware for going out of its way to expand the amount of solid information available to fabricators through its innovative newsletter, blog, podcast (StoneTalk) and its approach to marketing that works to improve industry standards and quality; and Cosentino for its ongoing support of ISFA events and programming and for supporting the fabrication community.

For the Innovator Award, given to the fabricator member firm or individual who goes outside the box and creates a product or system that enhances the life of the surface fabricator, ArtCor was the only nomination for using its experience and innovative solid surface design and fabrication techniques in Russia to advance the scope and possibilities for the use of solid surface material around the world.

For the Envision Award, given to the manufacturer member that excels in creating something imaginative and special for the surfacing industry, Cosentino was the only nomination for developing Dekton Flooring, which allows traditional countertop fabricators to expand into flooring with a durable, high-quality product that can be used in both interior and exterior applications.

And for the prestigious Fabricator of the Year Award, that is earned by an individual of a fabricator member company that in the past year has best exemplified the ISFA ideals of quality, innovation, character and exemplary service to ISFA and/or the decorative surfacing industry, with overall excellence, the nominees are: Augie Chavez of GECKO SSS for building a successful commercial fabrication business from the ground up, while maintaining a commitment to social standards, such as environmentally friendly practices & training, educating and respecting the company’s staff; Mitch & Sonny Hires Construction Resources (Atlanta Kitchens) for pushing the envelop, developing partnerships and setting the standard in the Southeast for excellence; and ArtCor for using advanced systems and methods to fabricate numerous outstanding solid surface projects making it one of the most innovative solid surface fabricators in Russia and the world.

All ISFA members are encouraged to vote for the 2016 ISFA Awards HERE.

Voting must be done on or before September 29. The winners will be revealed at ISFA’s Annual Conference & Meeting in November.

You may also be interested in this additional information on ISFA’s Annual Conference & Meeting.

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MetroQuartz Expands Distribution and Color Offering

Posted on 16 September 2016 by cradmin

metroquartzMetroQuartz expanded its reach with three new distributors: A.P. Marble & Granite in Clinton, Mich., Zodiac Stone in Dallas and Louisiana Stone in Monroe. With these additional locations MetroQuartz is now available in eight states: Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Michigan, Kentucky, North Carolina and California.

“Metro Quartz is a high quality, designer-focused product line based on the very latest generation technology in engineered quartz surfaces,” says Merile Stevenson of MetroQuartz. “This expansion is part of our plan to expand MetroQuartz distribution across North America.” As such, MetroQuartz is authorizing new distributors for several territories in the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to expanded distribution, MetroQuartz also added three new color options to its line of 29 colors: Statuario Bianco, Bianco Marina and Calacatta Venetian. The MetroQuartz color palette is primarily contemporary with whites such as Luxe, Glacial and Titanium White; grays like Concrete, Graphite and Sage; honed and veined marbles like Calacatta Metro, Toffee and Vogue.


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