By Amanda Hosey
Isn’t it strange how sometimes things seem to stay unchanging for ages, and at other times, everything seems to develop and grow in hyper gear, with big change after big change? The restoration industry is moving quickly into the latter, as was on full display at the Restoration Industry Association’s (RIA) Restoration Convention + Industry Expo this May. A wave of change is upon us.
You could feel it in the air at the show: The industry is ready for change. Everywhere restoration professionals talked of the need for a better way forward in working with the insurance industry, trained adjusters, and better communication between the two industries. They talked of (and sometimes argued over) desires for new, loosened, tightened, or updated regulations. It’s time for change.
This desire is not new by any means. We’ve been talking about these ideas for years, especially our issues with the insurance industry, seemingly to no avail. But things felt different this time. The RIA made some big announcements during the convention that showed a real path forward for the industry is being built.
The newly formed Advocacy and Government Affairs (AGA) committee was unveiled at the show. Led by Ed Cross, the AGA’s aim is to bring together the currently fragmented restoration industry to fight for restorer rights and solve industry problems. Experts from many different segments of the industry make up the committee and hope to give the restoration industry as a whole a louder, collective voice.
Think of lobbying groups, meeting face to face with the people who make regulatory and other decisions that affect your work. Think of support for you, a group who is looking out for you and fighting for fairness for your company and the industry. That’s the path RIA is setting with the AGA.
At the same show, RIA and the IICRC together announced they were entering a strategic partnership. It was met with great excitement by attendees, and it’s a show of solidarity for the restoration industry that these two major forces in the industry that have always functioned independently have come together for the good of their members.
The partnership will allow the two organizations to increase knowledge across the industry. RIA offers intensive and respected designations, like Certified Restorer or Water Loss Specialist, that can now be marketed to IICRC members. Out of this partnership also comes a new standard, the BSR/IICRC S700: Standard for Professional Smoke and Fire Restoration.
IICRC will also lend its influence to RIA’s efforts to advocate on behalf of the restoration industry as more and more regulations come our way. Leaders from both associations are a part of the AGA, working to identify the issues most important to restoration professionals and find ways to meaningfully address them.
There’s a wave of change on our horizon at the moment, and with change often comes fears. What will all these efforts bring, and will we benefit? Those are reasonable questions. But take a moment to relish the fact that people are trying to elevate, protect, and fight for the industry you’ve poured literal blood and sweat into.
It’s good to have someone watching your back.
Amanda Hosey is the managing editor of Cleanfax. She has worked as an editor and writer for more than six years, including four years with Cleanfax. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.