The man who has an undying passion for training and educating vinyl fitters.
Charles Davids, the Technical and Training Manager of Polyflor South Africa, is certainly a legend in the vinyl flooring industry. He began his career as a vinyl floor fitter in the 1960s and fast became an expert in his field. In 1999 he joined the Polyflor family and, since then, there is probably not a vinyl floor fitter in SA that has not at some time or another been trained by Charles.
Charles is dedicated to the upliftment of fitters and subcontractors. Much of Charles’s time is spent training fitting teams at the Polyflor Training Centre in Sebenza, Edenvale, or on site where he assists and trains under real site conditions.
Charles feels strongly that fitters often have to work under difficult site conditions without proper tools, and in some instances they are poorly paid. Addressing these issues will go a long way to improving the standard and quality of work in the vinyl fitting industry. “While we all know budgets are tight and pricing is important, it is often the fitter/subcontractor at the end of the line who has to try to do a first-class installation at a less than ideal price,” he explains. “The fitters will then work faster to finish so that they can squeeze in another job in order to earn a liveable wage each month.”
This results in a ‘quantity vs quality’ situation. Often, fitters cannot afford new and proper tools resulting in a less than ideal installation. Charles often gives tools away to help fitters to improve their quality of installation. The vinyl flooring industry has developed a culture of cutting prices to get work and is now suffering the consequences of poor-quality installations and unhappy clients. The value of quality has been forgotten in the drive to get “the best deal”. This is something that needs to be addressed by all parties in the industry from the client right down to the fitter.
While Charles focuses on teaching the fitters proper fitting skills, new techniques and ensuring they understand the importance of proper site preparation, he also spends time educating builders, project managers and architects about the importance of required site conditions, good lighting and minimal interference from other trades during floor fitting. With fast-track projects, it has become the norm to have many trades on site at once, all working on top of one another. This can be very counter-productive when doing vinyl installations. “Proper project planning would greatly help, with vinyl scheduled almost at the end of the project when most others trades have completed their work,” Charles highlights.
Charles is very well known in the trade,well liked and respected by all, from architects to flooring contractors to the fitters themselves. He has a hands-on approach and gets right in with the guys to show them how it’s done and then guides them as they learn and practise what they have been taught. This is all part and parcel of the Polyflor service and is not charged for. Charles is never more than a phone call away to assist with any problem, to book a training session or a site visit and he travels far and wide to help wherever he can. If it is vinyl flooring you are doing then it’s Charles Davids from Polyflor that is your go-to guy for training and technical advice and assistance.