Jery Y. Huntley is president of the Vinyl Siding Institute, in Washington, D.C. VSI recently started a program to certify vinyl siding installers.

REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR: Why start an installer certification program?

Jery Huntley: It ties in to our product certification program started in 1998. That program ensures certified products are up to ANSI standards through twice-yearly plant inspections. We have a quality product, so we want to ensure that it's properly installed.

RC: How long did it take to get the program up and running?

JH: About three years. First we updated our installation manual and put the contents, free and downloadable, on our Web site (www.vinylsiding.org). Then we tried some pilot classes to understand how to teach it.

RC: How many trainers are out there right now?

JH: Ten of our manufacturers have certified trainers. There are also some contractors certified to train.

RC: Installers must have a minimum of one year experience and take a two-day course to be certified. Any other requirements?

JH: After the first two years, you must be re-certified. And if, for some reason, practices have changed, you must be re-tested. Otherwise, you just have to show that you're still a hands-on installer.

RC: What's the advantage for the certified installer?