The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has always provided high-quality materials and
services to help members and consumers, and the organization is not letting up on offerings designed to make our work lives just a little easier. Although it has been several months, I thought it would be diligent to highlight one of the latest informational releases from the MIA: a new technical bulletin titled Tolerances in the Dimension Stone Industry.
This technical bulletin was actually released in September 2014, but a press release was not issued until March 14 of this year. We here at CountertopResource.com would’ve loved to bring this to you earlier, but it has been a busy year for all of us in the industry, and there is just too much information to cover in depth at all times. However, we believe that this bulletin is so valuable that it is better to talk about it now rather than not all.
MIA Technical Bulletin Volume VII, Issue II was primarily written by Chuck Muehlbauer, technical director of the organization, and was designed with not only fabricators and installers of natural stone in mind, which includes countertop fabricators, but also with designers and architects in mind. The document pulls together installation and fabrication tolerances from several sources, which makes it easier to research and obtain published tolerance standards.
Nothing in Manufacturing or Construction Is Exact
One of the great strengths of this bulletin is that, from the very beginning, it admits that “nothing in manufacturing, construction or commerce is exact.” Although new technologies have allowed us to reduce the level of error, nothing measures exactly as it was specified. Because of this, all manufacturers have provided for allowable deviations from their specified values, and this includes the dimensions that affect the structural integrity and aesthetics of natural stone.
Unfortunately for those in the natural stone industries, tolerance variations for installation and fabrication are not easy to find. It can take uncounted hours to find the specific information required to take the guesswork out of a job. The value of the new technical document was best defined by Muehlbauer when asked about the MIA bulletin:
“The recently published MIA bulletin on fabrication and installation tolerances for natural stone has simplified the lives of both the specifier and the provider,” stated Muehlbauer. “Previously, one would have had to sift through more than 1,000 pages of published documents to find all of this information. Now, it can be easily referenced in a matter of minutes.”
New Voluntary Standard
The Stone Tolerances Technical Bulletin from the MIA is considered to be a voluntary standard for anyone working with natural stone. It has been cross-referenced with tolerance levels provided from a wide range of sources and organizations, and it has been reviewed by stakeholders in the industry as a consensus of their opinions. When no specific documents are available to cover a natural stone project, the MIA encourages this bulletin to be cited as an appropriate industry standard.
Under normal circumstances, this document can be considered an authority on the subject of stone tolerances. However, buyers and sellers may agree to alternate standards, and under extreme conditions, these tolerances may not be appropriate.
The complete technical bulletin is available free of charge at the MIA website, and it can be viewed, downloaded and printed by clicking on the following link: MIA Technical Bulletin on Tolerances in the Dimension Stone Industry.