When ACI 522.1 was written, there was a lot of debate about what should be considered a certified pervious concrete contractor. Within the final document, formal reference was made to the National Ready Mix Concrete Associations' pervious concrete contractor certification program, and it's three levels of qualification. The committee decided a contractor could be considered certified if he had 1 craftsman, 3 installers, or 5 technicians on the jobsite.
The highest level of qualification, Craftsman, requires extensive work experience, an accompanying certification as an ACI Flatwork Technician, and passing a written test. In a Utopian world, all pervious concrete would be perfectly placed by those with a Craftsman certification. It truly indicates that somebody has spent the time learning the art of placing pervious concrete. If you look at healthy pervious concrete markets like Seattle and Florida, you will find a healthy number of contractors employing at least one Craftsman.
The next level down is the Installer. Installers have completed 3 projects totaling more than 10,000 sq. ft., maintain an ACI Flatwork Technician certification, and have passed a written exam. This level was not in the original certification program, but was added to allow less experienced contractors to serve the newer markets. The idea was that these contractors would quickly upgrade to Craftsman as the market matured.
Technician is the lowest level of certification. To become a Technician one only needs to pass a written test. One can actually become a techician without ever seeing real pervious concrete -- fresh or hardened. There has been some debate in the industry -- was it a mistake to write 522.1 to allow five Technicians to place pervious concrete?
Not speaking on behalf of the committee, only sharing my own opinion -- it was the right decision. Five years ago, when pervious concrete was a rare sight, it made sense to allow crews with five Technicians to place pervious concrete -- otherwise there would be no contractors in the market. As the market grows and matures, those Technicians are becoming Installers, and Installers are becoming Craftsmen. As the ACI Pervious Concrete committee prepares to rewrite 522.1, we'll see how the opinions of those in the industry shape the definition of a "Certified Pervious Concrete Contractor".