In Issue 38 of The Flag Stone we made reference to The Stone Trust in Vermont (USA). It is typical of many overseas bodies providing access to the DSWA GB’s certifications. What is different about The Stone Trust is that the testing is generally done indoors.
There are four certified levels: Initial, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master Craftsman. They are designed to ensure that dry stone wallers achieve their highest standards of craftsmanship.
The DSWA’s certifications have become the world-wide standard for evaluating wallers’ proficiency and quality. The certifications began in 1968 in Great Britain as a way to evaluate a waller’s skill, promote correct structural techniques, and help clients determine the capabilities of prospective wallers.
Certification tests are rigorous and challenging hands-on demonstrations of the wallers’ skills. At each level the test walls are evaluated and scored by certified DSWA examiners. Candidates can determine what level they are ready for by familiarising themselves with the certification levels and perhaps taking workshops and pre-tests.
The Stone Trust points out that DSWA certification:
- Provides a known standard for your work quality
- Assures clients of your capabilities
- Gives you professional credentials
- Improves your structural skills
- Increases your speed and efficiency
- Distinguishes you from the competition
- Increases your earning potential.
All levels of certification consist of taking down and re-building a specified amount of wall in seven hours. The walls are built in the presence of the examiners and must meet the minimum required score to pass. All tests are graded on a pass/fail system. Each part of the test wall is numerically graded, and must meet or exceed a minimum score to pass. The test wall as a whole must also meet a minimum score to pass. The required sections and mini- mum scores vary for each level of certification.