Design manual for end-users

Published in Discovering Stone magazine, page 43.

Architects, builders, designers, property developers and stone industry participants have always lamented the lack of a comprehensive guide to the specification, installation, protection and restoration of natural stone.

Architects seeking advice on standards have invariably turned to ASTM (American Society for Testing and Material) for guidance. Given the absence of available funding for the development of similar standards in Australia, the Australian Stone Advisory Association determined that the best, and most effective way forward, lay in development of a comprehensive manual which references the ASTM recommendations, and provides a contemporary snapshot of local and international industry practices.


The Marble Institute of America (MIA) produce a comprehensive manual, which covers all the bases. ASAA contacted MIA CEO Gary Distelhorst in relation to the local association reproducing MIA materials under license.

The ASAA board met with Gary in Sydney in 2008, where he gave permission for the association to produce Australian versions of MIA guides, on the proviso that it clearly referenced the MIA as the copyright holder. In 2009, ASAA produced its version of the “Residential Stone Countertop Guide”.

A growing number of architects, building owners, stonemasons and homeowners were seeking advice and assistance. As the number and complexity of the calls to ASAA grew, callers were asked to formally submit their request via email.

More callers were seeking advice prior to selecting a suitable product. Many of the problems outlined in subsequent emails could have been avoided if access to a suitable reference guide to stone selection, testing, installation and maintenance was widely available.

This indicated that the availability of a suitable standard or guide was long overdue. As a result, the ASAA board asked the MIA for permission to produce an Australian version of its 400 plus page manual, which would contain appropriately modified text and drawings.

The MIA responded positively and an agreement has been reached in principle, which provides both parties with joint copyright of the contents of the ASAA Natural Stone Design Manual, and an appropriate share of the net proceeds of sales of the manual.

A decision was made to add some new sections, which fully reflect the local use of stone, common problems that regularly happen. Many of the chapters are supported by comprehensive drawings.

Where appropriate purchasers will be invited to purchase new chapters, which will enable them to update the content of their manual.

Our thanks to Discovering Stone magazine.

See here for how to order.