Volume 7 Issue 2 February 2006
WDMA OPENS UP
New Year, New Look
In Position for the Future
by Jeffrey Lowinski
This year marks the 79th anniversary for WDMA, and it will be one of both challenge and decision for our association. We have enjoyed several years of growth and prosperity, bolstered by the strong and growing residential new construction and remodeling/replacement markets. But some indicators are pointing to downturns in single-family housing starts and weakening of consumer confidence, which could spell slowdowns in exterior door and window purchases.
We are at a crossroads. Having suspended consolidation discussions with the American Architec-tural Manufacturers Association, we are now ready to launch several initiatives previously held back. Our key areas of focus continue to be membership growth, technical leadership and marketing promotion. We must now refine our short-term and long-term strategic plans to position WDMA for the future.
Whether construction is up, down or flat, the fact remains that doors, windows and skylights are a critical part of any project. According to recent remodeling statistics, replacement windows provide a great cost-value ratio as compared with other commodities.
We have a powerful story to tell about the energy efficiency of high-tech glass and glazing, exterior doors and windows, as items of beauty and security. Homeowners can now take advantage of new tax incentives and credits for the installation of energy efficient windows and more of these types of programs may surface as the United States seeks to offset natural gas prices as well as address other long-term environmental concerns. In commercial venues, natural light and daylighting techniques also set precedence for further innovation in light-letting products.
WDMA is already reorganizing how we do business, by combining and moving our former technical conference and summer meetings into a single, October 2006 event. This expanded meeting format will bring together experts from both our technical and marketing strengths, providing us the opportunity to better coordinate activities.
We’ve learned much about ourselves, the needs of our members and needs of the industry over the past two years. Many of these lessons have been incorporated into the latest WDMA Technical Handbook. As we continue to refine this process, WDMA will be reorganizing how our technical committees are structured and how they manage and complete their many projects and assignments. To solidify this, we’ve renamed the Technical Review Board as the Technical Process Committee, which better defines its role as a management, rather than an overseer committee. Over the next few months, our committees will also be reorganizing into market-segment driven primary committees that group assignments of common interest with their participants.
We now have standards which apply to both the United States and Canada. AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/ I.S.2/A440-05 Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights is the latest one, released in 2005, and slated for reference in the 2006 edition of the International Codes. What this means is that as code jurisdictions adopt the 2006 codes, building specifications will reference the new door, window and skylight standard increasingly.
Accreditation of the WDMA Hallmark Certification Program by the American National Standards Institute provides another mechanism for the nation’s code bodies to assure that products covered by the program conform to established industry standards. In Florida, the Department of Community Affairs, through its product approval system, recognized WDMA as a Product Certification Agency. As such, manufacturers adhering to the Hallmark Certification Program can demonstrate compliance to the Florida Building Code.
The door, window and skylight industry is challenged as never before, but still, this year will be our greatest ever.
Jeffrey F. Lowinski serves as acting president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill.
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