Volume 9, Issue 5 - October 2007

Repair Round-Up
nwra reports

Battling From A-Z
by Paul Syfko

People often wonder just what associations do. The two most frequently asked questions we get are “What can (or will) the NWRA do for me?” and “What does the NWRA do?” Generally, representatives will say that our primary goal is to build the industry from the inside out—provide support and networking opportunities for our members and, in turn, help educate the public about the benefits of repair. However, our job goes beyond that. We also work to protect the interests of the industry from outside factors that may threaten the livelihood of our members, either intentionally or not. 

NWRA staff members logged many hours and frequent flyer miles traveling to Connecticut when that state was mulling over the issue of licensing to ensure that the repair industry was adequately represented and its status protected. Now we’re faced with what could be a very serious threat to how we do business.

The Concern
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) ANSI Z26.1 Automotive Safety Glazing Committee currently is working on the resubmission of an ANSI standard about automotive glazing. This Z26.1 standard, as it is called, governs the use of glazing products in vehicles. 

NWRA has learned that the new draft standard may require any and all modifications made to vehicle glass—including windshield repairs—be marked in such a way that it is noticeable to the vehicle owner and others who view the car. 

It is believed that manufacturers of laminated glass are the most emphatic promoters of the proposed new language in favor of marking windshield repairs. 

Unfortunately, deliberations on the proposed Standard have been closed, thus preventing the NWRA leadership from obtaining information as to what the Standard would mean for work performed on the windshield. From what we have been able to ascertain so far, even individual windshield repairs would have to be marked—and that mark would need to be made in a visible location and include information about the company making the repair. It doesn’t take much to see the threat that presents to the industry. Not many consumers will be receptive to having what we consider routine repairs done if it comes with a noticeable marking on the windshield. 

What We’re Doing About It
As soon as the NWRA was made aware of the potential threat to the industry, association leadership started taking an active roll to protect the collective interest of the industry. We have contacted the chairperson of the SAE ANSI Z26.1 Automotive Safety Glazing Committee directly to request not only information but also representation in the standard’s writing process. 

We currently are waiting for a response from the committee, but have made our concerns known to the ANSI and SAE counsels as well.

The process of creating or changing an ANSI standard is a relatively lengthy one and by design is supposed to be public and transparent. The initial deliberations of this standard have been relatively private. 

That indicates to the NWRA that we very well might be fighting an uphill battle for recognition and to gain participation. The NWRA represents the experts of the repair industry. The creation of a standard that concerns repair must include our voice and the voices of those we represent. We will continue to be proactive in this matter in hopes of keeping our industry alive and competitive and NWRA members will receive frequent updates about this important development. 

Paul Syfko is president of Glass Medic America in Westergate, Ohio, and serves as president of the NWRA. Mr. Syfko’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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