Volume 11, Issue 2 - March/April 2009

Repair Round-Up
NWRA reports

Hello … But Not Really
by Mike Boyle

I had really hoped that this, my first column as president of the National Windshield Repair Associations (NWRA), would be a great exercise of grand ideas and pronouncements. I was hoping this because as I am writing this the NWRA board is about to have a three-day long-range planning session where we are going to arrange the expansion of the NWRA mission in an incredibly ambitious way. Unfortunately, the grand column full of beautiful phrases and paragraphs that will paint a bright picture of the future of glass repair is going to have to wait. Other older issues are trying once again to chain repair down as some voodoo science that only exists in the minds of a few thousand repair-only shops that live on the fringe of a better respected auto glass industry.

SAE Still a Threat
Last month, NWRA had a conversation with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) where we were told that that body is making plans to adopt its Z26.1 standard and wants to push it through to ANSI for final approval. SAE reported to us that they are expecting to have the standard published early in 2009. 

NWRA’s requests for a copy of the revised standard have been denied. This pronouncement was made even though the NWRA and dozens of other industry groups and companies corresponded with negative assessments to SAE about this new Z26.1. As of today, I know of no one who has received any response from SAE concerning their complaints of the new draft. NWRA believes that this draft, as was originally written, will greatly change the way repairers do business should it become an ANSI-approved standard. The offending section specifies that anyone other than the original glazing manufacturer be required to catalog work done on automotive glass by etching the glass surface. The requirement includes everyone who works on windshields in any way, on any level.

We have been told time and time again, through various channels, that this new draft applies only to OEM products and does not affect the aftermarket. Fine, but we would like to have that in writing from SAE as is required by ANSI standards-making regulations. Then we would like to have the marking section removed from Z26.1. No reason has ever been forwarded as to why a marking standard is needed. What are we tracking and why are we tracking it?

If a retailer or supplier wants to track their repair history for quality control and other data-mining desires, that is one thing. But to have an organization suggest that an industry watch-dog needs to create a repair-tracking program and then provides no reasoning for the program smacks of big brother, especially when the suggestion comes from an organization that is rumored to not be repair-friendly. 

NWRA will continue to monitor the entire situation and will approach the industry groups for support at the appropriate time should any new details arise. We do appreciate the vast support we received when this threat was initially uncovered and the expedited action the entire industry took to help us address Z26.1.

As for the exciting future plans of the NWRA, please stay tuned.

Mike Boyle is president of GlasWeld Inc. in Bend, Ore. and serves as president of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA). Mr. Boyle’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

Special Note
The NWRA board of directors, staff and membership would like to thank Paul Gross, David Erwin and David Taylor for their years of voluntary service as directors on the board of the NWRA, their contributions to the repair industry and their work for the benefit of the entire glass repair industry.

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