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January - February 2003



AAMA Gets Lucky in Las Vegas with Successful Meeting

VEGAS The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) headed west for its 2002 national fall meeting in Henderson, Nev., where much progress was made. The meeting was held just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas strip, at the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas Resort (which was also the site of the 2000 filming of “America’s Sweethearts”). 

Against that backdrop, the association also put the foundation in place for its winter national meeting, which will be held February 2-6, 2003, in Maui, Hawaii.

As usual, the Codes and Regulatory Affairs Committee meeting was one of the fullest, drawing most of the meeting’s attendees, in addition to all the committee members.

Julie Ruth of JRuth Code Consulting, AAMA’s code consultant, updated members on what occurred at the International Code Council’s September hearings. According to Ruth, the reference to NAFS-1 in the International Code, which AAMA proposed and supported, was approved.

However, a window sill height requirement proposal—on which AAMA members had mixed emotions—was not approved. (See September-October DWM, page 27, for related story.) Jim Seely, an architect in attendance at the last AAMA meeting, had proposed that AAMA request a 26-inch-sill height requirement be instituted in the international codes. But, AAMA had been opposed to suggesting a number because little research has been done on the topic. Seely proposed his own, though, and it was turned down.

Ruth suggested that AAMA research the topic and suggest a number, but include an exception—that it not be required for adults, only children, since they are usually the ones who fall from these windows.

Charles Everly of PGT Industries agreed.

“If we could somehow have a détente on sill requirements that adults could override, it would solve the problem,” he said.

In other code news, the community of Prescott, Ariz., recently tried to ban vinyl windows based on their perceived lack of resistance to fire (following the suit of a community outside San Diego in 2001). AAMA had planned to use the research from the California case, which was eventually dropped, to stop the ban on vinyl.

A Sticky Situation
The mold monitoring task group held its second in-person meeting, after forming at the June meeting in Annapolis. With Ray Bjerrum at the helm as its chair, Dennis Kelly agreed to co-chair the task group, formed in the wake of a number of mold suits affecting window manufacturers.

Bjerrum suggested that the group develop a mold “clearing-house,” in which they would store any information that was gathered about mold or mold lawsuits, to be available for use in future suits that could affect AAMA members.

After much discussion, Stu Fishman of Titon Inc. suggested that the group develop a new section of AAMA’s members-only website that would list mold sources and websites, but no specific information. The motion was seconded and approved.

In addition, the task group voted to allow the Western region to print a consumer-oriented insert about mold for the association’s window brochures.

Banning Together
The Aluminum Materials Council discussed a variety of issues, but the biggest came from its chairperson, Raj Goyal, who urged all council members to get involved with a related association, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).

“I need every member of this council to be a member of the NFRC,” he said. “Whether we like it or not, energy issues are not going away.”

Deflection Issue
Bill Lingnell of Lingnell Consulting gave a presentation on the research he has been conducting concerning deflection, but announced that the full report would not be available until the winter meeting in Hawaii.

Likewise, several asked questions on how AAMA would use the report once it is complete. Carl Wagus, technical director for AAMA, fielded the questions.

“At this point we don’t really know what AAMA will do with the results of Bill’s study,” he said. “AAMA has gone into the forest with confident guides and plans to come out with enough information to figure out where we’ll go next; we’re just exploring the forest for our members.”

Honoring Chairpersons
AAMA held a special meeting for chairpersons of the association’s many committees, task groups and sub-task groups. Some items featured at the meeting were Robert’s Rules of Order and how to use them successfully, along with awards (both humorous and serious) for some of AAMA’s chairpersons.

The award for Best Penmanship went to Ken Brendan of Wausau Window and Wall Systems; Most Prompt Submittal of Agenda and Minutes to Gary Elsey of EFCO Corp.; Rookie of the Year to Paul Gore of Pilkington; Longest Running Chairman to Ron Gzell of Schnee-Moorehead; Best Pinch-Hitter to Henry Taylor of Architectural Testing Inc.; Outstanding Vice Chair to Ivan Johnson of Tristar Skylights; Lazarus Award to Tracy Rogers of Intertek Testing Services; Fly-Paper Award to Doug Adams of Bronze Craft Corp.; Chair-a-holic Award to Scott Warner of Architectural Testing Inc.; the “Let’s Get It Right” Award to Val Rogers of Weather Shield Manufacturing Inc.; and Best Special Effects Award to Grant Muller of Mikron Industries.

On a more serious note, AAMA decided to add one required task group conference call between meetings so every task group will meet at least six times a year.

AAMA’s next in-person meeting is slated for February 2-6, 2003, at the Sheraton Maui Kaanapali Beach Resort in Maui.

Canadians to Receive Aid Because of Tariffs
LUMBER Canadian softwood lumber producers are to receive an aid package to help those companies deal with the Canadian lumber tariff.

According to a Vancouver Sun article, published October 1, 2002, “The [Canadian] federal cabinet finally approved … an aid package aimed at helping communities and workers across Canada deal with the economic and social upheaval caused by punitive U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber totaling 27 percent.”

The program includes assistance under an employment insurance program and will help companies “offer training and job-sharing to displaced workers,” which is said to be valued at nearly $300 million, said the article.

In other news relating to the Canadian lumber tariff, Tembec of Temiscaming, Quebec, recently announced it is closing its sawmill in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, saying the reason is due to the Canadian lumber tariff.

According to an article by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, “The company said the closure will take effect within the next month when its supplies of roundwood run out. The shutdown will affect 23 employees, in addition to 38 others who are already on temporary layoff. Tembec said it will keep another 19 employees at its drying and planing operations while lumber supplies last.”

White House Considers Changing Forest Plan
“The Bush administration wants to scrap a controversial requirement to survey for about 66 species prior to logging on federal forestland,” said a recent article in The Olympian of Olympia, Wash.

These surveys had been required in the past as part of the 1933 Northwest Forest Plan. 
“Environmentalists denounced the move … by the Bush administration, which was part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by timber industry interests,” said the article.

Heather Brinton of the Western Environmental Law Center believes the Bush administration could be faced with more court challenges.

“The courts have already ruled that wildlife surveys are an essential part of the Northwest Forest Plan and that the plan represents the minimum legal protection for our ancient forest,” said Brinton. 

Fraudulent Mold Claims On the Rise in Texas
There have been a number of fraudulent mold cases in Texas, where insureds are claiming water damage after they allegedly “cracked open pipes and turned on garden hoses to create damage claims,” said a recent article in the National Underwriter. 

“In many mold cases, Mr. Johns [president of the Austin-based Southwestern Insurance Infor-mation Service] said, homes have had doors and windows sealed up to create a warm environment that cooks up mold,” according to the article.

“[Southwestern Insurance Infor-mation Service] cannot state that such ‘cooking’ of homes is commonplace, ‘but we can say with a large degree of certainty that it is done often. We feel that it is being done throughout Texas,’” said Johns.

Johns attributes the problem “to a lack of license requirements or standard best practices for mold remediators, whose bills account for a large portion of such claims,” said the article.

Economist Predicts Mixed Outlook for Year-End Construction
Construction economist Bill Toal, formerly with the Portland Cement Association (PCA), provided construction industry professionals with an industry forecast for the remainder of the year during the seventh annual CMD/CSI CEO breakfast held recently.

According to Toal’s report, which used data from the PCA, the industry may see a 1.6-percent decrease in total construction for the year, with an expected 1.4-percent increase next year.
Toal also noted that while some sectors remain weak, the economy appears to be improving, showing such signs as an increase in industrial production and record-low inflation and interest rates. According to the report, low interest rates have led to strong consumer spending, including “robust” housing starts. And while residential construction is stronger than was expected, Toal predicted a “small dip” before the end of the year.

Although industrial production had declined in early 2002, it is now showing signs of improvement. The corporate office market, however, is still dropping “as there is the impression that things may be worse than previously thought in the corporate sector due to recent financial 
In addition, Toal provided revised residential construction forecast numbers. Housing starts were predicted to drop below 1.5 million from 1.6 million in 2001, but are now expected to remain at 1.55 million starts for 2002. Likewise, industrial and commercial construction have dropped, and Toal suggested this was a “red flag” for this market segment with a 10.8-percent forecast drop by the end of the year. For 2003, though, industrial and commercial construction is expected to begin recovery with a 5-percent increase.

In terms of airport and school construction, Toal expects these areas to remain strong through the year’s last two quarters, as will public works. 

ANSI Grants Approval to WDMA Hallmark Certification
Architects, builders, specifiers and code officials gained an important new tool for use when designing both residential and non-residential buildings. The step comes with American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) accreditation of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) Hallmark Certification Program. 

According to representatives from WDMA, the accreditation of the program by ANSI grants instant cache to its program. Most major code bodies, including those in the contentious South Florida area, cite ANSI-accredited programs as indicative of the highest quality in a variety of product areas. The WDMA Hallmark Certification Program, created to certify manufacturers and the products they make as conforming to established performance standards of excellence, henceforth will be recognized as a symbol of quality by specifiers, said the WDMA.

The process for manufacturers begins upon application. The program consists of independent third-party testing provided by test labs testing to performance standards. It continues through third-party validation and inspection of window, door and skylight manufacturing processes. Once the manufacturer demonstrates conformance with the standards set by WDMA, ongoing sampling and testing of products manufactured in a specific plant is required for continuing participation in the program. According to the program’s provisions, each program participant’s plants are checked randomly twice a year for program compliance. 

MW Windows & Doors to Donate Products for Two Habitat Homes
MW James Rapoza (left), vice president, of sales and marketing, and Michael Haley (right), president, present a check to Habitat for Humanity.

MW Windows & Doors of Rocky Mount, Va., has teamed up with local Habitat for Humanity chapters and the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., to help build homes in Southern Virginia.

As sponsor of Martinsville Speedway’s Virginia 500 and Dominion 500 Pole Days, MW Windows & Doors wanted to give more than just a trophy to the Pole Day winner. So the company has pledged to donate windows and doors for two Habitat for Humanity homes in the area on behalf of the two Pole Day winners, according to Michael P. Haley, president of MW Manufacturers Inc.

Gold Medal for Weinig Unimat 3000 at DREMA in Poland
DREMA Weinig’s Unimat 3000, the top-of-the-line model of the latest generation of moulders, celebrates one success after another, said the company. After previously winning the Challenger’s Award at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, the fully automatic machine was again honored in Poland. The Unimat 3000 won the gold medal of the international woodworking trade fair, DREMA, for the most innovative product, said the company.

STRYBUC Strybuc Becomes a Leading Supplier of Window Operators 
Strybuc Industries of Sharon Hill, Pa., recently acquired Window Components Manu-facturing of Miami, and says it is now one of the largest distributors of window operators in the country. At last count it had more than 1,000 different window operators in stock in various sizes and finishes, said the company.\

Window Technology Systems, the developer of WTS Paradigm™ software, announces its move to expanded new headquarters in Medford, Wis. This fenestration software package for engineering solutions has grown significantly since its founding in 1999, said the company … VT Industries, headquartered in Holstein, Iowa, recently expanded its commitment to the environment with a Forest Stewardship Council certification that qualifies the company as a provider of certified wood doors, according to Rick Liddell, vice president of the company’s architectural door division … Vicksburg Aluminum & Metal Products Company of Vicksburg, Miss., installed a die stamping line that produces components needed for the fabrication of the finished window and door screen… Hurd Millwork of Medford, Wis., is working toward offering AAMA-certified products, which will validate what its buyers and specifiers have been saying for years, said the company … Paco Building Supply of St. Louis, Mo., gave away a Bass fishing boat during an open house at its new location at Point West Business Park in St. Charles, Mo. … Therma-Tru Doors of Maumee, Ohio, is establishing a separate patio door program within its company … Simpson Door Co. of McCleary, Wash., opened a new custom-door facility in Centralia, Wash.  … Acu-Tech Supply Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz., is representing the FeneVision™ line of software products developed by Fenetech Inc. of Aurora, Ohio. This software program was developed exclusively for the fenestration industry to provide seamless manufacturing integration from order entry through shipping.

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