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July - August 2003

Set Sights on Performance Standards
Documents Focus on Real World Applications
by Alan J. Campbell

  Manufacturing door and window products based on performance criteria is crucial to the continued evolution of the industry. 

The Window and Door Manufac-turers Association (WDMA) of Des Plaines, Ill., continues to develop and revisit standards in a continuing effort to hone in on how they will perform in the field. This isn’t “pie-in-the-sky” talk, but reality: performance-based, non-prescriptive, standards and certification programs are a necessary ingredient to ensure the longevity and prosperity of the industry.

We’ve made great strides at WDMA with our standards by continuing to update and revamp these documents to meet current technological needs. While these standards are voluntary, many who participate in following the specifications regularly go above and beyond the call of duty and even exceed its guidelines. That says a lot about the participants in the window and door industry and also, how crucial these products are to the overall building envelope.

In every standard we produce or revise, performance takes center stage, and the first version of the North American Fenestration Standard 101/I.S.2/NAFS-02, Volun-tary Performance Specification for Windows, Skylights and Glass Doors is one example. The Fenestration Standards Harmonized Task Force (consisting of representatives from WDMA, AAMA, CWDMA and CSA) developed this performance-based specification. This document is comprehensive and detailed in its approach to real-world applications for windows, skylights and glass doors. The standard outlines specific product performance requirements appropriate to each type of window, skylight or glass door; in essence, recognizing these products according to how they will perform in the field.

IBC Nod 
In October 2002, the International Code Council (ICC) accepted 101/I.S.2/NAFS-02 as an approved referenced standard in the International Building Code (IBC). This means there is a single, recognized ANSI-approved standard for windows, skylights and glass doors, which meets the requirements for both the United States and Canada. Copies of ANSI 101/I.S.2/NAFS-02 is available in print, and electronic versions by going to the WDMA website at www.wdma.com

Directions for Doors
Doors have not been forgotten in the push to measure and establish performance. In fact there’s a comprehensive effort under way to further establish doors and their importance to the building. Doors are being recognized for all they can do—such as provide fire ratings, sound resistance, means of egress, weather barriers, security and beauty.

Exterior side-hinged doors are being addressed in the second version of the North American Fenestration Standard 101/I.S.2/A440, Specifica-tions for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights. The inclusion of exterior doors will make this new standard the most comprehensive in the fenestration industry. This will be the first nationally recognized, performance-based specification for side-hinged exterior door systems. 101/I.S.2/A440 establishes minimum performance criteria, Performance Grades and Perfor-mance Class designations for side-hinged exterior door systems. Other key elements are allowance for “limited water” penetration designation, cycle testing performance and forced-entry resistance.

101/I.S.2/A440 has just completed it’s first “Public Review” and the Fenestration Standards Harmonized Task Force has responded to more than 200 comments. The document has been thoroughly reviewed and final changes have been completed. The next step is to send the document to members of WDMA, AAMA and CSA for association approval. This version is targeted for inclusion in the 2006 version of the IBC.

Inside the building, architectural wood flush doors are also being addressed in a performance-based standard, I.S. 1-A. The Architectural Wood Flush Door Standard has been updated and revised—again to incorporate the move by WDMA to performance-based standards and specifications.

The reason for this move is plain and simple: the environment in which a door or window is used is crucial to its overall longevity. Performance standards benefit everyone in the industry, from the manufacturer who has more uniform and flexible criteria on which to base door production, to the end-user who knows the opening can withstand years of operating performance based on guidelines adhered to in the specification. As an industry, it’s our job to actively pursue ways to make our products the best they can be for the intended application.

The performance standard in I.S. 1-A consists of three duty levels: extra heavy duty, heavy duty and standard duty, with nine corresponding performance attributes applicable for each of those duty levels. Minimum performance values are assigned to each attribute within each duty level. The standard focuses heavily on final performance criteria with actual physical testing and scientific calculations to validate these values. 

This is also the first time architectural interior doors will be recognized in this type of document. In the past, standards told manufacturers what materials and dimensions to use. 

I.S. 1-A is flexible and recognizes innovation in materials and technology and gives manufacturers the ability to use different materials as long as they meet the performance criteria for compliance outlined by the standard. 

WDMA never acts on its own, even with the most reliable and credible testing methods. We go to the field to find out how we’re doing. Part of the process of making I.S. 1-A workable and usable involved releasing a draft of the document to a sample users group of architects, specifiers and distributors for comments. Then the draft is finalized and WDMA membership balloted. It’s an arduous process, but it ensures the integrity of the document.

Once completed I.S. 1-A, Architectural Wood Flush Door Standard will most likely 
stand alongside 101/I.S.2/A440, Specifications for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights, providing a compendium of specifications for architectural interior and exterior openings. 
In the near future, WDMA will also be working on the creation of a Hallmark Certification Program specifically for doors, adding further third-party credibility to the manufacture of these participating products.

There’s so much happening as we continue to meet the needs of our members. Our website, www.wdma.com, has been revised and updated, and you can find timely information at your fingertips. 

Be sure to visit the site for the latest on codes, standards, certification programs, meetings and other need-to-know-information, as we all work together, to foster the integrity and success of window, door and skylight manufacturing and distribution. 

Alan J. Campbell, CAE, serves as president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, based in Des Plaines, Ill. 

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