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May - June 2003

How do we Perform? 

New Standard Guides the Way


by Alan J. Campbell


On the surface, some of us may be direct competitors. But deep down, we know we have to forge common threads to ensure the vitality and integrity of the window, door and skylight industry.

As an organization, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) also acknowledges the appropriateness of the motto of DWM magazine that “the future of fenestration manufacturing is in our hands.” It mirrors our mission statement to promote the interests of the window, skylight and door industry, increase the use of products of the industry and enhance our position of leadership. Indeed, the future is in all of our hands.

So much is happening within the industry–consolidation, growth, technological innovation and changes–many of those signaling a positive evolution of the industry. There are also issues and changes that may negatively affect the industry. That’s why we closely monitor all activity that may somehow affect us.

Working Toward a Common Goal

How building code authorities and others directly or indirectly interpret the products and standards of the window, door and skylight industry is of primary importance. Our goal is to continue to educate those involved that installing quality window, door and skylight products is crucial.

WDMA continues to promote integrity in the industry by the creation of relevant and timely standards from which to base manufacturing and performance guidelines. Standards are voluntary documents, but they are designed to provide the basis for excellence in manufacturing and a superior finished product.

Working together, in a united industry front, is one way in which we get things done in the industry. The North American Fenestration Standard is a perfect example of setting and achieving goals through cooperation and consensus.

In just a few short years, working with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and many others from manufacturing to distribution and beyond, 101/I.S.2/A440 Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights has come to fruition. We recently completed the first public review of the new specification. The all-encompassing document now includes the Voluntary Specification for the Performance of Side-Hinged Door Systems draft rolled into the original Voluntary Specification for Aluminum, Vinyl (PVC) and Wood Windows and Glass Doors; the Voluntary Specification for Skylights; and CSA A440 Windows.

We’re proud of the document and its scope and relevance to real-world applications for doors, windows and skylights. It was jointly developed by the U.S./Canadian Structural Harmonization Task Force and the Joint Exterior Door Task Group of WDMA, who worked diligently at making sure the best interests of the industry were reflected in the document.

Finally, a National Standard

There are many changes and innovation in this latest and second version of what has become the national standard for the performance of windows, doors and skylights. Several of those include:

·        The addition of side-hinged exterior doors as noted above;

·        The introduction of a limited water rating for side-hinged doors;

·        The expansion of the product rating system to provide a primary designator similar to that in current use and a new secondary designator which allows the reporting of performance criteria such as negative test pressures, optional performance criteria and water test pressures; and

·        The elimination of the words “residential, light commercial, heavy commercial and architectural,” shifting instead to easy letter designations of R, LC, HC and AW, and more, designed to recognize the required specific performance of these fenestration units.

Performance-based criteria are crucial to the integrity of this document. The standard outlines specific product performance requirements appropriate to each type of window, skylight or door. In essence, it recognizes products according to how they will perform in the field. Product performance requirements provide a gateway into one of five established performance classes. There are four mandatory primary performance requirements including structural adequacy to withstand wind loads, resistance to water penetration, resistance to air leakage and forced entry resistance.

The purpose of this document is to establish a nationally recognized performance specification to guide manufacturers, distributors, architects, builders and others. This new product specification is groundbreaking and significant and another important step in establishing the future prosperity of the industry.


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

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