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November - December 2003

Evolutionary and Revolutionary:

Windows and Doors No Longer Take a Backseat

by Alan J. Campbell

The window, door and skylight industry continues to make headway on many different fronts. One of the most important developments–an evolution if you will–is the way in which consumers perceive these products.

A Prominent Design Element

Most will agree that in the past, windows, doors and skylights took a backseat to other design elements of construction in commercial and residential premises. They were given only a precursory examination, and then pushed aside until the building process dictated that physically, their time had come.

How times have changed.

Now, consumers want lots of glass and light, all in a cost-effective, energy-efficient and beautiful package, and they know they can get it from the vast array of quality window, door and skylight products on the market today.

From large, accurately replicated historical windows, to expanses of energy-efficient, solar-controlled units, the market stands ready to meet the demands and challenges presented now and in the future. Manufacturers offer operable and fixed units in all shapes, forms and sizes, a variety of divided lights and other designs, as well as artistic glass and other products that allow architects and specifiers to push the building envelope whenever necessary and appropriate. In entrance doors and interior doors, the sky’s the limit.

To get to this point in the industry has meant a lot of hard work by many different parties. The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), along with its manufacturer and distributor members, has worked at gaining the recognition and acceptance of their products by the general public and the building industry through education, marketing and positive work in many different areas.

Recognition and Acceptance
Our efforts are far-reaching and influential, especially with building code authorities and the International Codes Council I-Codes. Just recently, the Florida Department of Community Affairs, through its newly enacted product approval system, recognized WDMA as a Product Certification Agency. This means that manufacturers demonstrating compliance to the Hallmark Certification Program can satisfy requirements of the Florida Building Code. In addition, New York is examining Hallmark as a qualifying agent, as are North and South Carolina and Georgia and other states. Finally, to add further muscle and credibility to its efforts, WDMA has applied to the International Accreditation Service Inc. to become a recognized inspection agency, further broadening Hallmark’s influence and appeal.

WDMA’s Hallmark Certification Program is an ANSI-accredited, impartial third-party product evaluation agency, another significant development in its evolution. (Manufacturers who demonstrate conformance to WDMA standards are eligible to participate in the program.)

Doors in the Spotlight
Interior door certification may be the next program on the horizon from WDMA, especially as environmental programs grow in number and influence. We realize the importance of taking the lead in educating our membership on established and emerging certification systems, as well as forest management standards and practices. Right now, we are working on gaining a better understanding of how interior doors fit into current and future environmental certification programs.

To assist in these efforts, we’ve formed the Interior Door Environmental Standards Task Group. The group, which consists of door manufacturers and others, is studying and communicating information to our membership regarding environmental standards having an impact on the interior door marketplace. 

WDMA continues to focus on doors and the important role these products play in construction design. WDMA recently put the finishing touches on its vastly updated and revamped Architectural Wood Flush Door Standard, I.S. 1-A. The standard will complement the Voluntary Specification for the Performance of Side-Hinged Door Systems, providing a comprehensive compendium of specifications for architectural interior and exterior openings.

Promoting the interests of the window, door and skylight industry takes many different paths. There’s the ongoing push for performance standards, and the way in which they foster and reflect real-life applications. There are codes and other documents to be updated, revised and revamped to meet the needs of the building industry and those who use our products.

Our membership is the guiding light for the organization. Comprised of influential members of the window, door and skylight industry, they play an integral role in ensuring the integrity of the industry. They work diligently on committees and task groups–and there have been phenomenal rewards for putting the industry’s trust in their hands. In addition, WDMA staff is working toward the goal of the betterment of the industry on a day-to-day basis, whether it be communicating with the public or industry as a whole, developing codes and standards or attending to crucial items of interest or any one of many other critical areas.    



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





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