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Volume 6   Issue 3                April 2005

2005 Annual
    Buyers' Guide

Meeting Reviews

Wealth of Knowledge
Imparted to WDMA Members

Green Building, Economic Forecasts and
Hurricane Research are All Hot Topics at Annual Meeting
by Tara Taffera

Maybe it was talk of the proposed merger be-tween the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the American Architectural Manufac-turers Association (AAMA) that brought a large number of WDMA members to its annual meeting (see story, page 130). Or maybe it was the jam-packed agenda highlighting the latest information regarding industry research and economic forecasts. Or it could have been the opportunity to network with the top executives representing all segments of the fenestration industry.

Whatever it was, approximately 300 WDMA members attended the meeting held in Pasadena, Calif., Feb. 12-16—a number that WDMA representatives say was up from last year’s annual event. 

U.S. Economic Outlook 
“Continued strength will continue in the housing market.” 

This is the good news Robert Genetski of Genetski Financial Advisors gave to WDMA members when he presented his U.S. economic outlook.

Though Genetski expects interest rates to go up, he believes we will have a strong economic recovery. He adds that the increase in interest rates won’t impact housing starts, rather, the level of housing starts, he says, is more based on the strength or lack of strength in the economy.

Housing prices have increased 4 to 6 percent over the past few years so Genetski expects no speculative bubble and no crash in prices. The increase in housing prices reflects an in-crease in costs. He expects continued strength in housing of 0 to 5 percent in real terms over the next couple of years.

Following are some of the other trends he expects:
• Interest rates will increase 2 percent in the short term and 2 percent in the long term;
• The stock market is in the first stage of a great bull market. He expects the strongest, most sustained bull market in history–the longest most sustainable recovery. Stocks, he says, are undervalued by 30 to 40 percent. 
• Manufacturing is on a steady decline, therefore productivity is on a steady increase (i.e. plus 4 percent per year); and
• Spending will be at 6 or 7 percent over the next year.

ICC Foundation Formed 
On the second day of the meeting, the general session started with Paul Myers, president of the International Code Council’s recently formed ICC Foundation.

According to Myers, the foundation is focused on changing the devastating effects of natural disasters and other building tragedies. The foundation will support implementation of the I-Codes, both in the United States and internationally.

Myers stressed the importance of building safer structures and ensuring code enforcement—a huge problem that he says the ICC faces on a daily basis.
“If you look at a problem, had the code been enforced properly there never would have been a problem,” he said. “There is always political pressure to not stop a project because it is not up to code. We fight that on a daily basis … The level of professionalism needs to be raised.”

Myers says the industry needs to work together to build better structures. One component of the ICC foundation is the Code Technology Committee, funded by industry, which serves to analyze new ideas and standards to help bring these to the code arena. 

“This would be one way that the WDMA safety activities could benefit from the ICCF,” said Myers.

Environmental Issues—Be Aware
Pete Walker, chair of the WDMA’s environmental stewardship task group, gave an overview of the committee’s recent activities. One of the WDMA’s high-level objectives is determining how the company moves forward in the green arena.

When Walker asked attendees how many had heard of or had dealt with LEED, a program of the U.S. Green Building Council, maybe a quarter of those present raised their hands.

“Believe me, whether it’s commercial or residential, you’ll be dealing with LEED,” he warned.

A positive aspect of this program is that associations and manufacturers can now make comments to LEED. 

“This wasn’t always the case,” said Walker.

He also said that a residential building program for LEED is the group’s next priority. 

Walker gave attendees an overview of the proliferation of green programs in existence, some of which exclude stakeholders from the process.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) have come to the forefront, the latter of which is finally allowing associations to work with it. 

The FSC’s view on wood is that it should not be cut and it should be certified. 
“They say wood should not even be used unless it is certified,” said Walker.

He says window and door companies could not possibly get enough wood from FSC companies because there aren’t that many of these companies.

Walker also mentioned that there are many environmental groups who have an influence in this arena, one of which is the Rainforest Action Network.

“Keep this name in mind. You'll hear a lot more about them,” he said. 

Walker urged WDMA members to get involved as the association needs help in this arena. 

“Because of the tonnage of information it’s difficult to stay on top of everything,” he said. “We as a committee want to share our knowledge so the entire membership is more informed.”

For example, Walker asked WDMA members to raise their hands if they ever heard of the North American Coalition on Green Building. Only four people raised their hands, at which time Huber informed them that WDMA is a member of that organization. 

“Prepare for changes coming in the environmental and certification arena,” said Walker. “Be involved, be proactive.”

NFRC Develops New Programs
Jim Benney, executive director of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) gave an overview of the NFRC before both the door and window divisions and reported on future activities including a non-residential rating program, though Benny says this will take a few years. He says it is important to: 
1. Provide accurate ratings for actual products installed in the building envelope;
2. Simplify the procedure (reduce need for modeling each glazing option);
3. Develop a preliminary validated and standardized rating for project specifications;
4. Provide standardized calculations for performance based on actual thermal modeling of individual components; and
5. Keep the label certificate (for code compliance).

According to Benny, the idea is to create three libraries consisting of the glazing, frame and spacers. The user can go to the three libraries and put together their system online and then get a rating online.

Each frame system cross-section will be modeled for four basic cases that will be then entered into a grid:
• BB = Frame modeled with best glazing, best spacer option;
• BW = Frame modeled with best glazing, worst spacer option;
• WB = Frame modeled with worst glazing, best spacer option;
• WW = Frame modeled with worst glazing, worst spacer option; and
• PFD = Projected frame dimension.

Hurricane Research Presented
Jeffrey Burton, building code manager for the Institute for Business and Home Safety spoke about protecting homes from severe weather events and discussed studies regarding the recent hurricanes in Florida. 

One of these is the Post Hurricane Statistically Stratified Survey performed by the University of Florida and funded by the state of Florida. This study overlayed on a map the path of the hurricane and reported wind speeds in each area on a map/grid showing buildings built under the old code versus buildings built under new codes. Each structure was identified as to type of roof on the structure, type of exterior wall on the structure, whether it had impact glass or shutters and identified whether damage was to roofs, soffit, water damage, damage to windows or doors, etc.

He showed preliminary results of this study, which showed that the worse area of failure was soffits.

Before the storms they surveyed homes about what items they had (shutters, impact-resistant glass, etc.). Three percent said they had impact-resistant glass in their home. After the storms, they surveyed again, and only 3 percent had installed impact-resistant glass but the number who wanted to “do something” was way up.

This data will go to assist building code and engineering specific changes, according to Burton. 

“This study is the first and only scientific approach to studying storm damage,” he said. “Others lack standardization and produce generalities.”

IBHS would like WDMA to become a partner in the research to assist in writing questions and the association would then receive copies of the data.

The final report on the study will be available in mid-summer, provided, according to Burton, that there are no more hurricanes.

Most of the presentations presented at the meeting are available to WDMA members on its website at www.wdma.com

Tara Taffera is the editor/publisher of DWM magazine.

WDMA Elects New Board Members
The WDMA has re-elected Chris Simpson as its 2005 chairperson during its 78th annual meeting in Pasadena, Calif. Simpson is vice president, marketing and sales for Pella Corp. in Pella, Iowa.

Dave Beeken, president of Eagle Window & Door, was re-elected as vice chairperson of the WDMA Window Division. Robert Doyle, senior vice president and general manager of Therma-Tru Doors, was elected as vice chairperson of the WDMA Door Division. Linda Semling was re-elected as WDMA treasurer. Semling is the vice president and general manager of Semling-Menke Co.

Rick Kon, director of engineering at Masonite International, was re-elected for a full three-year term as a WDMA director. 

The WDMA elected two new board members during its meeting. New members include Jim Hackett, Jeld-Wen and Eric Rapp, Cardinal Glass. Rick Kon of Masonite was re-elected. Retiring from the board are: Dick Bader, Jeld-Wen, John Kessler, TruSeal, Jerry Mannigel, Marshfield Doors, Peter McKibbin, Contact Lumber and Tim Miller, Velux. 

The members voted to reduce the board to 13 members instead of 15, looking toward a possible consolidation with AAMA.

In other personnel news, in the week following the meeting, the association announced that WDMA president Alan Campbell has resigned as president. The acting president is Jeff Lowinski, who previously served as the WDMA’s vice president of technology marketing. (See www.dwmmag.com for the full story.)

Ducker Releases Preliminary Statistics
Has the Residential Market Finally Reached its Peak?

Scott Shober of Ducker Worldwide presented the preliminary results of its 2004-2005 study on the window and door market to WDMA members.

“We originally forecasted softening in 2004 but we were wrong,” said Shober.
Ducker stated that single-family starts increased 7.3 percent while multi-family starts declined 1.1 percent. Existing home sales are up 9.4 percent.

“We are a little pessimistic for 2005. We must be at the tip of the market,” he said.
Shober predicts new construction to soften by 3 percent. He noted that the average house size is 2,300-2,400 square feet. That’s up, according to Shober, thus more products are being used. 

“Perhaps we are at a peak,” he said. “However, historically we’ve thought we were at a peak and we were wrong.” 

Regarding the non residential segment, Shober said, “We finally see growth in this area for the first time since 2001.”

Regarding conventional windows, Shober said volume increased 6.2 percent from 2003 to 66.7 million in 2004, but are projected to decrease 2.5 percent from 2004-2005.

Shober added that low-E glass now is in 60 percent of all residential windows. 
Regarding window materials, Shober said while wood and aluminum have declined, vinyl has grown. He said aluminum will continue a slow softening while wood will fall further to vinyl, though he added that all materials tend to do well in their niche markets. 

Patio Doors
In the patio door market, volume is up more than 6 percent from 2003, though it is expected to decline 3 percent in 2005 as new construction slows. Vinyl represents one-third of the market and is growing. Wood and aluminum units are declining. Steel/fiberglass construction, at 16 percent, is up slightly.

The door market increased 6 percent from 2003 to 78.8 million in 2004 but is expected to decline 2.7 percent from 2004 to 2005. This 6-percent growth is better than earlier projections, according to Shober. The market is predominantly steel, though fiberglass is growing fast and wood is flattening. On the residential interior door side wood is the predominant material with 96 percent of the market. 

Following are some other statistics regarding the door market:
• Non-residential exterior doors increased 1.9 percent from 2003 to 2004 and are expected to increased 5.5 percent from 2004 to 2005; 
• Non-residential interior doors were at 7.75 million units in 2004; and
• Architectural wood doors (interior) were at 2.75 million in 2004.

Unitized skylights were at 1.97 million units in 2004 (1.837 residential and the rest non-residential). This is slightly down from 2003, according to Shober. Two-thirds of this is glass, while one-third is plastic.

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