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Volume 6   Issue 6                July  2005


The Advantages of a United Industry
by Jeffrey F. Lowinski

In every respect, the window, door and skylight industry continues to grow and prosper.

According to recent findings from the 2004 U.S. Industry Statistical Review and Forecast by Ducker Research Co. Inc., most window specification sectors are on the upswing. In non-residential areas especially, window use continues to grow and the study offers projections that this upward trend will continue.

Energy performance and specialty glass and glazing continues to emerge with new technologies designed for both residential and commercial buildings allowing them to use more viewing area than ever before. These technologies offer a wide range of resistance to heat loss or gain or threats from high winds. Special shading, glazing and films provide privacy, but still add light. 

Doors also have added performance due to quality manufacturing. Exterior doors feature insulated construction, state-of-the-art weatherstripping and other energy-based design features. In addition, new breeds of fire-resistant products allow for more application-specific installations than ever before. Expect to see fire-rated products that carry other attributes, such as storm- or bullet-resistant glazing, in a dual-technology type of approach.

New Standards
A key portion of the building envelope, side-hinged exterior doors, were recognized recently in a new performance standard, AAMA/WDMA/Canadian Standards Association (CSA) 101/I.S. 2/A440-04 Standard Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights. Its a consensus document among WDMA, AAMA and CSA.

Another joint accomplishment between the groups: the release of I.S. 1A-2004 Industry Specification for Architectural Wood Flush Doors to cover interior architectural openings. 

This past year also saw a new joint effort between WDMA and AAMA to reconcile differences on the code floor. The new Joint Code Committee (JCC) procedures allow for orderly, lawful and non-discriminatory consideration of code and regulatory issues affecting WDMA and AAMA. The intent of these procedures is that the associations will not participate in code development, adoption and implementation process individually, but only through the JCC. 

Proposed Consolidation
The WDMA has always worked closely with AAMA, and late in 2004, we announced our willingness to discuss a proposed consolidation of the two organizations. WDMA and AAMA each have a special committee of member company leaders participating in a consolidation team developing a potential merger plan.

This is an historic step for both groups. We believe this merger can be executed in a way that will best meet the needs and requirements of the fenestration industry and the membership. WDMAs board has fully supported the concept of consolidation, with the intention to bring the issue to member vote in early 2006. The AAMA/WDMA consolidation team met recently to address important issues. Key points have emerged and include:

The association will have a new name. Although the new name will be the primary focus, the existing brands will be referenced for a period of time based on market needs. The new association would retain existing document (standards and certification programs) branding as appropriate.
The consolidation team agreed that the eventual goal is to have a single certification program. In the interim, both the AAMA and WDMA certification programs would need to run simultaneously while the single program is developed and the transition plan is defined. 
The consolidation team reconfirmed its agreement regarding a proposed transition-type board of directors. The team drafted a permanent board structure and composition, to be put in place after the transition board completes its start-up responsibilities.
A modified technical process has been presented that appears to meet the needs of a combined membership. With this approach, suppliers would have a vote at all levels of the technical process.

As we continue to work with the longevity of the industry in mind, it makes sense that two of the leading and strongest associations, WDMA and AAMA, pursue a consolidation that will provide the cohesive direction both groups need for future success. 

Jeffrey F. Lowinski serves as acting president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill. 

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