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Volume 7   Issue 4               April 2006

Independence Day
With Consolidation Talks Ended, AAMA Moves Forward with Plans to Become Industry Source
by Tara Taffera

When Richard Walker, executive vice president of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) welcomed attendees to the association’s annual meeting on Monday, February 27, he addressed the packed room by thanking them for what may have been “the biggest attendance ever.” This included more than 40 first-time attendees and four prospective members who traveled to Palm Springs, Calif., for the annual event.

John Brunett of Simonton Windows and AAMA president confirmed for attendees that consolidation discussions between AAMA and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) are over.

“We are not looking back, but looking forward,” he added. “There are a lot of opportunities that de-pend on no one but ourselves.”

Brunett outlined AAMA’s future objectives as the association moves forward. One of these goals, according to Brunett, “is to keep AAMA positioned as the official source of information for the fenestration industry.”

He added that it is also important to continue to build on established industry relationships, such as those with other associations also affiliated with the fenestration industry. 

Focus on Certification

Another item Brunett mentioned and discussed at length in several of AAMA’s individual sessions was the association’s focus on its certification program.

“We have to differentiate our program from others in the marketplace,” said Brunett.

AAMA will be publicizing its certification program to architects, code officials, consultants and other industry groups. 

Brunett said that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina/energy crisis, etc., “it is important to look for a certified product.” AAMA has hired an advertising agency out of Cleveland to assist with this campaign.

AAMA members worked hard while in Palm Springs attending council meetings, task groups and committees. Following are some of the highlights:

New Groups Attack Issues/Vinyl Recycling 

Several new groups met during the meeting. These include the Architectural Windows/Curtainwall Windows Marketing Committee 906 Specification Task Group, the Co-Polymer on PVC Task Group, the Architectural Product Group Harmonization Task Group Monitoring Committee, the 505 Shrinkage and Composite Performance Thermal Cycling Task Group and the Post-Use Recycling Task Group. 

The scope of the recycling group is “to study the post-consumer collection and recycling issue related to vinyl windows and doors and to devise, recommend and implement any relevant courses of action to facilitate these collection and recycling activities.”

Group chairperson Dave Pirwitz of Urban Machinery pointed out that recycling is already occurring in Europe. He mentioned that those who may be attending the upcoming Fensterbau show in Germany (held in March 2006) would see a “ton of recycling equipment.” To further this point, the group was shown a video of VEKA AG’s recycling plant in Germany. 

“Recycled PVC can now be reprocessed into new PVC profiles without any loss of quality,” says VEKA’s Kevin Seiling. 

“They [VEKA] really put a lot into the collection of it,” adds Pirwitz. “Something like that probably is not practical here.” 

Thus the group is tasked to find something that is practical. To help with that cause, Pete Lindabery of the Vinyl Institute offered some insights for the group.

“Up to this time recycling has been post-industrial but now it is post-consumer,” he says. “Vinyl products will definitely come into the post consumer discussion.”

He adds, “The vinyl industry has a good record but there is much more to be done.”

So what exactly can the fenestration industry do to aid in these efforts? “Expand the use of recycled material in your product,” he says. “Get involved with builders and remodelers. Someone has to champion this cause.” 

He adds that waste management companies collect a great deal of vinyl and will get involved if there is money to be made. 

AAMA Presents 2005 Membership Awards

At its annual reception and awards banquet AAMA presented 
its membership awards. Below are those companies who were honored:

Thirty-Five Year Members
Corn Belt Aluminum Inc.
Tremco Inc.

Twenty-Five Year Members
Azon USA Inc.
Fuller Company (H.B. Fuller)
Structures Unlimited Inc.
Superior Metal Products

Twenty Year Members

Gaska Tape Inc.
MI Windows and Doors Inc.
Republic Windows and Doors Inc.

Fifteen Year Members
Adhesives Research Inc.
Atwood Mobile Products 
(Creation Windows LP)
Solvay Solexis

Ten Year Members

Amerimax Building Products Inc.
Dow Corning Corp.
DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions
Fenestration Testing Laboratories
GE Silicones
Grafco Custom Lamination

109 Maintenance Task Group

This group, whose scope is to maintain and update the AAMA 109 Procedural Guide, discussed labeling requirements for country of origin to ensure tractability in the event of a nonconformance like lead content. This actually incited a great deal of discussion throughput several of the AAMA meetings. In one meeting, one manufacturer said that each window that comes into the United States from abroad is checked for lead—a fact that many in the room were unaware of and requested reference documentation to support this criteria. 

Language was added to the document which in effect requires a country of origin label on a packaged profile and packaged window for products that contain off shore profiles. This is an advisory label saying that a portion of the window contains some foreign components. However, the Certification Policy Committee did decide that they want more time to study this portion of the document (section 1.8).

Economic Forecast

“Don’t overspend. Don’t overhire. A chance of a recession down the road is very high.” This was the message from Dr. Esmael Adibi, director of the A. Gary Andersen Center for Economic Research and Anderson Chair of Economic Analysis at Chapman University, when he addressed attendees regarding “Building Industry Trends.”

On the homebuilding side he mentioned that $696 billion of home values have been cashed out and said one third of this money is being spent.

“The personal savings rate is 1.8—people are borrowing to spend,” he says. “We’ve never been a society of big savers but now it’s disastrous.”

He also addressed some of President Bush’s policies and records, including his proposal to extend tax cuts. “I don’t think this is a good time for him to do this,” says Adibi, who also pointed out that of all presidents Bush has the third highest record in spending. 

“He hasn’t vetoed a single bill,” he says. 

Additionally, the federal debt is almost $8 trillion, while the trade deficit is 788 billion. 

“The value of the dollar will really crash,” he says. 

Regarding the homebuilding market, Adibi told attendees to expect a 7-10 percent decline in the residential segment but adds that the non-residential sector may make up for this drop. 

When addressing the existence of a housing bubble he says, “There is overbuilding almost everywhere in California. They are losing jobs but building homes. They are building two homes per worker. Investors are buying them. That’s a concern.”

AAMA’s next meeting will be held June 25-28 in Lake Tahoe, Nev.

Tara Taffera is the publisher and editor of DWM magazine. 

© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.