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Volume 7   Issue 1               January 2006

From the Publisher

Mastering Installations
by Tara Taffera 

As all of our readers should know, DWM is strictly targeted toward door and window manufacturers. So we usually don’t write prolifically about installation issues as we leave that to our sister publication, SHELTER. But, obviously, manufacturers must also involve themselves with installation issues. Let’s look at a few installation scenarios and the impact these have on the manufacturer:

• When it comes to warranty claims, the manufacturer, not the dealer, who performs the faulty installation typically, would have to absorb this expense.
• If a homeowner suffers from a poor installation, he may contact the dealer, but it is the manufacturer’s name on the window that he will remember. 

I’ve attended a few events over the past few months in which installation issues (mainly faulty ones) were the topic of conversation—which experts say are the norm. At a November BETEC meeting, Barry Hardman of the National Institute of Building Sciences showed numerous photos of installations
 gone awry. He also chastised door and window manufacturers for not taking more of a role in ensuring quality installations. 
Later that month at Win-door 2005, installation issues were the topic of a seminar where once again the presenters showed photos of poor installations that can be found on any jobsite. 

Ben Meyers of Architectural Testing Inc.’s InstallationMasters™ program talked about the program that has 3,500 certified installers in the United States. He stressed that InstallationMasters promotes consistent installations and installers follow a training manual that mirrors ASTM. 

Meyers was followed by Dave Mitten of the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada, who talked about Canada’s WindowWise Certification program. The program has certified 621 installers who work on 7,500 jobs per year. 

A noticeable difference I noted between WindowWise and InstallationMasters is that the former performs inspections on its jobs, a task that makes sense as anyone can become certified yet then revert back to the old and comfortable way of doing things.

Mitten told the story of a window installed in too large of an opening-a common problem, according to Mitten and Hardman. The builder chose that installer due to price then ultimately went back to a WindowWise installer. 

As a door or window manufacturer you may produce quality products that conform to various standards and have been subjected to stringent testing procedures. But in the end, none of that matters if the product is installed incorrectly. 

What I would like to know from manufacturers is do you believe that faulty installations are a widespread problem? What do you do to promote quality installations? How many of your dealers follow InstallationMasters? What type of follow up do you do, if any, to ensure that installations are in accordance with manufacturer instructions? If you don’t participate in InstallationMasters, why not? I look forward to learning why from you. 

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