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Volume 7   Issue 5               May 2006

WDMA Opens Up

Industry’s Evolution Starts with Standards
by Jeff Lowinski

In the codes and regulatory arena, WDMA is the leading representative for the window, door and skylight industry. WDMA standards are recognized and referenced by the International Codes Council (ICC), International Building Code and the International Residential Code through the Hallmark Certification Program. Other programs, such as the Florida Department of Community Affairs Product Approval System, also reference WDMA standards and certifications. 

This is quite significant. It means we’re publishing real-world documents which the codes bodies recognize as an authority and also, that architects, designers, specifiers and contractors can apply with confidence knowing they will comply. Monitoring and participating in the codes process is a critical part of what we do and how we serve the industry. The ICC codes are updated every three years, with ongoing WDMA input and suggestions part of the review process. Proposals for the next ICC code cycle deadline just passed for the 2009 cycle, hot on the heels of the release of the I-Codes document in early 2006.

It all comes full circle. Not only are the WDMA Hallmark Certification Programs implemented as a mechanism for proof of compliance by building code officials and consumers, but the program is also accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

WDMA technical committees continue to refine the Hallmark Certification Programs for glass doors, side-hinged entry doors, windows and skylights.

They are a critical part of our following and recognition in the industry. In addition to building envelope products, the Hallmark Certification Program Committee is working with the Interior Door Standards Committee to develop a program covering I.S.1A- Architectural Wood Flush Doors Standard. 

Once a standard is created with all the necessary approval processes, there is a regular review cycle. Case in point is the recently revised and updated North American window standard-101/I.S.2/A-440-05 Standard/
Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights. The Joint Document Management Committee is already well into revisions. Planning and detailed technical work is being done on the standard, now going into its next review cycle. The committee is looking at establishing three performance ratings, instead of the current five, as well as implementing other minor changes under discussion to more accurately reflect in-the-field performance. The long-term goal is to present these changes to the I-codes for inclusion in the 2009 document. 

Increasingly, WDMA finds itself in a position in which building code authorities are looking for experts in the industry to assist with finding the right standards. That’s where we like to position our organization. We also want to be leaders in establishing common goals and objectives with regards to the environment.

“LEEDing” the Way
Working to develop green building initiatives is high on the to-do list for the association. WDMA participated in the Interior Door Standards Committee Task Group, the Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC), Treatments Coatings and Compositions Committee (TCCC), Exterior Fenestration Standards Committee (EFSC) and the Technical Process Committee (TPC) to discuss issues directly related to the door, window and skylight business landscape. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has launched the Leadership for Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) program as a series of standards for sustainable buildings. The ESC recently completed a technical bulletin on LEED opportunities for doors. “WDMA Technical Bulletin on LEED Opportunities for Doors” explores applications for these products as part of the LEED rating program, a critical element for door manufacturing today. 

Recently, the USGBC expanded its membership to include trade and professional associations. It has also launched the LEED program as a series of standards for sustainable buildings, and recommended that WDMA become a voting member of the USGBC. This recommendation was approved by the WDMA board and the wheels are in motion. The WDMA staff has been included as a LEED for Home Committee and voting member. 

WDMA has also applied as a participant on the ANSI Technical Committee for Green Globes. Recently, ANSI formally recognized the Green Building Initiative (GBI) as accredited national standards developer—making the GBI the first green building organization permitted to develop, maintain and withdraw American national standards. On the heels of this announcement, the GBI submitted an application to establish Green Globes as the first Web-based environmental design and rating system for commercial buildings in the United States as an American National Standard (ANS). The ESC is recommending to the TPC that WDMA seek membership in the GBI at the bronze level. This will keep the ESC in the communication loop until an agreement can be reached for WDMA gaining full voting membership on the GBI.

Whether the issues are standards, codes, certification, environmental regulation or other industry related topics, continuing to position WDMA as the leader is our ongoing goal. That goal will be further renewed as we launch our “new look” at the WDMA Fall Meeting and Technical Conference in late October in Las Vegas. The new time and venue replaces the annual May technical conference and summer meeting, combining technical activities and other sessions and under the theme “WDMA 2006: A Time to Shine.” 

WDMA continues to believe in the benefits of a unified industry, relying on technical activities that are driven by process with a material-neutral, performance-based approach. We want to share our expertise and help the industry and others select the best possible product for the application. 

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

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