Volume 7, Issue 10 - November 2006

AAMA Review
Certification Campaign is Key Topic at AAMA Meeting

When the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) held its national fall meeting October 15-18 at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa at Summerlin in Las Vegas, promotion of its certification program was again a key issue, as it has been at recent meetings of the 70-year-old association. 

Strengthening the Certification Program
At the opening general session, AAMA’s executive vice president Rich Walker, was proud to announce that there were 46 new attendees at the meeting. He also said the Strategic Planning Committee has been working on updating the AAMA certification program. 

Expanding on this, David Moyer of Architectural Testing provided an update about the activities of the Structure Work Group. The group has been exploring the strengths, weaknesses and threats to the current certification program. 

“We are including insulating glass certification under one roof to provide one administrator/one certification program,” Moyer said. “Work is ongoing on a proposed certification procedural guide taking into account all ‘A’ priorities.”

Janice Charletta, AAMA’s marketing director, provided an update on AAMA’s Marketing Work Group, which has been conducting customer need assessment regarding the program. 

“They’ve been exploring international acceptance, which has had some limited interest, but broad-based, and will be looked into further,” she said. The group is working to improve state requirement compliance, and has seen interest from architects, builders, contractors and dealers. The goal is to get information from the manufacturers to these end users.”

Suggestions from the marketing group included “building more value,” which is the reason behind the branding campaign for the certification program. The goal is to differentiate AAMA’s program from other competitors’ programs. 

Among the challenges cited is the limited awareness of AAMA certification as there are a large volume of products to know about.

But this challenge may be lessened by some of the work being done in the Database Work Group. Progress on the actions of this group reported by Rich Biscoe who said this is “the next generation database system for next generation AAMA certification.” The goal is to develop one centralized system as “the source” for fenestration information. The database would be used mainly by public code officials, validators, administrators, manufacturers and AAMA staff.

Debbie Colbert of Point 2 Point Communications presented its findings on research conducted for the implementation of AAMA’s media campaign. The agency surveyed commercial architects and builders. When asked “Are you familiar with AAMA?” universally the answer was, “No.” One architect said, “Manufacturers come in all the time. I have never heard AAMA mentioned.”

The AAMA target audiences were identified as primary end users—homeowners, building owners, architects/specifiers/builders/realtors and contractors.

Raj Goyal of Graham Architectural Products mentioned that the code officials were missing from these groups. 

“In our campaign, it’s 80 percent addressed to the residential market, which is fine. Without code bodies, I can assure you, we are nowhere.” 

Following the presentation, attendees offered their feedback.

“Did we look at where the labels are going?” asked Tracy Rogers of Edgetech. “The plan focuses on the residential replacement market.” 

“Where are these label products going?” asked Joe Almasy of Truseal. “There seems to be an omission of new construction.” 

He again brought up the need to reach the code officials. “Even if it’s a mailing to let them know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

The meeting concluded with the motion to make code officials a key part of the plan.

Committee Progress
AAMA’s Southeast region board discussed the Masonry Installation Standard Practice which it is working on with the Fenestration Manufacturers Association (FMA). SE president Bill Emley reported that AAMA has an agreement with FMA to have a combined FMA/AAMA document that will go to the floor of the Florida building code commission but clarified that the document will not have an organization’s name on it.

On the fiberglass side, the fiberglass coatings review committee task group reported that there have been revisions on two standards: high performing and superior performing coatings. Jeff Miller of Comfort Line reported that the ballot was successful with a number of editorial comments. Additionally, the fiberglass door sill task group agreed to develop a new 300 standard in regard to door sills.

At a meeting of the hardware committee, one member made a motion to start a single-sided door trim set specification; and to create a new task group to reference to a multi point lock system which was approved. 

During the Glass Materials Council meeting, AFG’s Fred Wallin reported that the sloped glazing task group has been working for three years to update the sloped glazing brochure and is now making progress, and finally has an electronic version.
 Additionally, the Marketing Council is looking at a communication plan to talk about AAMA labeling to trade and code officials. 

In a meeting of the Wood and Cellulosic Composite Materials Council, a motion was passed to add a new task group which will focus on finishes on cellulosic composites. The group will be established at AAMA’s annual meeting in 2007. 

The council also discussed gaining new members for the council, focusing primarily on the profile manufacturers. 

The Vinyl Materials Council continued its work on AAMA 303 for Co-Extruded Capping Compounds. A motion was made to pass this document to the AAMA 303 task group for approval. 

The Environmental Stewardship Committee discussed attacks by certain groups on materials such as PVC. The committee showed a video clip of “PVC: The Poison Plastic,” which was produced by the Center for Health and Environmental Justice). The Campaign for Safe, Healthy Consumer Products is attacking PVC, going to green building groups and to brand companies. The group has pursued Walmart and Target – and the committee questioned, “How long until they go after Home Depot and Lowe’s?” The group has $20-30 million in funding from activists’ trust funds. 

At AAMA’s summer meeting, the validity of the data compiled by Ducker Research came into question. Ducker undertakes an annual study commissioned by the WDMA and AAMA. Following that meeting, the group submitted a series of questions to Nick Limb of Ducker Research who was at this meeting to address concerns. 

Limb explained the various parts of the study and the different components, i.e., residential and commercial and what’s involved in each one. 

“I’m not here to say every single data point is rock solid,” he said. “What’s really important is focusing on the results. We need more members to participate. That’s our focus and has been the focus the last six years.”

Freddie Cole of General Aluminum asked, “What is the primary reason you don’t get more participation in the study?” 

“It’s time, primarily,” answered Limb. “Firstly we focus on the coverage of the market. 50 out of 300 is a pretty high share of the market. In addition to those that fill out the survey, we get input from other sources. ”

Builder Trends
The meeting wasn’t made up of just committee work. Attendees were also treated to a variety of informative seminars one of which was presented by Paul Deffenbaugh, editorial director for Reed Building Group, who presented “Giant Moves – Top 400 Builders” seminar. In his presentation he said some factors that affect profitability include increased margins, greater customer satisfaction and land assembly strategies; the least important factors were savings on building product costs, reduction in construction costs and reduction in cycle times.

Consolidation of the largest homebuilders is big. “The industry is still fragmented,” he said. 

“By 2022, 75 percent of the industry will be controlled by 20 homebuilders,” he said. “Further growth may come from mega mergers.” He added that Wall Street is driving consolidation. “There are 28 publicly traded companies and Wall Street wants to see them grow.”

He said the building industry has seen growth in the vacation/second homes market with a significant amount of investment this past year—12.37 percent increase in square footage. 

Among the top 400 builders, he said, there were changes in types of construction; custom housing increased the most at 13.5 percent from 98-06. He also said land development rotates between anti-sprawl groups and smart growth groups based on political and market forces. 

AAMA’s next meeting will be held February 11-14, 2007.

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