Volume 7, Issue 10 - November 2006

WDMA Opens Up

New Direction
Progressive Thinking Charts the Course
by Joel Hoiland

New direction—new purpose—new goals: The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) is all about establishing itself as the informative, influential standards-making body in the door, window and skylight industry.

Our new direction has seized the attention of the industry, starting with the highly successful combined WDMA technical/fall meeting held recently in Las Vegas. With topics explored in sessions titled “Changing Homes,” “Changing Code/Regulatory Environment,” “Demand for Green” and much more, the membership got a personal glimpse into what’s to come and how to handle the future.

Green building will continue to emerge strongly and this is where our membership can establish themselves as the experts in the field—by manufacturing products that are environmentally friendly, that have little or no impact on global building issues. In addition, regulatory marketing and addressing this phenomenon properly will play a role in the industry’s celebratory success. Doors, windows and skylights are purchased for how they perform, in accordance with building regulations. As such, it is critical that WDMA provide all the information in standards, technical bulletins and programs such as the WDMA Hallmark Certification Program. 

The Hallmark Certification Program is not a new directive and its influence continues to rise. The International Codes, including the International Residential Code, recognize WDMA codes and standards including the Hallmark Certification Program. The Florida Department of Community Affairs Product Approval System also references WDMA standards and certifications as a means of complying with its requirements. Most recently, WDMA added architectural wood flush doors and now, will add interior products to the mix—coming full circle, and again establishing the association as the certification resource and expert. 

Recognition of the Hallmark Certification Program reaches beyond building code authorities. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has approved many WDMA standards, including I.S. 6A-01, Industry Standard for Architectural Stile and Rail Doors and most recently on October 11, issued ANSI approval to I.S. 1A-04 Industry Specification for Architectural Wood Flush Doors. 

ANSI-approved WDMA standards show the power of the association. ANSI approval can only be received after individuals in the industry including designers, architects and specifiers, as well as users have reached a consensus. Specifiers look for ANSI approval in the product selection process. There can only be one ANSI-approved standard in a specific area. WDMA has the only ANSI-recognized standards for both these types of architectural doors. 

It doesn’t matter what type of material is used in the manufacture of doors, windows and skylights. WDMA shifted its focus many years ago from a wood-only organization to cover all the new and exciting products and materials on the market as well as those that continue to emerge—based on performance. Yes, wood doors and windows are at the core of what the association does and there’s nothing that equals the natural beauty of these products. But doors, windows and skylights incorporate many new and technologically advanced methods. For example, vinyl and aluminum extrusions are often, if not nearly exclusively, coupled with wood windows. With this type of product you get the warmth and natural look with the strength and integrity of cladding—in an array of colors—so they can perform in any environment. 

With the ongoing shift to all-inclusive materials come additional challenges. For example, we continue to watch California formaldehyde emission regulations; EPA lead abatement regulations; and many other issues that affect manufacturing and distribution. 

With our new directions, the WDMA will continue to establish itself as the technical resource and expert for building with doors, windows, and skylights.

Joel Hoiland is the president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill. He can be reached at joiland@wdma.com

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