Volume 9, Issue 8 - September 2008


NFRC Meeting Tackles IG
Certification and Other Issues

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Summer Meeting was held in July in Chicago. While the development of the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) for the non-residential industry was a large part of the agenda, a number of key topics related to residential doors and windows also were covered.

On the first day of the event, a forum to discuss NFRC’s acceptance of insulating glass (IG) certification agencies took place. While there were lengthy discussions about the proposed language, the group agreed to table any decision until reviewing previously agreed upon language that will be submitted to the Certification Policy Committee for consideration.

After review, the IG certification program was approved during the board meeting on the last day. The program calls for an implementation date of July 2010, and will make IG certification mandatory in order for any window to be NFRCcertified.

However, since NFRC parameters only address energy performance, some members pointed out that IG certification shouldn’t necessarily be required for units that are not specifically energy efficient, such as those that are clear glass, air-filled.

A number of technical committee subcommittees also held meetings.

During the air leakage subcommittee meeting, chaired by Mike Thoman from Architectural Testing Inc., members discussed an action item from the spring board meeting in Nashville. Since determining air leakage performance is already covered by other industry programs, the subcommittee has been discussing whether NFRC 400-2004 should be removed from the 2009 documents. The group decided NFRC 400 should remain in the 2009 documents, but will heavily reference the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 101 document in the technical specification.

During the U-factor subcommittee meeting the language being developed for the NFRC 100 section for rating dynamic attachments for swinging doors was again debated, much as it was before during the spring meeting in Nashville. One ballot was negative, saying the rating should be for a general class of products and not a specific single- class product. The motion to find the negative persuasive, failed, however, and the ballot will return to task group for further work. A number of updates regarding energy codes and programs were provided during the regulatory affairs and marketing committee meeting.

Committee chair Garrett Stone of Brickfield, Burchette, Ritts & Stone P.C. began with an International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) update of adoptions and references for residential construction. He told attendees that states are continuing to adopt the 2006 version of the IECC.

“Every time there’s a new version of the code more and more states adopt the new version,” said Stone, who added that the next version would be in 2009. “Under federal law the Department of Energy (DOE) is required to review the new code [to determine] whether it’s an improvement [over the previous code].” Stone added that while that has yet to be done by the DOE many states are continuing to adopt it.

ABC Manufacturing Overhauls Latest Acquisition ABC Manufacturing has begun an overhaul of the facilities at Malta  Windows and Doors, which it acquired in December 2007.

“The acquisition of Malta Manufacturing was an opportunity to rekindle the long tradition and reputation of Malta Windows,” says ABC Manufacturing founder and chief executive officer Wade Benjamin, a Malta native. “This company is part of our community and should remain as such. On top of that, there’s great potential here to be competitive in both the new construction and replacement window markets.”

Malta Windows & Doors produces wood windows and doors available in primed wood, aluminum- clad and vinyl-clad.

“We’ve remodeled the entire facility,” says Benjamin. “It was built in the 1940s and was long overdue for equipment upgrades, cosmetic and structural improvements. Our new facility is a place employees are proud to work and serves as a great showpiece for the company and the investment we’ve made in our product line.” The facility now houses equipment, including sash clamps, tenoners, molders, a powder coat line and a dust collection system. New offices and a 4,000-squarefoot showroom allow Malta to sell directly to local contractors and other buyers.

Round Top Windows
Closes Two Plants
Round Top Windows has filed for bankruptcy and closed two of its locations in Brantford, Ontario, and Orrville, Ohio, according to a report from the Brantford-Expositor. According to the article, the problems at the plants began when a supplier didn’t deliver a particular machine in time, and the company was unable to meet its obligations to customers.

The company still maintains locations in The Dalles, Ore., and Kamloops, B.C. Company president Dianne Waterhouse did not return calls for comment.

DWM columnist Michael Collins of Jordan Knauff & Co., an investment bank that specializes in the door and window industry, says the supplier issue is not unusual for the current economy—particularly for smaller suppliers.

“I’d say there are a lot of smaller suppliers out there that are under a ton of pressure right now,” he says. “Smaller suppliers are hit in both directions. Their inputs are increasing in price, particularly vinyl materials, because of their petroleum base. Being smaller, most of these companies don’t have sufficient pricing power with suppliers to demand discounts for volume purchases.”

Fuel costs, of course, also are a factor.

“ ... Rising fuel prices have caused [suppliers’] shipping costs to spike,” Collins adds. “Those in more price-sensitive and competitive segments are less able to pass along fuel surcharges. Some of these smaller companies that are competing without passing along these cost increases are waiting to see who goes under from that practice first.”

ProVia Door
Earns Safety Awards
ProVia Door recently received two awards from the Tuscarawas Valley Safety Council in recognition of its safety record. According to the Sugarcreek, Ohio-based company, the Safety Council’s Achievement Award is given to companies who decrease their lost-time incident rate by 25 percent or more. ProVia reduced its incident rate by 77 percent as compared to the prior year.

In addition, the Safety Council honored ProVia with the Special Award for exceeding 500,000 hours with no lost-time accidents.

“This achievement is particularly notable given the amount of employees we have,” says ProVia corporate safety director Chad Yoder. “We only had one lost-time injury in 2007; however, we believe one incident is still one too many. Factors leading to this one incident were quickly remedied, and our safety team continues to proactively identify and address potential safety hazards before anyone gets hurt. Our goal is an incident rate of 0 injuries.”

HTL Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary Hurricane Test Laboratories (HTL) in Riviera Beach, Fla., is celebrating its fifteenth year in existence this year.

“When HTL opened its doors in 1993, hurricane building codes were in their infancy, we weren’t sure what would happen,” says Vinu Abraham, PE, chief executive officer of HTL. “Today, that initial risk has paid off and we’ve been able to grow to a full-service test facility with clients throughout the world.”

Industry Meets to Discuss Complex Issue of
Exterior Side-Hinged Door System Testing

Members of the industry’s leading associations, along with component suppliers, product manufacturers and prehangers gathered in July in an attempt to resolve the issues surrounding compliance of exterior side-hinged entrance doors with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440- 08 performance requirements.

The meeting of the Door Component Interchangeability Task Group was hosted by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the goal was to provide a forum for industry dialogue on the development of component substitution for door certification and testing.

The meeting began by reviewing component testing conducted to date by its task group. It was agreed that the base exterior side-hinged door system should be tested to the air-water-structural requirements as outlined in AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, NAFS - North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for windows, doors, and skylights. Based upon this testing, component substitution would be permitted per the specific test requirements as applicable within this document. In addition, participants of the door forum discussed a pure component-based testing and qualification method and agreed that complete component mixing deserved additional study.

Jeff Lowinski, vice president, Advocacy and Technical Services for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and Mark Fortun, manager of testing and certification for Endura Products in Colfax, N.C., and chairman of the task group, were a few of those in attendance, along with representatives from the Association of Millwork Distributors.

In essence, the meeting was very positive, according to Lowinski, who says there were a lot of viewpoints represented.

“The intention [in my mind] was to get all players to talk and come up with a consistent and uniform set of guidelines [or positions] regarding this issue,” he says.

“The group discussed initial system testing that will be necessary before components can be substituted. Not every configuration will necessarily need to be tested, nor will every component substitution require a system test, but there is a need for a documented trail that supports any combination of components back to testing or reliable engineering evaluation,” he adds.

Fortun is also optimistic about the meeting’s turnout.

“I was very encouraged by the cross-section of the door industry that attended the meeting and the openness and positive contribution by all of those in attendance toward the development of a component interchangeability guideline… regardless of the company each attendee represented, all agreed on the importance of having a solution which addressed the needs of the pre-hanger segment. There was also agreement that such a solution will be beneficial to the door industry overall. I’m very encouraged by the unison within the group.” Fortun says.

He also feels progress was made during the meeting.

“Prior to the meeting some of the initial documents that will likely be incorporated into the guideline were drafted by Jeld-Wen and Endura. These facilitated input and suggestions by the wider group and helped generate early momentum in the meeting,” Fortun explains. “However, this was only the first meeting and there is considerable work ahead as we continue to draft out remaining portions of the guideline and then validate feasibility. With depth and breadth of those attending, I expect positive progress.”

Another door forum is scheduled for September 25 following the AAMA Fall Conference in San Antonio, and Lowinski says that although progress has been made there are a great deal of issues that need to be discussed.

“We haven’t even touched on a lot of the components,” he says.

Fortun says that the actual approach to component interchangeability is not yet worked out.

“We are evaluating if the guideline will require some baseline system testing, coupled with component evaluation to allow component interchangeability, or if component-only testing can be used. It’s still too early in this process to understand what the best solution will be,” he says.


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