Volume 12, Issue 5 - June 2011



EPA Levies First Fine for Violation of RRP Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently levied its first fine on a renovator who allegedly violated its controversial Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule (RRP). The charges were brought against Colin Wentworth of Rockland, Maine, in early May.

According to information gathered by inspectors from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and EPA, two workers employed by Wentworth failed to contain dust and debris generated by lead paint removal activities during a repainting project in October 2010.

Although Wentworth had completed the eight-hour course required by the RRP, EPA alleges that he did not provide the required training or supervision to his employees to ensure they followed the required work practices. EPA further claims that Wentworth also failed to take steps to obtain the mandatory lead-safe certification for his firm.

The violations were brought to EPA’s attention via an anonymous tip linking to an October 2010 video of the violations posted on YouTube. The video documented workers using power equipment to remove lead paint from an exterior wall of a residential building without using any containment for lead-containing dust and debris.

"Enforcement of these rules is important to protecting children and the business interests of those contractors who are following the rules."

EPA’s investigation found that Wentworth failed to: obtain required certification as a renovation firm from EPA; post warning signs in the work area; cover the ground in the work area with plastic sheeting to collect falling lead paint debris; contain waste from the renovation activities to prevent releases of dust and debris before the waste is removed from the work area for storage or disposal; prohibit use of machines that remove lead-based paint through high-speed operation without HEPA exhaust controls; and establish and maintain records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the rule, according to the EPA.

“In New England we have a high proportion of older houses where lead paint can still be present. It is critically important that all tradespeople understand and follow the RRP requirements so that during renovations, children are not exposed to lead and face serious, life-long health consequences,” says Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Many renovation firms have done the right thing by becoming certified, sending their employees to training and following the appropriate, health-protective work practices. Enforcement of these rules is important to protecting children and the business interests of those contractors who are following the rules.”

As of press time, David Deegan, representative for the EPA’s New England Office, told DWM magazine that the amount of the fine had not yet been established.

“As of right now, there is no fine or penalty amount determined,” says Deegan. “Final resolution will be contingent on outcome of either a hearing or a settlement.”

Associated Materials Reports First-Quarter Decrease in Net Sales
Associated Materials LLC recently reported a 3.7 percent decrease in net sales for the first quarter of 2011, during which it achieved net sales of $196.7 million, compared with $204.2 million for the same period in 2010. Adjusted EBITDA was negative $4.2 million for the first quarter of 2011, compared to positive $8.8 million for the same period in 2010.

“While we have seen a slight decrease in sales during the first quarter of 2011, there is still expected improvement to be achieved in our end markets based on industry and economic forecasts,” says Tom Chieffe, president and chief executive officer. “We also believe that the long-term demand for our products will continue to be driven by the increasing age of the existing housing stock, the eventual return to normal levels of new home construction, the continued investment by homeowners and builders in energy-efficient products, and the maintenance and price advantages of our vinyl products.”

Apax Partners Acquires Activant Solutions
Activant Solutions Inc., a provider of enterprise resource planning and point-of-sale software serving mid-market retailers and distributors, has been acquired by funds advised by Apax Partners, a private equity firm with a focus on technology investment. Activant previously was owned by investment funds affiliated with Hellman & Friedman LLC, Thoma Bravo, LLC and JMI Equity, and by company management.

P.H. Tech Completes Acquisition of Accent Windows
PVC extruder P.H. Tech, based in Lévis, Québec, announced on June 1 that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of door and window manufacturer Accent Windows Inc., located in Westminster, Colo. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado approved the sale of Accent Windows’ assets to its largest creditor, PH Tech Inc., after the company filed for Chapter 11 in early March.

“This is a financial decision aimed at protecting our presence in [the] Western U.S. and helping our client regain its financial self-sufficiency,” says P.H. Tech president Serge Falardeau.

P.H. Tech says it will support the team in place in the improvement of business operations to ensure a smooth transition and immediate value for customers and partners.

Under the new ownership, Accent Windows will continue to do business as “Accent Windows” and use the same trademarks. It will serve its clientele with the same employee base (apart from a few management team changes) and continue to offer a wide range of products designed for renovations, according to P.H. Tech.

Terry Marcovich, Accent president, tells DWM magazine he will not remain with the company.

“I am excited that P.H. Tech will carry on the company name and its 28 years of serving the community,” says Marcovich. “I am happy for the employees who will continue on with my family’s legacy.

While an auction for the sale of the company’s assets originally had been scheduled for May 18, as of May 6 the only bid that had been received was that of P.H. Tech.

Ply Gem Posts $7.6 Million Operating Loss for First Quarter
Ply Gem Holdings Inc. reported net sales of $200.1 million for the first quarter of 2011, a decrease of $4.1 million compared to the first quarter of 2010. Adjusted EBITDA was $6.5 million compared to adjusted EBITDA of $12.1 million for the first quarter of 2010.

Excluding $6.7 million of buyback expenses associated with a significant new customer win, the first-quarter operating loss was $7.6 million compared to a $3.7 million loss for the first quarter of 2010, according to Ply Gem.

International Window Parent Files for Bankruptcy
International Window’s parent company, International Architectural Products, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May. The company, which made its voluntary filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, lists more than 900 pages of creditors, including Guardian Industries, PPG Industries, Vitro America, AGC Glass Co. and a variety of door and window dealers.

The company indicated in its filing that it has between $50 and $100 million in assets and $50 to $100 million in estimated debts.


Onex to Invest $675 Million in JELD-WEN
Onex Corp., a private equity firm based in Toronto, has agreed to invest $675 million and acquire a significant minority interest in JELD-WEN Holding Inc. JELD-WEN will continue to be majority-owned by the Trust of Richard Wendt, members of the Wendt family, JELD-WEN employees and other existing shareholders.

“We believe that JELD-WEN’s competitive position and well-known brands in markets around the world position the company very well to take advantage of the eventual recovery in global housing markets,” says Anthony Munk, an Onex managing director.

The $675 million investment will be made by Onex Partners III, Onex’ flagship private equity fund, of which approximately $120 million will be Onex’ share as a Limited Partner in the Fund. JELD-WEN’s management, workforce and corporate culture will remain intact, according to Onex.

In other news at JELD-WEN, the company recently filed suit against four primary glass manufacturers, AGC Flat Glass North America, Guardian Industries, Pilkington North America and PPG Industries, alleging that the defendants “contracted, conspired or combined to fix, raise, maintain or stabilize prices of, and allocate business for, flat glass they sold in the United States” from January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2006. The complaint was filed in March in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

In its complaint JELD-WEN claims the defendants imposed identical surcharges, such as energy surcharges, “when in fact defendants’ energy costs were not uniform and these ‘surcharges’ were a ruse to allow them to raise prices.”

JELD-WEN’s complaint further alleges the defendants sought to “raise, fix, stabilize or maintain at artificially high and non-competitive levels the prices of flat glass sold in the United States and allocate business for flat glass.” The complaint goes on to say that because of these alleged actions JELD-WEN “was deprived of the benefits of free and open competition in the purchase of flat glass and price competition among defendants in the sale of flat glass was restrained, suppressed and eliminated.”

At press time neither Guardian, Pilkington, nor PPG had responded to DWM’s requests for comment, and AGC officials had declined to comment.


AAMA Releases Voluntary Tornado Specification
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has released a voluntary specification for testing and rating building components that will be exposed to tornados and similar extreme wind and rain conditions. The association says this is particularly important given increased tornado activity that has impacted parts of the Midwest and the South during the past few months.

AAMA 512-11, Voluntary Specifications for Tornado Hazard Mitigating Fenestration Products, uses existing test methods and other procedures to qualify windows and other glazed fenestration products for tornado hazard mitigation. The newly released document provides a system for rating the ability of windows to withstand impact, pressure cycling and water penetration, which are generally associated with tornado conditions.

AAMA 512 is a voluntary specification that was developed by the AAMA Tornado Hazard Mitigation Task Group and is recommended for buildings heavily affected by tornados.

The testing and performance requirements section of the specification outlines the necessary test conditions for adhering to AAMA 512. According to the specification, test specimens should be tested for anchorage, missile impact, water testing and cycling (for windows used in hurricane-prone zones only).

briefly …
ProBuild Holdings Inc. has announced that 59 of its U.S. facilities have received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody Certification. This certification enables these locations to sell FSC-certified materials, signifying that the forest products used are from responsibly harvested and verified sources

Crystal Window and Door Systems reports that despite the continued challenging economic climate, the company achieved a 13 percent increase in annual revenue for its fiscal year ending April 30, 2011

Northeast Building Products has re-designed its website with what company officials describe as a contemporary look and feel to represent its commitment to innovation and energy efficiency

B.F. Rich Windows and Doors
has completed its third year of continuing education with the Certified Green Dealer™ Program. The program includes voluntary educational training on green building techniques and green product choices

Architectural Testing Inc. (ATI) in York, Pa., has acquired substantially all of the assets of Effect Technologies Corp. (d.b.a. ETC Laboratories), according to an announcement from ATI.


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