Volume 16, Issue 6 - August/September 2015


FBC: Digging Deeper
by Tara Taffera

As a writer, it is interesting how you immerse yourself in a story, only to find out there is another facet you were unaware of—a point of view you should have told, perhaps—that turns a story on its head. Or does it?

Hopefully by now you have read my article on page 36 of the June-July issue about the new code change in Florida, which ratchets up the energy requirements in impact products. Many in the industry are pleased that energy and impact are now on equal footing. The window manufacturers and dealers to whom I spoke were more than pleased with the changes, and say the cost of windows will not go up.

That could be not farther from the truth for doors, according to Chuck Bale, president of Custom Door Shop in Jupiter, Fla. Bale sent me an impassioned email once he read my article.

 Bale’s company is focused on elaborate mahogany entrance door systems, and he says the change greatly impacts the cost/benefit for end users, mostly retrofit homeowners. The code now requires his company to change from ½-inch-thick laminated impact glass to 1 ¼-inch-thick insulated impact low-E glass. This requires the company to utilize a thicker 2 ¼-inch door. 

“The increased cost of the glass, as well as the thicker door, increases the cost to the end user in many cases by a couple thousand dollars.  The change will negatively affect our business as well as our door manufacturers, resulting in fewer sales,” he says. 

I followed up this email with a phone call to Bale and we talked further. I hung up with him and called a code expert who wishes to remain anonymous. That individual said something that surprised me.

“Too bad, so sad,” was the comment. The official said that because the change has been in the works for 12 years. “They should have seen it coming.”

But Bale didn’t, and he said his suppliers didn’t either.

Bale says only time will tell the repercussion this will have on his business. “We just know that instead of selling an $8,000 8-foot custom mahogany door, now it is $10,000.

“For new construction I understand this, but for retrofit it makes no sense,” he adds. “It is not fair to normal homeowners who won’t replace all their windows and the roof isn’t built to code for hurricanes. They aren’t putting that kind of money into an old home.”

Right before this issue went to press, I learned that Bale isn’t the only one fighting the changes. A newly formed association, the Impact Window Affordability and Safety Association, is fighting them too. It consists of seven door and window companies in Florida who filed a motion with the Florida Building Commission to intervene in the declaratory statement proceedings. This is in response to a petition filed by Frank LaPete and the Responsible Energy Codes Alliance, who seek a determination that all replacement fenestration in existing buildings must comply with U-factor and SHGC requirements consistent with the Florida Building Code. This includes renovations as well. It sounds like this code battle will continue. For the latest updates, be sure to check dwmmag.com.


© Copyright 2015 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.