March 2003

In the News ...

Lumber Builders Welcome New Lumber Proposal

The nation’s home builders recently welcomed a new Commerce Department proposal to clarify the criteria for defining market-based pricing for timber in Canada as a step toward a long-term resolution of a trade dispute involving Canadian lumber. 

“The Commerce Department’s draft policy paper on Canadian lumber released [recently] provides an excellent starting point for achieving free trade in lumber and eliminating the 27-percent tariffs that have harmed American consumers and businesses alike,” said Bobby Rayburn, vice president and treasurer of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) of Washington, D.C.

While NAHB does not believe that current Canadian forest practices represent a subsidy, the association says it does agree that it is in the best interests of all parties for Canada to work toward adopting a more open and transparent pricing system, according to Rayburn.

Past talks between the United States and Canada have ended in deadlock and there are other proposals circulating calling on Canada to drop its current appeals on the United States countervailing and anti-dumping duties before the World Trade Organization and North American Free Trade Agreement. Rayburn called on Canada to move forward with its legal cases in order for free trade to prevail.

While the commerce draft policy statement reported that the department would seek input from U.S. lumber industry leaders, Rayburn said it was important for the U.S. government to reach out to other concerned stakeholders.

“Housing and related industries that use softwood lumber employ more than 5 million American workers and outnumber U.S. lumber-producing workers by 25 to one. This is why it is important that if negotiations do resume, the interests of U.S. consumers and businesses who use lumber are considered,” said Rayburn.

(See related articles in October SHELTER 2002, page 18, in May SHELTER 2002, page 8, and April SHELTER 2002, page 22.)

Integrity Names North California Distributor
Western Door & Sash Co. of Oakland, Calif., has been named the exclusive distributor forIntegrity Casement Fargo, N.D.-based Integrity® Windows and Doors in the Northern California region.

“The success of high-performing products such as Integrity windows and doors requires a strong relationship with a distributor that understands the local market and industry and provides the ultimate in service and support to building-supply dealers, contractors, builders and architects,” said Brett Boyum, senior marketing manager for Integrity Windows and Doors. “Western Door & Sash provides that for Integrity.”

Wausau Homes Selects Millwork Supplier
Wausau Homes, headquartered in Montello, Wis., has selected Glen Oak Lumber & Milling of Montello, Wis., as its millwork supplier. The decision was made in the fall of 2002, following a thorough evaluation of the country’s leading millwork manufacturers.

According to Wausau Homes chief executive officer Marv Schuette, Glen Oak’s multi-state plants and distribution centers made it a logical choice for Wausau Homes and its custom home division, Sterling Building Systems. She said the millwork giant can easily supply the home builders served by the combined companies’ eight component plants in the Midwest and Southeast.

CertainTeed Corp. Acquires Marshall
CertainTeed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa., recently announced the acquisition of Marshall Vinyl Windows Inc. of Corona, Calif. The terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Founded in 1954, Marshall Vinyl Windows Inc. manufactures vinyl windows and doors for distribution throughout California, Arizona and Nevada. Since 1992, Marshall has been an independent window fabricator, taking CertainTeed’s vinyl components, then assembling and selling finished products under the CertainTeed brand name. 

With this acquisition, CertainTeed now owns and operates four window manufacturing facilities. The others are located in Auburn, Wash., Richmond, Va., and Nesquehoning, Pa. An additional facility, currently under construction in Lebanon, Ind., will begin production this year. CertainTeed also owns a vinyl component extrusion plant in Hagerstown, Md.

Wheeler’s Purchases General Supply Co.
Wheeler’s Inc. of Rome, Ga., a manufacturer and distributor of building materials, has purchased General Supply Co., a lumber and building materials dealer in Marietta, Ga.

General Supply’s operations on Canton Highway have been discontinued, and its customers will be served out of Wheeler’s other metro-Atlanta stores.

Gary Wigington, General’s previous owner, joins Wheeler’s as its north-metro regional manager. 

PGT Acquires Window and Door Manufacturer
PGT Ind. of Venice, Fla., a manufacturer of custom windows, doors and patio rooms, has acquired Binnings Buildings Products Inc. of Lexington, N.C. 

Since 1958, Binnings has manufactured aluminum and vinyl windows and doors as well as storm windows and doors for the replacement and new construction market. 

The Binnings’ 230,000 square-foot facility became PGT North Carolina Operations effective January 1.

Brite Named One of Canada’s Best Companies
The National Post newspaper recently named Brite Mfg. Inc. of Bolton, Ontario, as one of Canada’s 50 best managed, privately-owned companies. Brite is a leading producer of wooden and plastic lattice and accessories, multi-density fiberboard mouldings and wood composite decking. Brite was chosen from more than 12,000 companies in Canada.

The company is also celebrating 25 years in operation. What began as a two-person business producing garage doors has grown to a company with more than 300 employees.

Wood Dust Listed as Carcinogen
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says wood dust is a known human
The National Toxicology Program, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently published the tenth edition of its “Report on Carcinogens,” which found that wood dust is a known human carcinogen in cases involving nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses.

The Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers® (AWFS) joins the American Forest & Paper Association in taking exception to the finding, noting that the majority of studies on which it is based have questionable relevancy to current practices in the United States today.

“It is our understanding that this finding is based in large part on European studies that measured exposures occurring, before World War II,” said AWFS public policy chair Wade Gregory of SierraPine Ltd. “We therefore question how relevant this is to the industry today.”

To have some key data on current industry practices, AWFS is supporting a major wood-dust study at Tulane University.
“The health and well-being of our industry workforce is of vital concern to everyone in the association,” said member services chair John Schramm of Boise Corp. “We want to know everything we can about wood-dust exposure and how it affects the human body. That is why AWFS has joined other groups in sponsoring the six-year, $1.8 million study at Tulane … We hope to hear results from that in 2004,” he said.

In 1998, the association voted to commit $120,000 over a six-year period for the major study that is examining the relationship between wood dust exposure and non-cancer respiratory health. The study involved a pulmonary function testing and wood dust exposure monitoring of workers with baseline data obtained in the first year, and annual follow-up testing over the subsequent five years. Approximately 6,000 workers from 12 wood-product facilities will comprise the study population.

The study will determine whether an exposure-response effect exists. If the exposure response effect does exist, the study will help determine what particle size fractions are important, the level of exposure needed and if the effect varies with type of wood or other respiratory contaminants.


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