Volume 40,   Issue 6                                June  2005


Canadian Standards Association Approves Joint Fenestration Standard
The newest fenestration standard, AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/1.S. 2/A440-04, Standard/Specifi-cation for Windows, Doors, and Unit Skylights, has been approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and on January 7, 2005, was officially approved by a joint meeting of executives of the three associations involved, according to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). 

The format, which is expected to become effective in 2006, was published by AAMA, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers Association (CWDMA). The new document now includes side-hinged doors.

“101/1.S. 2/A440-04 represents years of collaboration within our industry; yet a few hurdles remain before it will be fully implemented. We expect initial acceptance into the IBC and IRC very soon, with the final ICC hearing for code adoption set for September,” said Dean Lewis, certification manager for AAMA. 

“Realistically, however, it may be another three years before all manufacturers will be certifying their products to the most current uniform North American standard.” 

Lewis explained that the test standards used in the 1997 document are not identical to the same test standards in the 2002 document. The later standards were converted to metric equivalents, and minimum performance requirements were rounded up to the nearest number. Until products certified under 1997 standards are re-certified under 101/1.S. 2/A440-04, they are not in compliance with the most recent harmonized standard, according to AAMA. 

AAMA recommends a transition period in which the 1997 and 2002 documents are accepted along with the newest document.

“There’s simply not enough capacity at accredited testing laboratories to re-certify products currently listed under the 1997 label. However, after this relatively short transition period, acceptance of a uniform performance standard for the United States and Canada will facilitate the manufacturing and marketing of window and door products across the border,” said Lewis.

CGA Developing Code on Frameless Shower Doors
The California Glass Association (CGA) is developing and writing a building code pertaining to frameless shower doors.

“We are near completion,” said Donn Harter, president of the CGA. “Currently there is not one sentence in the International Building Code (IBC) about this [shower doors],” he said.

According to Harter, the CGA is currently working with code organizations to develop a document that will be proposed for inclusion in the IBC.

Earthquake Building Codes May See Changes
The seismic codes that are currently in place for all buildings in the United States may change from prescriptive to performance in the future, but it may take some time and societal change before it happens, according to the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

The current codes are prescriptive or a “one-size-fits-all,” assuming worst-case scenario for all buildings, creating what Chris Poland, chairman and president of Degenkolb Engineers in San Francisco referred to as “overkill for buildings on hard rock,” as reported in Engineering News Record.

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute’s annual meeting was held in early February in Ixtapa, Mexico, and among examples discussed was the collapse of the Pino Suarez building in Mexico City in 1985. The building was described as having “met the letter” of the prescriptive codes in place in Mexico City at the time, and since its collapse the codes governing buildings there have changed, especially where soft soil is concerned. Similar considerations have not yet been adopted in the United States.

ICC Offers Internet Access to Codes
The International Code Council (ICC) offers access to the International Codes through the Internet with a software package, Premium eCodes.

According to the press release, the ICC developed eCodes to make referencing I-Codes quick, easy and more convenient than using code books while traveling. Premium eCodes includes features that allow users to search for key words and phrases, copy and print text into documents and bookmark pages for future reference. The online format also allows users access to the most up-to-date versions of the codes, including errata, according to the press release.

ICC Assists Mexican Government in Safety Codes Development
The International Code Council (ICC) is working with the Mexican government to help the country develop a residential building code as part of its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mexican National Commission of Housing Development. According to the announcement, under the MOU the I-Codes developed by the ICC will serve as a guide for the creation of new codes and standards in Mexico.

“The Mexican government has a long-term plan to update its construction standards to include the safest techniques, materials and technologies,” said James Lee Witt, ICC chief executive officer. “The I-Codes, already enforced in thousands of U.S. jurisdictions, will be the basis for housing construction in Mexico. The codes will provide Mexico's residents with safe, affordable and comfortable housing.”

“Signing this agreement is a concrete step in support of the housing sector within the framework of the Housing Sector Program strategies,” said Carlos Gutierrez Ruiz, national commissioner of housing development for Mexico. “This is also a great opportunity for the ICC and the National Commission of Housing Development to establish the basis to participate in the development of instruments to promote quality and safety in residential buildings in Mexico.”

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