Volume 41, Issue 6 - June 2006


BEMA and AGA Meet to Discuss Standard, Code Development
Members of the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association (BEMA) standards subcommittee met with an Americas Glass Association (AGA) task group last month in California to discuss BEMA’s development of an ASTM standard and AGA’s efforts to draft a shower enclosure code change for the International Code Council.

According to BEMA executive director Chris Birch both sides agreed to have members from each group set up, via email and conference calls, a list of differences between the two efforts and to discuss the issues that most affect the industry. Birch said if both groups can come to an agreement they will then work on deciding what direction to take next.

“BEMA is still working on finishing a standard while we were told AGA has submitted a code change proposal to the ICC and test procedures to ASTM,” Birch said. 

AGA president Donn Harter confirmed his association has indeed submitted the code change for the 2009 IBC as well a test procedure to ASTM. “We do not know yet which ASTM committee it will be assigned to,” he said.

“If AGA submits something for approval that BEMA feels is not in the best interest of the industry or does not have industry consensus, we will naturally oppose it. Our hope is to continue to communicate with each other to avoid these potential conflicts and work together on one common goal,” said Birch. 

Harter said, though, he is still unsure what it is specifically that BEMA does not like about their submittals.

“We’re trying to create a joint task force of their standards subcommittee and our task group, but we still need to know what BEMA’s reluctances are to the change,” said Harter.

As far as BEMA’s standards development work, Birch said the group has completed most of the work on the first five sections and is working on what they believe to be the final two. Birch said they are also working on some test procedures and hope to have those completed this summer.

New ASTM Standard to Aid in Reducing Thermal Breakage
ASTM International Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings has approved a new standard for determining the resistance of annealed architectural glass to thermally-induced stresses caused by exposure to sun and shadows. The standard, E 2431, Practice for Determining the Resistance of Single Glazed Annealed Architectural Flat Glass to Thermal Loadings, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E06.51 on Performance of Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls. 

“By using the ASTM standard, designers and specifiers of glass in buildings can reduce the possibility of thermal breakage of glass in both vertical and sloped applications, such as facades, storefronts, skylights and atriums,” said William Lingnell, chair of the task group that developed the standard.

According to Lingnell, the task group’s intention is to ultimately include the resistance of insulating glass units to thermal stresses in the standard. Work is currently underway for such an expansion.

Intertek Launches Certification Program for Tornado-Resistant Products
The ETL SEMKO division of Intertek Group plc has launched a tornado-resistant product certification program in accordance with applicable requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA). The program is designed to assist manufacturers in determining if products are fit for use in tornado-prone areas of the United States. The program’s first certification was issued to Windsor Republic Doors of Little Rock, Ark.

Intertek says it is the first independent testing laboratory to introduce a certification program for tornado-resistant products. As part of the program, testing will be conducted to applicable requirements of FEMA and the NSSA and will help to determine products’ wind pressure load resistance, debris impact resistance, structural integrity and door and latching device capacity, according to the company.

Mississippi Governor Signs Building Code Legislation into Law Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has signed HB1406 and HB1440 into law, paving the way for the establishment of mandatory minimum building codes in Mississippi. The founding members of the Coalition to Build a Safer and Stronger Mississippi, including representatives from Solutia Inc., attended the signing ceremony and urged other industry members to participate in building code training sessions throughout the state. 

HB1406 sets up the Mississippi State Building Code and forms the Building Code Council. Five counties, including all counties in the wind-borne debris region (except George), are subject to mandatory enforcement of the wind and flood provisions of the 2003 International Building and Residential Codes within 30 days. Counties may opt out within the first 60 days, but that is not anticipated, according to a statement from Solutia. Other jurisdictions may enforce these codes as well, but enforcement elsewhere is not mandatory. 

HB1440 requires any state-owned facility, including schools, built after July 1, 2006, to comply with the International Building Code. 

“This is a fantastic first step for Mississippi,” said Nanette Lockwood, legislative affairs manager for Solutia Inc. “However, it is only the beginning. While talking with legislators this session, it became clear that building regulation is not something Mississippi welcomes. Implementing building codes is not easy. We are urging industry members to get involved as soon as possible by providing training for builders, architects and building departments to help them learn how to correctly specify and inspect glazing products.”

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