AAMA Takes Care of Business in Sunny Coronado, Calif.
At a time when most of the United States was fighting snowstorms and blustery winter weather, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) met in sunny Coronado, Calif., to debate standards and regulations for the fenestration industry. From marketing, to condensation, to structural qualifications of doors, the group had a filled stint as they held their annual meeting in Coronado Bay January 21-24, complete with a keynote speech by Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady.
Early on Monday morning, the Aluminum Material Council’s marketing committee discussed the promotion of standards in the industry and how they should be presented to consumers. Several committee members stressed that the committee’s goal was to ensure that standards are the best for the consumer—not the industry. Among those items debated were condensation standards, air infiltration and exfiltration for windows. In an effort to ensure the council’s technical moves were worthwhile and made it into the mainstream, the marketing committee considered lobbying to the new secretary of the department of energy.
The council decided to write a letter urging the secretary to support AAMA standards. The committee will send the letter to the rest of the council, urging them to print it on their own letterhead and forward it to Washington, D.C. However, the group did not finalize this plan and hopes to work further on it at the group’s June meeting in Denver.
The (Hall) Mark of AAMA
The recently-formed Quality Assurance Council, chaired by George Thiret of Graham Architectural Products, discussed the new certification program for window manufacturers, particularly for commercial window designs. Outgoing AAMA chairperson Den-nis Kelly cited an earlier meeting he’d attended in Phoenix, just ten days before AAMA’s meeting, with window manufacturers from across the country. At that meeting, Kelly said they discussed an important question: “What do we, as an association, want to do when we grow up?”
According to Thiret, the answer to that question lies in the certification program, which will eventually qualify companies, rather than products, for AAMA certification. Thus, companies can be certified without having to certify each individual product. AAMA will conduct testing to make sure each product is qualified; otherwise, the company will lose its AAMA-certification labels. Once complete, the association hopes the program will be accredited by the American National Standards Institute. The chairperson added that once this program goes into effect, it will be an option—
not a requirement—for window manufacturers.
“This could be the hallmark of the association—this and the installation program,” Thiret said. “I like the concept of having as much assurance as possible.”
In planning for the program, the council hopes to avoid heavy paperwork or complicated qualification processes in an effort to encourage manufacturers to get involved.
Although the program is not underway yet, the council hopes to soon make it a reality, as soon as they decide the necessary qualifications for a company, which will include its capabilities in both design and quality.
“Let’s quit talking about it and just do it,” added one anxious member of the Quality Assurance Council.
Tarrying On …
The Door Structural Task Group made some strides with its section of the AAMA standards, agreeing to most likely measure deflection of passage doors at six points in the newest set of AAMA standards. But, there are still questions to be answered. “How many points per door do we want to define? That’s the question,” said Axel Husen, a task group member from Roto Hardware.
In addition, the task group needs to finalize what those six (or more) points will be. It hopes to do so by the next meeting in Denver, in an effort to present a finished product to AAMA at that time. Jose Colon of Hurricane Test Labs in Dade County, Fla., agreed to piece together a packet of drawings
and sample points for the group to consider, including as many diagrams and configurations of passage doors as possible. Thus the group will have had a chance to review the points before Denver, to debate it then and reach a final agreement.
NSDJA Going Strong in Philadelphia
Taking place in Philadelphia, the National Sash and Door Jobbers Association (NSDJA) conference was held October 14 through 18, 2000, and welcomed more than 2,800 attendees and more than 200 exhibiting companies.
Aside from the many products and services available from exhibiting companies, there were also several educational seminars scheduled throughout the event including “Distributor/ Manufacturer Relationships,” by Edwin Rigsbee and “Using Computer Technology to Improve the Bottom Line,” by Steve Epner.
One of the most popular seminars was “Strategies for Wholesaler-Distributors in Consolidating Lines of Trade,” by Dr. Adam J. Fein. “Consolidation often takes out the strongest companies,” said Fein. “Consolidation pressures include retail and online channels.”
According to Fein, 75 percent of distributor consolidations fail, and he pointed out the consolidation realities of the millwork industry. “All consolidations promise rapid growth, cost savings, purchasing power, national accounts, culture and valuation arbitrage (buying low in one market and selling high in another),” he said. So what can manufacturers do when consolidation looms? “Get big, get focused or get out,” Fein said. “Understand why your customers buy from you—they like you, it’s a hassle to switch, you’re close or just lack of a better alternative … [but] loyalty is the single biggest asset.”
Many in attendance could relate to Fein’s discussion, since the fenestration industry has been rapidly undergoing consolidation itself.
The Friedman Corp. of Deerfield, Ill., was also demonstrating its newest concept, Frontier PowerBids, a software solution that it says provides every user with the product knowledge necessary to handle complex selling. Features include an interactive selling system, which guides the user through the entire process, as well as online intelligent product catalogs that allow the user to browse product information.
The Top Rolling Patio Screen is the latest launch from Elizabethville, Pa.-based RiteScreen™. The screen features a track and roller bar made of solid, aluminum extrusion and all parts needed for the installation are included with the installation instructions. In addition, the company says any RiteScreen patio screen door can be adapted for the top hung system.
The NSDJA will hold its next meeting October 28-31, 2001 in Reno, Nev.
2001: A Fenestration Odyssey?
During AAMA’s official annual update at the end of the meeting, Kelly looked back on the year’s events, comparing it to Stanley Kubrick’s classic science-fiction movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“Stanley Kubrick made a lot of predictions in that movie, and as you know, very few of them came true,” said Kelly. “Nothing ever comes out like it is planned, it seems, and the same is true of our industry.”
Among the biggest changes of the year Kelly cited higher energy prices and a move closer to complete AAMA standards. In light of this, Kelly added that six task groups completed their work during the past year and disbanded. In
addition, participation in the AAMA certification program increased
by 10 percent from the previous year.
“Even though next year we’ll still see differences in what we expected and completed, we can still be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” ended Kelly, as he gave the podium to the association’s incoming chairman, Ray W. Garries of Jeld-Wen.
Garries made several predictions for the coming year, including an expansion of AAMA services to manufacturers, an increased alliance with the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and an increase in the association’s market share. “Fifty to fifty-five million windows are sold per year,” he said. “That’s a number we’re going to keep track of and make sure all of our members know what the reach of this organization is.”
Win-Door 2000: Taking on Toronto
Following the National Sash and Door Jobbers Association Conference, fenestration professionals headed to Toronto for the sixth annual Win-Door show, which took place in the Metro Toronto Convention Center, November 15- 17. An opening night reception on the 15th welcomed exhibitors and attendees alike, making for a relaxing environment to network and mingle.
According to the Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers Association, owners and producers of Win-Door, the 2000 show featured more than 185 exhibitors from throughout North America as well as other countries including Belgium, Germany, Japan and Spain.
With more than 3,000 attendees walking the trade show floor, they certainly found a lot of information about product innovation. During the three show days, exhibitors showcased their company’s latest offerings in new products, technology, services and more.
Pilkington North America of Toledo, Ohio, took the opportunity to promote its Solar E™ Solar Control Glass, which it introduced early in 2000. Pilkington representatives say Solar E is designed for the cooling-dominated climate of the Southern United States. In addition, the glass is a pyrolytic-coated product, and like other low-E glasses, reduces UV rays without reducing the amount of natural light entering the environment. Pilkington representatives also claim Solar E is easily fabricated, has an unlimited shelf life and is ideal for new construction, replacement and renovation projects.
Truth Hardware of Owatonna Minn., offered its Reflectolite 2322 handle. According to Truth, the handle requires less machining than other multi-point systems, includes trim plates for vinyl or wood applications, features two locks for every single lever operation and is available in zinc dichromate or solid brass face plates. The company also says the handle can be used with nearly all doors currently using single point mortise locks, and works with most all Truth sliding patio door handles.
Also on display during Win-Door 2000 were the new Roto Fixed roof windows from Chester, Conn.-based Roto Roof Windows. According to the company, the Roto Fixed features a knot-free pine veneered wood frame, sealed corners for weather tightness and pre-cut dado grooves, which the company says can indicate precise positioning of mounting brackets, reducing the chance of error.
Win-Door will take place in Toronto once again, November 14-16, 2001.
Garries wasn’t the only addition to the AAMA ranks. The association gained a new code consultant, Julie Ruth, who will keep the organization updated on happenings within the International Code Council (ICC). Ruth, excited about the new venture, compared the battle between the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and ICC (see related story page 18) to the Battle of the Titans. Although it is still unclear who will eventually succeed, Ruth hopes that with her assistance, AAMA can get involved in the code process and help to make history as an international code is adopted.
Her action plan involves writing a letter to both associations and talking to local code officials and contacting numerous states to find out which code each prefers. She hopes to also respond to the needs of AAMA’s members by providing them with quarterly updates on changes within the code body of the United States.
The AAMA meeting proved to be a success for all those involved in the strenuous process of perfecting the association’s standards and regulations for fenestration products.
The association will hold its next national meeting in Denver, June 10-13.
NWDA Meets in Providence
Members of the Northeast Window and Door Association (NWDA) met for the group’s 2001 winter meeting and table top program, January 17-18 in Providence, R.I. In addition to the group’s board meeting and seminars, table top exhibits from 45 companies were displayed as well. Exhibiting companies ranged from hardware companies such as G-U Hardware of Newport News, Va., to testing organizations such as Architectural Testing Inc. of York, Pa.
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