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November - December 2002

What’s News

Senate Urges President Bush to Promote Lumber Trade

A bi-partisan resolution introduced recently in the U. S. Senate by Senators Don Nickles (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Bob Graham (D-FL), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Jean Carnahan (D-MO) urges President Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian government to “promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers,” reported American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH).

The World Trade Organization (WTO) found on July 26 that the Department of Commerce action imposing preliminary countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned and is in violation of WTO’s rules (see July-August DWM/BCM, page 50). 

The Senate's recent resolution asks the administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and anti-dumping duties are legal under international trade rules.

According to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas, the duties are harming U.S. consumers. “The final 27 percent countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling may increase the average cost of a new home by more than $1,000,” she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents more than 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed the duties in May after the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that there was a potential for a “threat” to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian lumber imports. The ITC also concluded, however, that there was no evidence that Canadian lumber imports had harmed the U.S. industry at that time. The duties have been opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, said ACAH.

“The duties amount to a federally imposed 27-percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers,” said Petniunas. “Consumers’ interests should be a major factor considered by the administration, and we appreciate the senators urging President Bush to do so,” Petniunas said. “These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing and jobs within lumber-consuming industries.”

Similar resolutions were introduced last year and the year before urging free trade on Canadian lumber. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada.

“It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, in discussions about trade in lumber,” said Sen. Nickles.

Bush Administration Proposes Controversial Plan

The Bush administration has proposed a new forest management plan that calls for clearing more trees from fire-prone forests. 

“The [current] forest policy of our government is misguided policy. It doesn’t work. We need to thin ... We need to understand, if you let kindling build up, and there's a lightning strike, you're going to get yourself a big fire,” said President George W. Bush in front of 4,000 invited guests at the Jackson Country Fairgrounds in Oregon in late August.

“The plan calls for clearing more trees from fire-prone forests. It rests on the controversial premise that too much regulation, too many lawsuits and too little commercial thinning of national forests has produced the catastrophic fires that are raging across the American West this year. And it would require Congress to rewrite a major environmental law adopted 32 years ago,” stated a recent article in the Washington Post by staff writers Amy Goldstein and Rene Sanchez.
Environmental groups are not very happy with the new Bush plan. They believe that the proposal is a “political gift to the timber industry that would undermine a consensus that Western leaders reached in May on treating forests and preventing wildfires,” said the article.

According to the article, the ten-year strategy advocated clearing small trees and brush on the edge of many forests, but Bush's plan advocates logging trees deep in the forest.

AIA Calls For Right to Repair
According to a September 18, 2002, article in the Insurance Journal, “The American Insurance Association (AIA) is calling upon Gov. Gray Davis (D) to sign a measure that will give California builders the right to repair construction defects. AIA says this measure will reduce the number of lawsuits.”

“SB 800, authored by Senate president pro tem John Burton (D) and Assembly speaker Herb Wesson (D), establishes specific definitions for construction defects. The bill also requires homeowners to give notice to their builder if they discover defects. 

Once notified, builders will then be given the chance to repair any alleged defect within a specified amount of time. Homeowners will retain the right to pursue litigation if the repairs are not made or are found to be inadequate,” said the article.

Gov. Davis has until September 30 to sign or veto the bill.

Round Top Windows Relocates
ROUND TOP Following a lengthy search for a new manufacturing site, Canada-based Round Top Windows Products Inc. will relocate its Northwest operations to a new industrial park in the Dalles in Oregon, just 20 miles from its current facility in Hood River. The decision to relocate to nearby The Dalles is good news for Central Oregon, said the company. Not only will the 14 existing jobs remain in the area but the company will also be able to expand and double its workforce to an anticipated 30 jobs within the next two years.

Local developer Cheno with Creek Development Co. currently is building a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to suit the company's needs. It will be located on a 2.45-acre parcel in the Port of The Dalles Industrial Park and will feature some of the company's trademark round-top windows.

Ultrafab and Central Plastics Announce New Strategic Supply Agreement
Ultrafab Inc. of Farmington, N.Y., announced its second extruded products strategic supply agreement. Central Plastics Inc. of McPherson, Kan. will manufacture extruded weatherseals for distribution by Ultrafab to fenestration customers in the Central, Southwest and Western United States.

Linetec Adds Paint Application Process
Linetec of Wausau, Wis., announced the addition of a proprietary paint application process for fiberglass products which are destined for commercial and residential markets in the architectural fenestration industry.

“We’re excited to offer Linetec customers yet another finishing choice. With our proprietary process, we can apply 70 percent Kynar® paint to give glass substrate for windows, doors and other building components,” said Jeff Murphy, Linetec vice president of sales and marketing.

Winstrom Manufacturing and Thermetic Glass Announce Merger
Winstrom Manufacturing of Park Forest, Ill., and Thermetic Glass of Toluca, Ill., have combined assets to create a new company-Winstrom LLC. Jay R. Hedges, chairperson, and a group of investors purchased the assets of Thermetic Glass.

The merger will enable the company to expand its product offerings to all customers. Winstrom is planning for a commercial aluminum-casement window line to be introduced later this year and plans to expand the Vinylview line in early 2003.

Masco Buys Three UK Companies
Masco Corp. of Taylor, Mich., purchased three vinyl window companies in the United Kingdom as part of a $220-million acquisition, reported a recent article in Plastics News.

The building products firm “bought extruder Duraflex Ltd. [of Cheltenham, England] from Latium Group in the cash and stock deal, marking its move into the European market for vinyl window extrusions,” said the article.

“The June 19 transaction also included Welsh fabricators Cambrian Windows Ltd. of Pembroke and Premier Manufacturing Ltd. of Caerphilly,” said the article.

In other company news, Masco has formed a partnership with MH2Technologies of Dallas. Masco has chosen MH2 as its technology partner in connecting the Masco operating companies with each other and its builder customers and distribution chain, according to the company.

CraftMaster to Act as Stand-Alone Company 
The principals of T.M. Cobb Companies of Riverside, Calif., and Woodgrain Millwork of Fruitland, Idaho, both privately held building products companies, have purchased CraftMaster Manufactur-ing Inc. (CMI), the Chicago-based manufacturer of CraftMaster® door designs and MiraTEC® treated exterior composite trim. CMI will maintain its headquarters in Chicago with manufacturing at its facility in Towanda, Pa.

T.M. Cobb Companies is a building products manufacturer and distributor of doors, windows and millwork; Woodgrain Millwork is a manufacturer and distributor of mouldings, windows and doors. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“The CraftMaster and MiraTEC brands represent tremendous value and integrity in the building products market,” said Jeff Cobb, vice president of T.M. Cobb Companies. “These well-known brands will anchor CMI as a stand-alone business and tremendously enhance our overall product offering to the residential and commercial building industry.”

The jewel of the acquisition is the Towanda manufacturing facility, where the technology for CraftMaster was first developed in 1974 and where MiraTEC trim has been produced since 1999. According to Bob Merrill, president and general manager of CMI, Towanda's more than 500 employees will continue to play an integral role in the company’s future.

VEKA Purchases Canadian Extruder
VEKA Holdings Inc. of Fombell, Pa., announced that it has signed an agreement to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Berlinex Inc. from Epwin Group Plc. Berlinex, an extruder of PVC fenestration products based in Edmonton, Alberta, currently employs 57 people. The Berlinex site will now serve as a member of the VEKA Group and will supply the Western Canadian markets including current VEKA and Berlinex customers, said the company.

In other company news, VEKA was recognized by Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker and David E. Hess of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the company’s pollution-prevention efforts. 

“When VEKA saw its hazardous-waste generation figures soaring, it knew something had to be done to reduce the waste to save the environment and to cut down on disposal costs,” secretary Hess said. “By working in partnership with DEP, the facility was able to invest a small amount of money up front to modify existing equipment in order to reduce the waste and save money over the long term.”

P&F Industries Acquires Nationwide Industries
P&F Industries Inc. of Farmingdale, N.Y., acquired Nationwide Industries Inc. of Tampa, Fla. Nationwide is an importer and manufacturer of window, door and fencing hardware sold principally through original equipment manufacturers. 

Nationwide will become part of P&F’s newly formed fourth subsidiary, to be named Countrywide Hardware Inc. The company has been in business nearly ten years and has 30 employees.

Magnolia Metal Adds New Capabilities
Magnolia Metal & Plastic Products Inc., located in Vicksburg, Miss., announced that it has new value-added capabilities. In fall 2001, the mold design and build facility was debuted with the latest CNC/EDM machine tools. 

The next addition that was completed—the introduction of two additional injection-molding machines—was in the first quarter of 2002. The startup of the new equipment has enhanced the much-needed “just-in-time” ordering that customers require, said the company.

CertainTeed Corp. Breaks New Ground
CertainTeed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa., broke ground recently on a new vinyl window manufacturing facility in Lebanon, Ind. The multi-million dollar facility will be located in the Lebanon Business Park about 25 miles northwest of Indianapolis and is expected to be completed and operational by Spring 2003.

The plant will be a window fabrication facility. The vinyl components of the windows are produced by CertainTeed’s Hargerstown, Md., window facility. The Lebanon plant will take those components, assemble the windows and distribute them to customers throughout the region.

Precision Introduces New Division
Precision Door & Glass Inc. of Sugarcreek, Ohio, announced the opening of its new insulating glass manufacturing company, Monarch IG Inc., located in Cambridge, Ohio. Monarch IG will be manufacturing insulating glass to meet the demand of Precision’s entry door systems and Sugarcreek’s replacement windows and patio doors, said a report from the company.

Sunrise Windows Expands Facility 
Sunrise Windows Ltd. of Temperance, Mich., completed a 36,000-square-foot addition to its manufacturing facility. The company will also begin manufacturing a premium line of sliding patio doors.

“Our company continues to see growing demand for all of our products, and this expansion was necessary to not only meet that demand but to also allow us to continue to improve every aspect of our company’s performance,” said Gary Delman, president of Sunrise Windows.

Consumers Can Buy Do-It-Yourself Mold Test Kits
According to the American Medical Association, 94 percent of all respiratory ailments are caused by polluted air. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies indicate that levels of indoor air pollutants may be 25 to 100 times higher than outdoors. Heightening that risk is the fact that Americans spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors.

PRO-LAB of Weston, Fla., offers homeowners a do-it-yourself mold test kit, which provides an inexpensive, accurate and easy way for consumers to test their homes for toxic mold, said the company.

“The hottest environmental health issue this year has been mold, without question,” said James McDonnell, home safety expert and chief executive officer of PRO-LAB. “Educated consumers are buying these kits to test their homes, schools and offices.”

BOMA International Approves Formal Policy to Address Mold
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International of Washington, D.C., approved a formal association policy for an issue that is rapidly threatening to become epidemic in the minds of the public: mold and mildew. The association’s board of governors unanimously approved the new position during its annual convention, held in Chicago from June 23-25.

The position statement reads: “BOMA International promotes high standards to protect the health and safety of building occupants. To that end, BOMA International supports additional research to examine potential health effects of mold in indoor environments. Research should address construction practices, building materials, building design, operations and maintenance and tenant behavior, and must be based on reliable evidence and sound science, not supposition. Therefore, Congress should move to expand the scope of research on this issue, as it is a largely unsettled matter.

BOMA International opposes any initiatives by federal, state and local authorities to write model building codes and standards regulating mold and moisture. Building codes and standards designed to address mold and moisture should be developed through the industry standards consensus processes. The federal government should support the development of these standards through research and public education.

BOMA International opposes legislative and regulatory initiatives advocating overly broad mold-related disclosure requirements in the sale of commercial properties that might confuse consumers or expose sellers and lessors to unpredictable and unreasonable liability.

BOMA International supports laws, regulations and policies that will ensure that adequate insurance coverage for mold claims is available to the commercial real estate industry at a fair and reasonable cost.


Stocker Hinge Manufacturing Co. of Brookfield, Ill., announced that it has received QS-9000 Certificate of Registration from Quality Systems Registrars Inc., making the company one of only three continuous-hinge manufacturing facilities in North America to achieve QS-9000 registration… Silver Line Windows of North Brunswick, N.J., purchased seven additional Davis Standard twin-screw extruders to bring its total to 66 Davis Standard machines and over 80 extruders total… C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. of Los Angeles created a new corporate division-the architectural services division. This division will work with architects and specifiers, providing product information, technical support and assistance with specifications… Rohm and Haas Co. of Philadelphia has announced the opening of its new Midwest Technical Center in Elgin, Ill. The center was built specifically to support structural adhesives and packaging and converting customers.

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