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November - December 2002

WDMA Opens Up

Looking Forward
WDMA Relishes Success and Prepares for Work Ahead
by Alan J. Campbell

Suffice to say, 2002 has been one of the most exciting years in the door and window industry. WDMA has charted a strategic plan and focused and strengthened its code and regulatory process for the benefit of the entire industry. 

It’s been a tough economic climate, but the door and window industry has made tremendous strides in memberships and direction-setting activities. In the past year, we’ve added nine new regular members, 11 new supplier members and nine professional members. But the bottom line is that we continue to recognize strength in numbers and see the value of providing an organization for all, no matter the product material, as long as it meets required performance criteria. 

Being material-neutral is a long-term goal that continues to lay the groundwork at WDMA. We have made significant strides within the residential entry-door market, with the addition of leading-edge companies. In addition, we continue to broaden the orientation of the door division. We have also assigned top priority to diversifying the product and material mix within the window division of WDMA. 

Technical Leadership
WDMA continues to gain and hold the highest credibility in the industry for technical specifications. The association affects the passage of numerous standards directly. One example is the release of the draft of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association AAMA /WDMA Voluntary Specification for the Performance of Side-Hinged Exterior Door Systems. Another is the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS-1) and the comprehensive update of the architectural door specification, I.S. 1-A, Architectural Flush Door Standard. 

In addition, WDMA received American National Standards Institute accreditation of the Hallmark Certification Program recently. In the past, the Hallmark program had been essentially a window, skylight and patio door program. This was brought on by the fact that WDMA standards for those products are performance- based and designed to supplement a certification program. Many of our former door standards were developed as prescriptive standards in the past. But with the development of I.S. 1-A and the side-hinged door specification, which are purely performance standards, a newly-created certification committee will now oversee the expansion of the Hallmark program across both the window and door divisions of WDMA. 

Working toward successful passage of standards and fostering beneficial building codes is an ongoing mission. In fact, we recently added Michael Fischer as WDMA’s new director of codes and regulatory compliance. He’s an integral part of our technical team and proof positive of our continuing emphasis on our leadership status in code-policy decision-making.

Marketing activities are equally important to the WDMA. We’ve increased our exposure in trade publications and others through positive publicity and informative articles. 

Still, there’s work to be done. We realized early on that our competition is not other window and door systems on the job site, but the vast array of other building products between which builders and consumers must choose—often simply a trade-off of costs. We want to educate builders, specifiers, architects and homeowners that these products are not just another commodity, but some of the most important elements in a successful project. We’re getting the message out to all parties to consider carefully the overall impact of using high-performance windows, skylights and door systems when making building products decisions. These products are integral not only to the home’s design, but contribute overall to its longevity and functionality for years.

There’s much to do, but we’re confident that we will continue to have an impact on the industry. 

Alan J. Campbell, CAE, serves as president of the WDMA in Des Plaines, Ill.

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