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September - October 2003

Alan Campbell WDMA Opens Up

We're All Partners in Success
New-Wave Nuances of Window and Door Manufacturing
by Alan J. Campbell


It is not enough today for an association simply to collect membership dues and gather occasionally for social events. Successful industry associations are proactive mediators, facilitators and marketers who want the industry to succeed in every sense of the word.

Transitioning into the Future 
There are regular codes and standards cycles and changes to address, technological challenges and a wide range of topics to handle—all in a single day. Associations must also anticipate the future, setting the stage for a smooth transition into its boundaries. 
Technologically, the fenestration industry is evolving at a rapid pace due in part to innovation in computer and microprocessor technologies. These, in turn, affect manufacturing and testing. The state-of-the art is here and now, and what’s new in the window, door and skylight industry is just about everything. 

For example, there are new ways in which windows can protect against impact, and even codes that address the need for glazing to withstand strong and coastal winds. In addition, fire-resistant products and testing and certification avenues continue to advance. 

Technically, we at the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) know that giving our membership as much information as possible is the best way to go, and the annual technical conference is the perfect venue. Here, the industry learns what’s new (and even what may happen in the future).

Groundbreaking Discussions
Following is some of what emerged from the speakers tables during the three-day gathering:

• Mold and its effect on building construction is an ongoing issue, and one which WDMA will continue to acknowledge and address. A session on “Accelerating Real Life in the Laboratory” by Rick Curkeet, PE and chief engineer for the building products division of Intertek Testing Services of Boxborough, Mass., focused on new methodologies available to assess real-life use through laboratory testing and evaluation. This information is useful in developing performance standards and test methods related to product performance—and real-life application.

• One of the most critical elements in determining the performance of a window, patio door or skylight is the glazing used. Tom Kaiser, vice president of Cardinal Glass Industries Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn., presented information 
on “The Future: New Glass Technology and Technology Drivers.” Demographics and codes are key drivers in this sector, and technologies in solar coatings, insulating glass and laminated glass will continue to advance as code bodies look to ensure public safety and also, address building stability.

• Darrell Smith, executive director of the International Window Film Association in Martinsville, Va., addressed the retrofit market for films. Smith said safety and security films have advanced, as have related applicable test standards. Security films, he said, have a variety of applications and are capable of resisting forced entry, windstorms, earthquakes and spontaneous failure. Their main job is to hold glass fragments together, and they do not protect against blasts or bullets. 

• Thomas Zaremba, a partner in Roetzel & Andress of Toledo, spoke about “Interior Safety Glazings.” (Zaremba represents Pilkington in much of its advocacy relating to wired glass.). He presented the latest on the market and different glass and glazing properties. 

• Significant strides continue to be made in the area of standards on the state level and also by the International Code Council, which references WDMA standards, according to Mike Fischer, WDMA director of codes and regulatory compliance. Fischer discussed the state of the industry in reference to codes, legislative activities and regulatory officials. 

The industry is hungry for information, especially the kind that will enable its participants to make educated decisions. It’s up to WDMA to be more than an industry association—it needs to be a partner in its success. 

Alan J. Campbell, CAE, serves as president of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association, based in Des Plaines, Ill. 

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