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September  2004

UnVAILing the Future
AAMA Discusses Important Issues at Summer Meeting in Vail

The American Architec-tural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) held its summer meeting June 13-16 in Vail, Colo. Deflection discussions, merger debates and a presentation of global manufacturing, including the growing number of Chinese exports, (see page 59) were just some of the items discussed. 

Confidential Discussions
Discussion of changes to the L/175 standard for deflection and the possible merger between the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and AAMA were two meeting that were closed to the press (see August DWM page 16 for a full report on that story). Following that article DWM spoke to AAMA’s technical director Carl Wagus who further explained why these meetings were limited to AAMA members, which included issues of confidentiality. 

Regarding the merger talks between the WDMA and AAMA, Wagus said the WDMA was clear that all discussions be closed and no information be released until a decision is made. 

“The WDMA had said from the outset that until an agreement was reached, neither WDMA or AAMA would issue a press release on the subject,” said Wagus.

One of the purposes of the deflection limits meeting was to discuss the preliminary research that AAMA had commissioned. According to Wagus, one of the agreements was that research results will be presented in a peer review journal. 

“If any of those results were published in another source first it would be a violation of our agreement.”

Wagus also pointed out that most of AAMA’s meetings are always open, and that this closure is a highly unusual departure from the norm.

“We feel there is value in open meetings,” said Wagus. “In fact our board meetings are open while other organization close theirs.”

Skylight Standards
Though merger and deflection discussions had everyone talking there were a variety of other issues that AAMA members worked on at the meeting, one of which was skylight energy standards. Julie Ruth, AAMA’s codes consultant, presented a chart on U factors and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) for the United States. Ruth noted that skylights and windows were linked together. She also noted that the code bodies don’t want to specify whether plastic or glass is being used as they want to stay material neutral. 

Crystalite’s Steve Richter, who serves as the group’s chair, notes that in his home state of Washington plastic is used in about 5 percent of the residential skylights. However, the Northern zones use more glass than plastic, whereas plastic is more popular in the South.

Nick Limb of Ducker Research who also spoke at the AAMA meeting noted that according to his company’s research of the door and window market (more on that later), 64 percent of skylights are made of glass while 36 percent are comprised of plastic. 

“Energy codes are driving the increased use of glass,” said Limb. 

One member in attendance said that, for him, skylight use comes down to one item. 

“The residential issue boils down to one thing, I want all the light I can get,” said Lee Assenheimer of Tecton Products. 

Door Components
The main thrust of the door component verification task group, chaired by Architectural Testing’s Rich Biscoe, was the verify components list (VCL). The main objective is standards for bottom sweeps, single- and multi-point door locks and hinges.

Biscoe noted that the Builders Hardware and Manufacturers Association (BHMA) has hinges covered, but AAMA needs to determine acceptance criteria and requirements for hinges. 

“There are standards out there for everything,” said Biscoe. “The question is do we want to adopt them?”
He pointed out that if a product is not on the VCL, it doesn’t have to be tested, but to attain a standard for the part, it must be on the VCL list.

“There is no history of using another organization’s testing in the past,” said Biscoe. “For the single point locks, BHMA won’t work.” 

The group discussed that factors to take into consideration for multi-point locks, latching hardware and door sweeps include impact resistance, load and finish. Phase I is to test durability.

The big issue is that a component will work differently if used in distinct types of doors, i.e., steel versus wood. The group discussed the testing of a system versus component testing and most AAMA members in attendance wanted to stay with components.

The group also talked about door jobbers and the fact that they are going to have to go with a system if they want products to pass testing. 

“Jobbers aren’t doing what they should to adhere to code compliance,” said Biscoe. 

A motion was made to take load and impact resistance off the table for now as this will be part of the systems testing. 

Research Stats
Nick Limb of Ducker Research offered some updated information from its annual study, the North American Market for Windows and Doors. Limb presented preliminary statistics at the association’s annual meeting in February (see April DWM, page 102). 

The final report was completed in May. 

He pointed out that low interest rates continue and there will be a further rise in residential construction. New housing starts are at a 25-year peak, and starts in 2004 are to slow by 3 percent but they’re actually up 15 percent in the first four months. The actual size of new homes continues to increase. 

“There will be a three-year lull before another increase will come in 2007,” said Limb. 

New Web Developments
In the marketing forum, AAMA’s Janice Charletta noted that the new website is under development and was slated to launch on August 1. Part of the new site is an online continuing education course. 

“This is a pilot program in an article format with an online test which is designed to be convenient and cost effective,” Charletta said. 

The course was slated launch in July. The cost is $30 for non-member architects and $15 for member architects.

Fiberglass Materials Council 
The fiberglass materials council discussed the approved Energy Star® criteria for residential, in which the country is divided into four territories. 

North .35 Not required
North Central .40 .55
South Central .40 .40
Southern .65 .40

Raj Goyal, chair of the fiberglass materials council, reminded members that when there is no requirement for SHGC that means the area is COLD dominated and SHGC does not make any difference in heat loss. 

“It is not true but this is how it is defined and used,” he said. 

Also based on above values, the use of insulating glazing becomes mandatory by default to achieve the values. The fiberglass framing does and easily achieves all of the above values with use of standard glazings off the shelf. Aluminum frames cannot achieve the U factor of .35 under current technology without major industry investments and even then the value may not be achievable for hung and sliding type products, according to Goyal.

He also pointed out that the above criteria has now been accepted by the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) which many states use. 

“Once this is adopted (possibly next year), aluminum frame material will be out of sync in the Northern climate and may very well be out of sync with the code in Central zones for at least hung and sliding windows,” he said. 

He also reported that IECC has created two separate requirements for factory-vs. field-glazed products. 

“The latter has more lenient U-factors to help the aluminum industry until it gets updated,” he said. 

Goyal also gave a FRP pultrusion marketing summary. Demand is growing exponentially with demand for six million pounds of parts in 2002 projected to grow to 10 million in 2005, he said. 

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) goal is to reduce energy usage in buildings by 50 percent by 2010 (base year is 1990). 

He added that fiberglass would be a great textbook course for architects and discussed posting it on the AAMA website by the end of July.

Non-Technical Meetings
AAMA gave members a bit of a break from the technical discussions with the luncheons it held during the conference. 

Monday’s speaker was Dan Clark, primary contributing author to the New York Times best-selling series, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Clark, named one of the top ten speakers in the world, was well-received by the crowd. This was evident by the standing ovation members gave him at the conclusion of his speech that focused on change. 

“Change from the outside in is reactive; change from the inside out is proactive,” he said. 

He also offered a differing perspective on the frequently heard expression “think outside the box.”

“Guess what, the answers can be found in the box,” said Clark. 

“What’s the difference between a great manufacturer and a lousy manufacturer? A great supplier and a lousy supplier? A hit song writer and a lousy song writer? Passion, creativity and imagination. All found inside the box.”
Tuesday’s luncheon speaker focused on a topic manufacturers are very interested in. 

C. Donald Brasher Jr., president, Global Trade Information Services spoke about “Trade with China: A Manufacturing Analysis”. 

AAMA’s next meeting will be held October 17-20 at the Registry Resort and Club in Naples, Fla.

The Story of the Century:U.S. Must Adapt to Chinese Influence
C Donald Brasher Jr., president of Global Trade Information Services (GTIS,) in Columbia, S.C., was a featured speaker at the recent summer meeting of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). His presentation, “Trade with China: A Manufacturing Analysis,” was of great interest to AAMA members so we are highlighting some of the statistics he presented below. (According to GTIS 60 countries report these numbers from official statistical agencies and census bureaus. This represents about 95 percent of the world’s trading countries.) (Also see June-July DWM, page 46, “China—Poised for Growth.”)

Brasher defined globalization as trading more and more products. The world’s top exporting countries (in order) include Germany, the United States, Japan and China. However, Brasher says, “By 2007 China may be the largest exporter.”

He added that China imported more than it exported and this was up 42 percent.

“China is a country that is evolving and it’s going to continue,” said Brasher. 

He cited that China’s market increased from $39 million in January to $59 million in April. Brasher also said that the federal government is talking about raising China’s exchange rate. Made a point that some countries will devalue currency to export more, but countries don’t want to do this. 

“The U.S. will have to be adapting more to a much larger economy,” he said. 

“I’m not trying to be an alarmist … it is something you’re going to have to adapt to.

“China will be the story of the century. It’s not going to be just China, although China’s going to be big.”

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