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Volume 6   Issue 11               December  2005

Signifant Strides Were Made at AAMA's National Fall Meeting
by Sarah Batcheler

The national fall meeting of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) was held in Tucson, Ariz., November 23-26 and proved to be another successful growth meeting for the association. It came at a time of significant changes for AAMA and the industry. The discussions of a consolidation with the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) reached a climax as AAMA members openly voiced concerns that ultimately led AAMA to cease ongoing negotiations for the merger. There was also significant progress made at the AAMA/Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) joint technical meeting. And in the midst of all the learning, there was a little fun and relaxing as well.

Voicing Disagreement with WDMA Consolidation
The meeting room was full as attendees participated in an update on the consolidation efforts between AAMA and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). AAMA president John Brunett of Simonton reviewed the results of the survey and said that 64 percent of members who responded to the recent AAMA survey said they want to continue negotiations to merge. 

Concerns brought to the table included the existence of a single-certification program, the job description of the chief executive, a draft of the bylaws and cultural issues.

“Negotiations have been tough and very frustrating. We’ve got a lot to consider and a lot to think about, and we’re not trying to ram this thing down your throats,” said AAMA’s immediate past president Chris Fuldner, of EFCO Corp. Fuldner is also a member of the AAMA consolidation team. “I don’t want to make this sound rosy. There are some tough times ahead.” 

WDMA acting president Jeff Lowinski concluded with a positive statement from his association. “The consolidation team remains committed to the consolidation effort. Yes, there are concerns. We want to build the new organization to do the best we can do. We’re committed to the next meeting.”

But it was not to be. The following week, the AAMA board of directors voted to suspend consolidation negotiations with the WDMA. The AAMA board also approved sending a letter addressed to the WDMA board outlining the reasons for the suspension of negotiations.

AAMA representatives say that some concerns raised at the meeting re-opened compromises on several issues that had been reached earlier in the summer.

“AAMA members expect the consolidation proposal to be presented at the spring meeting in late February. The negotiation process is well into its second year, and it will not be possible to present a proposal in the spring if these negotiation setbacks continue,” says Brunett.

The WDMA has responded by asking AAMA to reconsider its withdrawal (see page 12 for related article).

“As an organization, WDMA is very disappointed to learn that AAMA wishes to discontinue current industry trade association consolidation talks, despite the progress made thus far,” said Chris Simpson, WDMA chairperson, in an association press release. “WDMA’s board and the consolidation team still strongly advocate the benefits of a consolidated, unified industry association for the window, door, skylight, curtainwall and storefront manufacturers.

We believe that it is in the best interests of the majority of the members of both associations to continue our negotiations and therefore, WDMA has asked AAMA’s board to reconsider its position to continue potential consolidation negotiations.”

AAMA had not changed its position on the issue as this issue of DWM went to press.

AAMA/IGMA Joint Technical Meeting
Members of the IGMA and AAMA gathered together at the IGMA Technical Services Committee meeting on Tuesday morning.

“Joint meetings and forums allow for increased industry participation, education and feedback on those issues of paramount importance to the insulating glass industry. IGMA has participated at AAMA meetings however that has been more in a reporting format,” said Margaret Webb, IGMA executive director. “This meeting will provide for direct input and feedback between the members of both organizations, reduce the duplication of industry resources and strengthen the focus on those areas of mutual interest.”

Chairperson Bruce Virnelson of PRC DeSoto led the group as it reviewed baseline data for the research regarding gas permeability of sheet material. AAMA is a major supporter and sponsor of the IGMA research project on the performance sustainability of insulating glass units. The end objective of this project is to develop a new test method to predict gas loss and to have the test procedure published for testing labs, ultimately as an ASTM standard. 

This is the first phase of the multiple phases in the process. The results from this first phase have been accepted by the Technical Services Committee which then agreed to proceed to the next phase of the project. The working group responsible for the project management of the research project will be developing the request for proposal for Phase II.

Webb presented the test methodology developed by the GasGlass Best Practices Working Group noting that the working group was recommending acceptance of the device for the determination of initial gas fill for certification.

The motion to accept the GasGlass device for certification was approved by the committee.

Webb presented the gas fill data that has been compiled by IGMA since 1997. The committee discussed the merits of introducing a final fill requirement after cycling and there was debate about whether this should be a fixed value or a percentage decrease from the initial gas fill concentration.

There was discussion regarding the possible misinterpretation of how end-users would perceive the final fill requirement in certification. According to Webb, the committee agreed to the concept of a fill requirement but not a particular value. 

Most of the concerns raised related to possible misunderstanding by end-users of the difference between certification testing (which is conducted in strict laboratory conditions) and field performance of units as detailed by manufacturers. It was agreed that prior to establishing final gas fill requirements, end-users must be educated fully on the parameters of what this testing is to ensure there is no mis-interpretation of the results.

Webb noted that this issue was under discussion at the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) and would be further explored at its next meeting, March 13-14, 2006 in San Antonio.

The group also talked about filling units with other inert gases and discussed gas blends. Members agreed to certify gases other than argon but only those gases that are being used to enhance thermal performance such as krypton and xenon.

Manufacturers using thermal performance enhancing gas blends such as krypton and argon will be required to certify each gas separately. IGMA’s certification program calls for an initial gas fill of 90 percent for test samples. Webb reiterated for the group that this initial gas fill concentration level applies to test specimens only. The certification program tests the manufacturers’ ability to fill to a known concentration level same as for the cycling which tests a manufacturers’ ability to make a “good seal.” The actual fills are determined by the manufacturer to get a set thermal performance value that may be to any value such as 70-, 60- or 50-percent.

IGMA technical consultant Bill Lingnell of Lingnell Consulting Services provided an update on other standard development activities:
• Harmonization of ASTM E 2188, E 2189, E 2190 with the EN 1279 under the Standard for International Organization of Standardization (ISO). The three-year project is a third of the way through and work is proceeding forward. When completed, it will recognize the ASTM standards as an equivalent approach to the EN 1279.
• ASTM E 2188: a round-robin test is under development.
• ASTM E 2189: the first phase of round-robin testing is complete. Results are being tabulated and will be reviewed by the ASTM working group.
• ASTM E 2190: is in the process of adding appendix and including a report that was balloted. Slight revisions to the standard were made.
• All six parts of EN 1279 are now published. 
• New standard ASTM E 2269-05 Standard Test Method for determining Argon Concentration in sealed insulating glass units using gas chromatography has been published. A meeting on Nov. 10 reviewed data and procedure.
• ASTM 1300: discussions of Miami-Dade County has proposed a method to address compliance to ASTM E 1300-02 for flexible supports.
• The thermal stress standard, a standard practice for determining the resistance of single-glazed annealed architectural flat stress to thermal loadings, was reviewed. The ballot results were discussed along with editorial comments. It is ready to go to ASTM.
• IGMA field correlation study, which was started in 1990, says CBA units are still performing well. The final results from both the 25 and the 15-year field correlation studies will be reported at the IGMA annual conference scheduled for February 22-26 in La Quinta, Calif.

Social Time
In the serene ambiance of the J.W. Marriott Star Pass in the warmth of the Arizona mountains, members were able to relax and take part in some of the social activities arranged for extra-curricular time. Those who arrived early on Sunday had the option of horseback riding, visiting the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, or playing a round of golf at the resort. A welcome reception Sunday evening was well-attended and provided an excellent time for members to gather and talk with friends. 

AAMA will host its 69th annual meeting February 26-March 1, 2006 at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort in Indian Wells, Calif. 

Sarah Batcheler is an assistant editor for DWM.

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