Volume 6 Issue 4 May 2005
WDMA Opens Up
New Consensus Standard Benefits Code Community and Users
by Jeffrey F. Lowinski
Revised standards and new specifications are vital to the longevity of the window, door and skylight industry. They are, by design, painstakingly executed to reflect the real world.
Recently, a groundbreaking document was released after more than six years’ effort by three major influential door and window industry forces in the United States and Canada—WDMA, the American Architectural Manufacturers Asso-ciation (AAMA) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Now known as 101/I.S.2/A440-05, Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights was a consensus document developed and approved by the membership of these three organizations, and that in itself was no easy feat.
You may remember the specification as its original version: The North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), which was the first attempt to provide a cohesive standard for all window, door and skylight products manufactured in both the United States and Canada. Work to develop this first harmonized standard began even earlier, in 1992.
Industry Organizations Agree
The Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights was groundbreaking not only in its focus on performance but also, because it includes new categories to bring these products in line with the current market. The overriding fact is that it was agreed on by all parties as the governing standard for windows, doors and skylights, one which could be transferred easily to the design and specification tables of the manufacturing and construction communities.
Standards are not just arbitrary documents developed by a few for their own good. These specifications are developed by general membership and guide the architect, specifier, builder and end-user in determining the best product for the application. Standards are based on scientific criteria and testing, and take into account new materials and other state-of-the-art processes.
Applying the new standard is the current challenge in the code arena. Mark
Mikkelson, who co-chairs the AAMA/WDMA joint codes committee and is also a product manager for Andersen, has been on the front lines and concurred that the efforts of WDMA, AAMA and CSA are historic.
“Having a single standard manufacturers can certify their products to is crucial,” he said. “A single standard is also preferred by regulatory bodies as it simplifies the understanding and approval process for code officials. Transitioning from one standard to another is where we are at now. It’s important that manufacturers are prudent and test to the new standard and not to the older versions. This will assist in the acceptance of the new standard by the regulatory code bodies in the field.”
Side-Hinged Exterior Doors
For the first time, the new standard includes requirements for side-hinged exterior doors. These products and how they perform has become increasingly important to the building envelope. Under the new requirements, side-hinged doors are rated using the same air infiltration resistance, water penetration, uniform load and forced-entry resistance test measurements as windows, sliding doors and unit skylights.
In addition, a “limited water” (LW) rating has been developed for side-hinged doors. (Other significant changes may be found by visiting www.wdma.com.)
Standard Based on Fact
Moving to a new standard may not always be as smooth as some would like, and manufacturers may try to stay with the current standard to which they test currently. It’s crucial for this consensus document to be recognized by the code bodies and manufacturers. By following the most up-to-date guidelines, windows, doors and skylights will be assured accurate representation in the construction community.
Jeffrey F. Lowinski serves as acting president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill.
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