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Volume 7   Issue 6               June 2006

WDMA Opens Up

Bird Flu and the Window Industry:
Preparedness is Critical
by Jeffrey Lowinski

It may seem like a far stretch of the imagination to relate the bird flu pandemic to the window industry, but it’s really not. 

While recent reports of an avian flu pandemic, spread by viruses which normally infect birds, may be somewhat overstated depending on the source, there’s a lesson to be learned: be prepared.

In the door, window and skylight industry, our current and future success is based on preparedness. The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) sets standards and performance attributes for products and in the process sets the stage for the future.

The United States is investigating a possible vaccination for the bird flu virus–its way of preparing. WDMA prepares in much the same way. 

Preparing for Code Changes
WDMA’s acceptance by and inclusion in activities of the International Codes Council (ICC) are at an all-time high. Most recently, WDMA submitted proposals for the next code cycle, to be published in 2009. Proposed changes from WDMA focus on clarifying proper product installation techniques, energy codes and door threshold construction requirements.

WDMA standards continue to be recognized and referenced by the ICC, International Building Code and the International Residential Code. The Hallmark Certification Program, which continues to gain speed and add new product categories, attests to products’ compliance to the I-Code requirement for AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-05. 

WDMA is also a supporting member of the Board of Governors for the International Code Council Foundation (ICCF), a subsidiary of the ICC. ICCF has initiated two new foundation programs: the Silent Defender Awards and Project H.E.R.O. (Homes Eliminated of Restrictions and Obstacles). Silent Defender honorees are recognized for their significant contributions to improve public safety, health and welfare. Project H.E.R.O. assists disabled American veterans with specific housing needs.

Being prepared means keeping on top of issues that affect our membership. For example, WDMA is monitoring an issue in California regarding products containing formaldehyde (see related story on page 18). “Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products” is legislation that would limit formaldehyde emissions from hardwood, plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard. The draft regulation covers emission testing, third-party certification, product labeling and records maintenance and could have an impact on the industry. Another issue being watched by the WDMA Codes Committee is an Environmental Protection Agency proposed lead rule that would require special handling and waste disposal for older buildings suspected of using lead paints. This rule could have an extensive impact on remodeling and replacement work, including window installations.

Across our northern border, the Canadian Standards Association published its supplement for side-hinged exterior door systems recently, part of the Standard/ Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights, 101/I.S.2/A440-05. WDMA participated in review of this supplement. 

We’re already working on the next revision of 101/I.S.2/A-440-05 and continue to refine the document to reflect the real world of building and construction more accurately. New performance ratings (a reduction in the number of categories) are being proposed to simplify the standard and make it even more useful. There are also proposed changes in minimum window test sizes as well as the inclusion in the standard of tubular daylighting devices. These changes are due out in a draft document, which will be balloted to the WMDA membership for review this summer.

Preparedness counts, whether it’s for a nasty virus like the avian bird flu or marketing in the window, door and skylight industry. Being prepared and proactive lets you set the stage for the future, rather than try to chase after it. 

Jeffrey F. Lowinski serves as acting president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill. 

© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.