Volume 9, Issue 5 - May 2008

AAMA Analysis 

A Closer Look
How Two Particular Code Changes Will Impact The Industry
by Chuck Anderson

Results of the International Code Council recent hearings have been well reported (see DWM March issue, page 44). There are two issues that deserve further observation, however.

2008 Window, Door and Skylight Standard Reference Sets an Industry Milestone
AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/A440-08 was accepted for referencing in the 2009 version of the International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), replacing the 2005 version.

Significant changes from the previous edition of this document have been made, including a reduction in the number of door and window performance classes from five to four by elimination of Classes C and HC and the addition of a new class identified as CW. In addition, the structural pressure caps have been revised for the R and LC classes.

This edition also introduces an option whereby a product is permitted to enter Performance Class R by testing a specimen of an alternative minimum test size smaller than the gateway test size specified in Table 27, provided that the minimum performance grade (PG) is increased correspondingly.

Cooperative Effort Leaves Door Open for SHD Component SubstitutionA proposal (S141) that would have repealed the current exemption of exterior side-hinged doors (SHD) from the full-bore requirements of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/A440 was defeated.

The issue revolved around the common practice by which door distributors, jobbers and pre-hangers substitute door components in the field to meet customer requests. Under AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/A440, such substitutions would technically require the re-testing of the complete door assembly to verify all performance factors cited. Eliminating the SHD exemption would have, therefore, exposed pre-hangers to the cost of full re-testing after every component substitution–a cost that their customers likely would be unwilling to absorb. Accordingly, AAMA offered a modification to the S141 proposal, recommending expanding the scope of the current reference to our joint standard until completion of ongoing joint efforts to devise component-level testing and certification. The envisioned program will allow for in-the-field component interchangeability through testing and pre-certifying components at the component manufacturer level. Any selection from a menu of pre-qualified components would preserve the qualification of the completed door unit without requiring full-scale testing of each variation of the latter. This is not a new concept. The current AAMA Certification Program includes a “waiver of retest” provision by which substitutions of components tested to meet the underlying component standards are permitted on a case-by-case basis without requiring retest of the entire finished door or window.

Completion of this component-level certification program would offer SHD manufacturers an option to certify and label their products to differentiate them from their competitors. In addition, the program would offer a third-party quality assurance and facilitate the job of code officials to confirm compliance with the code—none of which are currently available to SHD manufacturers.

Using established ASTM test protocols, results of the joint testing program indicate that a component-based system is both workable and meaningful. Industry cooperation again points to ways to meet practical performance goals without limiting choice or compromising the mechanisms of the marketplace.

None of these decisions are final, as they may be challenged at the Final Action Hearings in September. That process begins by submitting public comments by June 9. The AAMA Codes Working Group and allied task groups will be making efforts to amend proposals to address ICC concerns and serve the welfare of the industry’s members and the public. 

Chuck Anderson serves as codes and industry affairs manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association in Schaumburg, Ill. He may be reached at canderson@aamanet.org. Mr. Anderson’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.

DWM

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