Volume 12, Issue 4 - May 2011



Three Companies Fined by EPA for Failure to Distribute Lead Safety Pamphlets

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has levied major fines on three window companies for alleged lead notification violations.

Permanent Siding and Windows in Milford, Ct., was fined $30,702 based on allegations that it failed to provide lead hazard information to homeowners or occupants before doing renovations that may have disturbed surfaces coated with lead-based paint.

EPA’s New England office says that Permanent Siding and Windows failed to provide EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet to at least 17 owners or occupants before the company began renovation activities. The violations in this case allegedly took place during renovation work done between January 2006 and March 2009. Permanent Siding has certified that it is now in compliance with EPA’s Pre-Renovation rule and will submit a report to EPA later this year to demonstrate its continued compliance with this Rule.

Similarly, Window World of St. Louis Inc. recently was fined $19,529 for charges that it failed to notify owners and occupants of at least 20 St. Louis area residential properties built before 1978 of lead-based paint risks prior to performing renovation work at those locations.

According to the EPA, the window replacement company was legally required to provide owners and residents of the properties with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet before starting renovations at the properties as part of the requirements of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act passed in 1992.

As part of its settlement with EPA, and in addition to paying the civil penalty, Window World of St. Louis has agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project. The company will spend an estimated $20,048 to replace a total of 73 windows contaminated with lead paint at three group home facilities operated by the non-profit social services organization Youth in Need.

Jim Lomax, co-owner of Window World of St. Louis, told DWM magazine that the company “takes the issue of lead safety very seriously, and that all of its installers are EPA lead-safe certified.”

The company also clarified that “the recent fine is based on a random audit of work conducted before March 2010. The fine is specifically in regard to the distribution of lead safety pamphlets as required by the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act from 1992, not the recent Renovation, Repair and Painting rule.”

“The EPA’s recent fine against Window World of St. Louis is the result of our error in the distribution of lead safety pamphlets, not from unsafe renovation practices,” says Lomax. “We’re happy to report that we’ve resolved the issue with the EPA, and we are now back to full compliance with the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act and the recent Renovation, Repair and Painting rule.

Just a few weeks after Window World of St. Louis was fined, EPA’s Region 7 announced that Window World of Omaha, Neb., has agreed to pay a $3,976 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations that it failed to notify owners and occupants of at least eight Omaha residential properties built before 1978 of lead-based paint risks prior to performing renovation work at those locations.


Quanex Acquires Washington Vinyl Extrusion Plant from JELD-WEN
Quanex Building Products Corp. and JELD-WEN have entered into an agreement for the sale of JELD-WEN’s equipment and certain other assets of its vinyl extrusion plant in Yakima, Wash. The plant now is a part of Quanex’s Mikron operation.

JELD-WEN had opened the plant in 2007 and had been making some of the extruded vinyl profiles used at its window plants across the United States there. Mikron, part of Quanex’s Engineered Products Group, has been JELD-WEN’s long-time extrusion supplier, and had provided “technical expertise to help make the operation the success it is today.”

Royal Window and Door Profiles Expands Distribution Presence into the United States Royal Window and Door Profiles, a division of Royal Group Inc., has opened its first company-owned distribution center in the United States. The new Southern Patio Door Distribution Center—which is co-located with a Royal Mouldings manufacturing facility in Bristol, Tenn.—already has begun to fill customer orders for finished, fully-assembled patio doors.
The Southern Patio Door Distribution Center will supply Royal patio doors and will stock Royal’s Opera™ and Jazz™ wide, slim and Impact patio doors, in fully glazed and unglazed versions.


Glasslam Files Complaint Against Edgetech in Federal Florida Court
Glasslam USA (also known as Nebula Glass International Inc.) has filed a suit against Edgetech I.G. alleging that the company has engaged in defamation, deceptive and unfair trade practices, and breach of contract, among other allegations. The 22-page complaint was filed in late March in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The case relates to Glasslam’s entry into the warm-edge foam spacer market in 2007 with its EPD Air-Tight™ spacer, and Edgetech’s own warm edge foam Super Spacer® product.

Glasslam catalogs several claims, including allegations that Edgetech “began its anti-competitive conduct before Glasslam could produce its first foot of product.” The company alleges that Edgetech pressured suppliers that manufacture raw materials used in foam spacers not to sell to Glasslam, with the threats of litigation. Among the suppliers named are Gold Key Processing Ltd. in Middlefield, Ohio, which provides EPDM rubber; two adhesive suppliers, CCT Tapes in Philadelphia and MACtac North America of Stow, Ohio; and two silicone suppliers, Dow Corning of Midland, Mich., and Wacker Chemie AG of Lehigh, Pa.

“In addition to exerting pressure on suppliers of raw materials, Edgetech pressured equipment manufacturers not to do business with Glasslam,” continues the company, which alleges that Lisec America Inc. “would not discuss equipment opportunities with Glasslam despite the downturn in commercial construction.”

Glasslam also claims that “Edgetech conspires with trade associations and certification councils to keep Glasslam’s EPDM warm edge foam spacer from the market.” The company names the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada (IGMAC) specifically, and alleges that “Edgetech personnel control the certification process and committees and [have] utilize[d] anti-competitive tactics with [IGMA’s Insulating Glass Certification Committee] IGCC to keep Glasslam’s spacer from getting to the market.”

Glasslam claims that in May 2008 the “Edgetech-led IGCC concluded that one manufacturer’s spacer system cannot be considered the equivalent of another manufacturer’s spacer system under any circumstance.”

“The effect of this ruling required any window manufacturer who wanted to purchase Glasslam’s product instead of Edgetech’s to obtain a new certification which included a lengthy and expensive testing process,” writes Glasslam. “Through this one move, made possible by its control of IGCC, Edgetech set Glasslam’s entry in the market back by over a year.”

Glasslam further alleges that “Edgetech blackmails customers to prevent Glasslam competition with the foam spacer.” Among the charges in this section of the complaint, Glasslam claims that when it began selling its black Air-Tight foam spacer at a lower price than Edgetech’s price for a similar black product, it found that some customers who might have purchased the black spacer product from Edgetech began purchasing it from Glasslam.

“When Edgetech learned that some of its customers had bought or intended to buy Glasslam’s black foam spacer instead of Edgetech’s, Edgetech threatened to cut off the customer’s supply of Edgetech’s spacers in other colors, as well as related tools and accessories,” writes Glasslam.

Among charges of defamation, the complaint claims that “Edgetech told Glasslam’s prospective customers that Glasslam was using Edgetech’s standard Super Spacer in its testing in order to pass certification because Glasslam’s Air Tight spacer was not capable of passing.”

The complaint continues, “As a direct and proximate result of Edgetech’s false, defamatory statements of fact, Glasslam lost business and sustained damage to its business reputation.”

Edgetech officials declined to comment on the case.


WDMA and NLBMDA Members Lobby Congress

When members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), met in March during their associations’ joint legislative conference, they had the opportunity to travel to Capitol Hill to talk to Congressional members and their staffs regarding important issues affecting the industry.
Addressing WDMA members before their visits with legislators, WDMA president Mike O’Brien highlighted what he thought the goals of the meetings should be:

1. Restore and expand a residential door and window tax credit. O’Brien encouraged individuals to ask congressional members and their staffs how they feel about a tax credit and how to make it more robust when the issue comes up again toward the end of the year.

2. Lead Rule—Don’t make a bad rule worse. Much of the discussion centered around the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead rule and Jeff Inks, vice president, codes and regulatory affairs, told WDMA members the key points to discuss during their meetings.

“Our fundamental message is that we don’t want to make a bad rule worse,” said Inks.

The EPA currently is looking at expanding the residential rule into the commercial arena.
It is also looking at requiring clearance testing, and that final rule is expected in the summer. Inks summed up the message he thought that members should take to the Hill.

“Ask the House and Senate members to petition EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to not approve the proposed lead rule for clearance testing and not to expand the lead rule into the commercial market,” said Inks.

3. Ask Congress to repeal the 1099 provision (see box).

View from the Meeting Rooms
Roger LeBrun, representing VELUX, had various meetings with Congressional staffers and said, “Overall they were sympathetic to our issues and realize the need to create jobs.”

Regarding the tax credits, he added that the “conservative” staffers he met with were not really enthusiastic.

However, the topic of the EPA was a positive one, LeBrun said.

“We had a real good reaction from those we met with on this issue,” said LeBrun. “Administrator Jackson will get inundated with letters at least from conservative side.”

Members of the NLBMDA also met with legislators, and the EPA lead rule is a hot-button topic for them as well.

A large part of the discussions also focused on a requirement in the healthcare bill that would stipulate that companies who purchase more than $600 in services from any vendor (for example, FedEx, United Airlines, etc.) would have to file a 1099 form.

This part of the bill was repealed in early April (see box).

Industry Applauds Congressional Passage of 1099 Repeal

The Senate approved legislation supported by many in the industry to repeal a tax paperwork requirement that could have cost small businesses thousands of dollars each year in early April. The bill repeals expanded 1099 requirements in the healthcare law, and at press time was awaiting President Obama’s approval.

If passed, the 1099 rule would have stipulated that companies who purchase more than $600 in services from any vendor would have to file a 1099 form.

“WDMA welcomes [the] Senate vote to repeal the form 1099 reporting requirement that would have buried small manufacturers in paperwork,” says Colleen Levine, WDMA director, legislative affairs. “The strong bipartisan vote demonstrates the support garnered by WDMA members through their visits at last month’s legislative conference and through calls and e-mails to legislators over the past year. [The] vote to send the Small Business Paperwork Reduction Act (H.R. 4) to the President for his signature underscores the impact manufacturers can have in rolling back over-reaching and cumbersome regulations that impact window, door and skylight manufacturers and our customers.”

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) also lobbied for repeal of the rule.

“In testimony before Congress and in ‘key vote’ letters to House and Senate leaders, we have spelled out how failing to overturn these rules would kill jobs and place a major paperwork and cost burden on home builders,” says NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev.

The Senate passed the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011 (H.R. 4) with a vote of 87 to 12. It had previously been approved by the House. President Obama signed the legislation into law on April 14.



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