Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

January/February 2005                                Volume 44,  Issue 1

Standard Update
         The Latest in Industry Codes and Standards

Working Together
AAMA & AMD Join Forces on New Code Requirements

by Tracy Rogers

With the advent of the 2000 International Residential and International Building Codes (IRC & IBC, respectively) comes new requirements for evaluating the performance of swinging exterior door systems. Collectively known as exterior side-hinged door systems, they must be tested for structural and hurricane impact resistance (where applicable) in order to be compliant with these new code requirements. Future revisions of these building codes will likely expand the performance parameters required of these products. The Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) are working together to assist the manufacturers of these door systems with meeting these requirements.

Under various performance specifications, window and skylight products have long been tested for air leakage, water penetration and structural performance. The 2000 “I-Codes” created a mandatory requirement for the testing and rating of these products in the states that have adopted them. Up to this point, entry doors and the like have, effectively, been excluded from any performance requirements. Under the 2000 and 2003 IRC and IBC, exterior side-hinged door systems must be tested for structural performance under ASTM E330 for compliance to the applicable wind loading requirements of the region into which they are installed. Additionally, for regions that require hurricane resistance, door systems must be tested for impact and cycling performance under ASTM E1886/E1996.

In order to be code compliant within these regions, the manufacturer of the door system must demonstrate that the product meets the applicable performance requirements of the project. This can be accomplished by supplying test reports from an independent test laboratory or by having the product certified and labeled by an independent third party.

An important point to note as it relates to code compliance concerning these products is the recognition of the door “manufacturer.” As opposed to the traditional understanding of the door industry, the entity that assembles the complete door system incurs the responsibility for demonstrating the performance of the door system as a door manufacturer. In most cases, this is the door prehanger. A prehanger chooses the components that go into a given door system and puts them together into an assembly. Therefore, the prehanger is recognized as the manufacturer of the door system. Accordingly, the prehanger holds the responsibility for demonstrating compliance of the door system with the applicable code.

Through AAMA’s Door Council, a means for certifying exterior side-hinged door systems to the requirements of the 2000 and 2003 I-Codes was implemented in early 2004. The general premise behind this certification program is that, once tested, a given set of components assembled as a door system can be rated and certified for performance. This program is intended to provide the prehanger/manufacturer a means to label a given door system to demonstrate compliance with the structural and hurricane resistance requirements of the current codes. 

Although far beyond the scope of any program that has existed within the door industry before, it is not perfect and does not meet the daily needs of many prehanger/manufacturers. It is limited within its capability to interchange critical components such as doorlites, thresholds, astragals, etc., without further testing and/or engineering evaluation. As these are structural components of the system, they may impact the performance of the assembled door system and must, therefore, be re-evaluated when changed. 

This, obviously, does not allow most prehangers to respond to their customers quickly and it likely adds additional cost. This program does, however, provide the prehanger/
manufacturer a tool for labeling the door system to demonstrate product performance without having to provide test reports and other documentation to each jobsite and/or code official.

The members of AMD and AAMA have been working together to provide additional tools and resources to the prehanger/manufacturer market for demonstrating product performance without impeding the flexibility and responsiveness of daily business. Most recently, AAMA has begun the expansion of this certification program to enable the prehanger/manufacturer a means of easily interchanging components within a given tested and rated system while retaining the ability to be rated and certified. Additionally, AAMA has created a new Subcommittee specifically focused on improving communication with AMD and its members.

This Public Relations Subcommittee of the Door Council is developing tools to better represent the needs of the prehanger/manufacturer and to act as a conduit within the building-code arena. 

The exterior side-hinged door industry should also be aware of the proposed new requirements of the 2006 I-Codes. Updated specifications that are being proposed for inclusion in this latest code update include performance requirements for exterior side-hinged door systems to be tested and rated for air leakage, water penetration, structural performance and forced-entry resistance. 

While the intent is to ‘level-the-playing-field’ for all products within a building envelope, these additional requirements expand the performance parameters by which entry door systems and the like will be evaluated. AAMA and AMD are working closely together to create a program that will enable prehanger/manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with these new requirements without disrupting the activities of day-to-day business. I encourage all interested parties to participate in the development of these programs and to support AMD and AAMA in these efforts. 

Tracy Rogers is a regional sales/technical representative for Edgetech IG Inc., of Medford, Wis., chairperson of several Door Council Committees and a member of the AAMA/WDMA Joint Exterior Door Task Group. 


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