Volume 46, Issue 9 - November/December 2007
In the news
by Peter McIlwee, vice president of operations at McIlwee Millwork and Association of Millwork Distributors’ Industry Standards and Certification Committee chairman. Mr. McIlwee’s comments are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.
Where Do You Stand?
Pre-Hangers Need to Speak Up about Proposed Standard
With various states (mostly in hurricane-prone coastal regions) adopting different forms of construction standards, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) teamed up to create a universal standard that would cover windows, skylights and side-hinged exterior doors. The resulting standard is known as, AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/IS2/A440.
What’s At Stake?
The section of the standard affecting AMD members covers side-hinged exterior doors. This standard requires all side-hinged doors, or combination there of, to be tested, certified and labeled as a complete unit for compliance. The standard covers performance criteria in the areas of: structural, cycle count, air and water infiltration and forced entry. No provisions are made for the substitution or interchange of rated components within a door unit, unlike other standards currently in use. All possible combinations of door units would need to be individually tested and certified to be labeled. This includes requiring the door hardware (lockset) to be installed during testing.
The Cost to Test
I’ve heard cost estimates for the testing of a single door unit ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. It’s rare that a door unit passes on the first try, and you must pass at least two out of three attempts to be certified. These costs would prevent distributors that don’t carry certified door units from a major manufacturer from selling exterior doors. The majority of door distributors assemble door units with components from various manufacturers based on the needs of their respective regions and customer base. Effectively, it would serve as a barrier to entry in the market place. Also, it provides a revenue stream to the certifying and label body and testing labs.
AAMA and WDMA presented the standard for inclusion into the 2006 I-Codes at the 2005 International Code Council (ICC) hearings. It was then that AMD opposed the standard and the section covering side-hinged doors excluded from compliance with the standard. It was at the 2005 ICC hearings that AAMA and AMD began working together to research the interchangeability of rated components within a door unit. Since then, AMD’s Industry Standards and Certification Committee (ISCC) and the Testing and Certification Task Group (TCTG) has been actively engaged with AAMA’s Door Council, and are in the third round of testing door units and rated components for substitution in an assembly.
At the most recent October AAMA fall meeting, it was revealed that WDMA will seek a removal on the current exemption of side-hinged doors from compliance with the current standard 101/IS2/A440. A motion for AAMA to support WDMA’s proposal to require that side-hinged doors comply with the 101/IS2/A440 document was voted upon and passed in the AAMA Door Council meeting.
A Devastating Effect
If adopted, the side-hinged door portion would have a devastating effect on our membership and consumers and homebuilders as well. The selection of door units available will be limited to the offerings of the major system manufacturers with deep pockets. Unique and beautiful custom entries that our industry has produced for generations will become a thing of the past. As the players in the marketplace shrink, door prices will escalate due to increased compliance costs and lack of competition. Few in our product stream will go untouched. AMD members who manufacture and sell components for our industry could see their customers and market disappear.
We at McIlwee Millwork will be like most distributors that prehang doors. We’ll be forced to align with a major door system manufacturer or drop exterior doors from our product offering. The costs of compliance are just too high for companies like us to bear.
For more than two years, AMD has taken an active role in the development of AAMA’s and WDMA’s side-hinged door certification programs (working with the appropriate AAMA and WDMA committees and task groups). This effort is a continuation of the commitment AMD made to the ICC and the door industry to be one of the players who addresses the testing and certification issue for exterior doors. As an association representing AMD member interests, we have three months to continue our efforts to work with AAMA and WDMA in proposing alternate verbiage within the AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/IS2/A440 document, which will be mutually acceptable to all parties, into the 2009 I-Codes, at the ICC hearings in February of 2008.
There is no doubt that standards and codes will continue to evolve. Insurance companies and governing bodies will continue to push for compliance as well. We can see where a universal standard would reduce confusion, but a common ground has to be achieved that will yield value for all. Everyone who will be affected by this needs to get involved. If you’re a member of AAMA, WDMA, or other industry trade groups, let your voice be heard.
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