Volume 47, Issue 6 - July/August 2008

In the News

Groups Discuss S141 Before ICC Final Action Hearings

The public comment period for the International Code Council® (ICC) Final Action Hearings concluded on June 9, and many industry associations and their members sent in comments on the S141 code change proposal. Now that the public comment period has come to an end, what is the plan of action for the industry associations involved? The Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD), the American Pre-Hung Door Association (APHDA) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) all gave their feedback on S141 after the conclusion of the public comment period, but as of press time, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers Association have not responded.

AMD will wait for the ICC to announce if any S141 comments have been filed that are not in favor of the AMD’s position, which is to disapprove the code change proposal, according to Rosalie Leone, chief executive officer of AMD.

“In the event a public comment period is filed requesting reversal of the February unanimous decision for disapproval by the ICC residential and building (commercial) building code committees, AMD will prepare testimony to present before the ICC voting member body,” Leone says.

Jeff Burton, director of codes and standards for AMD, concurs. “If there are no opposition comments, AMD will assemble a retraction for all public comments filed in favor of AMD’s position and have them removed from the ICC’s record,” Burton says. “This action would move the S141 to the ICC Final Action Hearing consent agency and would remove it from debate on the floor and virtually guarantee its disapproval.”

Georgia Smith, executive director of the APHDA, says that her organization stands firm that the exemption of side-hinged exterior doors from the code should be upheld. “We find no value added for the dollars spent on the new procedures being put forth.”

Rich Walker, president and chief executive officer of AAMA, says that AAMA members, especially those active in AAMA’s Door Council, are already involved in developing the door component certification program. “AAMA has no plans to pursue a code change proposal related to S141-08,” Walker adds. “Instead, our efforts are best directed at developing a completed certification program to the industry.”

AMD also looks for a long-term component interchangeability standard, according to Leone. “AMD is co-funding door component interchangeability testing with AAMA. We are also in attendance at both AAMA and WDMA technical and code-related meetings, and we are researching and developing our own solutions,” Leone says. “AMD has committed itself to resolve any scientifically-proven significant deficiencies with exterior side-hinged doors, but will not allow unnecessary regulatory processes to be imposed on the pre-hanger industry.”

Burton says that he doesn’t see a consensus on the S141 code change proposal because “it simply asks to un-strike the words ‘and side-hinged doors’ from the International Residential Code and the International Building Code.”

“The true consensus solution lies within the reference to the standard that S141 asks that side-hinged doors be tested, certified and labeled to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/ I.S.A440-08 or a yet-to-be-written standard specifically for exterior side-hinged doors,” he says.

Burton says the reason a consensus to this standard cannot be afforded prior to the ICC Final Action Hearings in September “is that this standard is updated every three years and has recently gone through that process.”

“The earliest any solution to the existing standard would be included in the ICC national model building codes would practically be for the 2012 editions,” Burton explains. “Any changes to the AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.A440-08 will require a vote of approval from the Joint Document Management Committee (JDMC) which is made up of four votes from AAMA, WDMA and the Canadian Standards Association. In order for AMD to protect its members’ interests, it will work for an AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.A440-08 solution with the other associations, but since it has no voting authority on the JDMC, it will develop an alternative solution.”

Industry associations are encouraging members and interested parties to attend the Final Action Hearings, September 14-23, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

Smith says that the APHDA is strongly suggesting attendance at the conference.

Leone says, “AMD encourages its members to advocate any significant public forum for the position of the association and the total membership.”

Burton says that the hearings are open to the public, “and any interested party can provide testimony on any given code-related issue.” He says that according to the ICC code development guidelines, industry consensus is a significant factor in the contemplation of code committees and the voting body, so any industry representation would be of interest at the hearings.

Look to Shelter for more on the S141 code change proposal in future publications and e-newsletters. To sign up for Shelter’s e-newsletter, visit www.sheltermagazine.com

Home Improvement Rivals Report First-Quarter Earnings
The Home Depot® and Lowe’s Companies Inc. have both reported declines in their first-quarter consolidated net earnings.

The Home Depot reported fiscal 2008 first quarter consolidated net earnings of $356 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, compared with $1.0 billion, or $0.53 per diluted share, in the same period in fiscal 2007. These results reflect a nonrecurring charge of $543 million due to the recently announced closing of 15 stores and removal of 50 stores from the future growth pipeline. Excluding this nonrecurring charge, the company reported consolidated net earnings of $697 million, or $0.41 per diluted share.

Sales for the first quarter totaled $17.9 billion, a 3.4-percent decrease from the first quarter of fiscal 2007, reflecting negative comparable store sales of 6.5 percent, offset in part by sales from new stores. Due to the 14th week in the fourth quarter of 2007, the first quarter benefited from a seasonal timing change that added approximately $536 million to sales.

“The housing and home improvement markets remained difficult in the first quarter; in fact, conditions worsened in many areas of the country,” says Frank Blake, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) for Home Depot. “In addition, our decision to close stores and remove planned stores from our pipeline demonstrates our commitment to disciplined capital allocation. This discipline and reinvestment in our existing stores will benefit our shareholders, associates and customers,” says Blake.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. reported net earnings of $607 million for the quarter ended May 2, 2008, a 17.9 percent decline versus the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share declined 14.6 percent to $0.41 from $0.48 in the first quarter of 2007.Sales for the quarter declined 1.3 percent to $12.0 billion, down from $12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2007. Comparable store sales for the first quarter declined 8.4 percent.

“The challenging sales environment we have been experiencing for the past six quarters continued into the first quarter of 2008, and increasing financial pressures on consumers resulted in top-line sales that fell below our plan,” says Robert A. Niblock, Lowe’s chairman and CEO. “The generally poor economic outlook, including well-known housing pressures, rising food and fuel prices and a more negative employment picture eroded consumer confidence and impacted discretionary purchases for the home.

“Fiscal 2008 will be a challenging year on many fronts, but we remain focused on what we can control and will continue managing for long-term success and pursuing opportunities as they arise in the current environment,” he says. www.homedepot.com 

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