Volume 47, Issue 9 - November/December 2008
Together Many Voices Bring Change
Immediate Past President Reflects on S141
by Larry E. Ray
In October of this year, I concluded my term as president of the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD). In my closing remarks, I related my experience of traveling with other industry professionals to Palm Springs, Calif., in February and then to Minneapolis, Minn., in September to voice our strong opposition at the International Code Council Hearings to a proposed code amendment, labeled S141. We rarely refer to pre-hung exterior doors as “side-hinged doors.” However, had S141 not been soundly defeated, the impact of extensive testing would have placed a severe financial burden on all door shops across America who pre-hang exterior door products. We learned many lessons from our testimony at the hearings, not the least of which is an informed, legitimate and wise voice of protest carries much weight to those in decision-making roles.
I posed this question to the AMD attendees at our recent convention (see article on page 16): What does this mean to me?
Quite simply, the voice of protest has become a voice of advice and counsel. Now, others are seeking our viewpoints and input on door-related codes and standards. We will become participating authors, rather than reactors, in the standard writing process. Our work has just begun because a standard referenced by the building codes is needed and will be enacted at some time in the future. We must be involved in the process to insure that these basics are
1. A standard of quality for those who specify the product such as architects and design firms. The standard should include quality assurance and levels of compliance for the demands of regional climates and for the demands of the structure for which the door product is designed. Obviously, the code requirements cannot be the same for hurricane-prone coastal states as for upper mid-western states where air infiltration and cold are of more concern;
2. The standard should provide quality assurance to the owner of the structure. Everyone deserves to know the warranty and the level of performance expected of the door product; and
3. The standard should address the limits set by door component manufacturers and pre-hangers as to the specie and configuration of the door unit for a given location in the wall structure. For example: What is the required building structure roof overhang and sunlight exposure limits for certain wood door products? Should the door swing in or out for maximum wind and water protection?
Fair is Fair
If we sell pre-hung exterior doors, we are partners in this new venture to establish fair and equitable codes. We can be very effective if we voice our opinions and needs to distributors and manufacturers of door components, and to our local officials who have a future vote on proposed door codes. I advocate simple testing procedures and interchangeability of components to accomplish the core mission of a new door code. The process of achieving this certification must not be cost prohibitive to the pre-hanger nor the installer. Otherwise, we will be forced to pass on unnecessary price increases to the consumer.
The Association of Millwork Distributors will continue to offer the necessary education and provide resources to its members to keep them updated and knowledgeable on related industry standards and codes. AMD is building a codes and policy advocacy group (CPAG) to better communicate the membership’s positions on such issues that our industry will continue to face in the future. If you would like to become active in such an important endeavor, just go to the website at www.amdweb.com to learn more. We need your voice.
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