Volume 47, Issue 7 - September 2008

Codes and Standards

Progress Made During
Door Component Meeting

Members of the industry’s leading associations, along with component suppliers, product manufacturers and prehangers, gathered in early July in an attempt to resolve the issues surrouding compliance of exterior side-hinged entrance doors with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08 performance requirements.

The meeting of the Door Component Interchangeability Task Group was hosted by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). AAMA said the goal was to provide a forum for industry dialogue on the development of component substitution for door certification and testing.

The meeting began by reviewing component testing conducted to date by its task group. It was agreed that the base exterior side-hinged door system should be tested to the air-water-structural requirements as outlined in AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, NAFS — North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for windows, doors, and skylights. Based upon this testing, component substitution would be permitted per the specific test requirements as applicable within this document. In addition, participants of the door forum discussed a pure component-based testing and qualification method and agreed that complete component mixing deserved additional study.

Discussing a Thorny Issue
Richard Biscoe, vice president of Architectural Testing, said the original intent of the meeting was that the AAMA Door Council felt it prudent to solicit input from a broader industry base in tackling the thorny issue of component substitution in door systems.

“The door industry is familiar with this practice as it is used extensively in the fire door market. In order to accommodate the requests from the pre-hung door jobber market, it is becoming more and more clear that we need to consider this component substitution methodology,” he explained. “However, it is of paramount importance that such a program does not lessen the quality or integrity of the NAFS 101/IS2/A440 standard.”

A few issues did come to light during the meeting. “AMD is still skeptical of doing this at all as their members have not historically been part of such testing and certification processes for quality control,” he said. “However, I applaud AMD for continuing to work with AAMA in this effort and many of their members have joined AAMA to more actively engage in the process. They have also dedicated staff to assist AAMA in developing a program that can accommodate all the players and it is appreciated greatly. Other issues discussed were implementing a component substitution system that accommodated air and water as well as structural.”

Positive Outcomes
In essence, the meeting was very positive, according to Jeff Lowinski, vice president, Advocacy and Technical Services for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

“The intention [in my mind] was to get all players to talk and come up with a consistent and uniform set of guidelines [or positions] regarding this issue,” he said.

“The group discussed initial system testing that will be necessary before components can be substituted. Not every configuration will need to be tested, nor will every component substitution require a system test, but there is a need for a documented trail that supports any combination of components back to testing or reliable engineering evaluation,” he added.

Mark Fortun, manager of Testing and Certification for Endura Products and chairman of the task group, was also optimistic about the meeting’s turnout.

“I was very encouraged by the cross-sec-tion of the door industry that attended the meeting and the openness and positive contribution by all of those in attendance toward the development of a component interchangeability guideline … I’m very encouraged by the unison within the group,” Fortun said.

Steve Frey, corporate manager of Technical Services, agreed. “The atmosphere was very cooperative and the group seemed genuinely interested in developing a reasonable solution to certify exterior door systems with as little impact as possible to the current business practices of the pre-hanger,” he said.

Peter McIlwee, vice president of operations at McIlwee Millwork and Association of Millwork Distributors’ (AMD) Industry Standards and Certification Committee chairman, concurred that it was interesting to hear the different viewpoints and “how they (attendees at the meeting) supported their individual positions in the marketplace.”

“It appeared that prior to this, they hadn’t heard from an AMD pre-hanger member, so it was very interesting to see their reaction to my viewpoint,” he said.

Making Progress
Fortun felt progress was made during the meeting.

“Prior to the meeting some of the initial documents that will likely be incorporated into the guideline were drafted by JELD-WEN and Endura. These facilitated input and suggestions by the wider group and helped generate early momentum in the meeting,” Fortun explained.

Biscoe said everyone came to the meeting with an honest desire to see the issue through and work towards a suitable compromise for all parties.

“I am very hopeful, of course. I am an optimistic guy, in general, but seriously, many participants of the meeting volunteered for ‘homework assignments’ to help really make the next meeting a success,” Biscoe said. “Being tied to the end of the AAMA meeting will help encourage participation from the folks who regularly attend those and the other participants seemed genuine in their desire to travel to the September 25 meeting.”

Working Toward a Compromise
McIlwee said that at the beginning of the meeting it seemed as if the majority of participants viewed a possible standard as being necessary for all door units to be tested as a system “with little ability to include substitutions of components unless there was a reduction in the unit’s rating.”

“As the discussions continued, some participants realized the possibility and benefits of a component-based rating system, while others continued to support the complete systems-based approach,” McIlwee explained.

He believes there was a realization that the industry needs to work towards a rating system that works for everyone. “I hope other pre-hangers will take the time to get involved,” he said.

Another door forum is expected to take place on September 25 following the AAMA National Fall Conference in San Antonio, and Lowinski said that although progress has been made, there are a great deal of issues that need to be discussed.

Lowinski said that the work this group does will aid in preparation for the 2012 code cycle. “The goal is to have ‘guideline’ work completed for reference by industry certification programs in time for the 2012 ICC code cycle,” he said.

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