AMD Side-Hinged Door Standard Approved at Code Hearings

November 9, 2009

The Association of Millwork Distributors' side-hinged exterior door (SHED) standard received approval at the first round of International Code Council hearings which ended last week in Baltimore.  The AMD document is under development as an alternative for structural testing of swinging doors, allowing testing and rating of individual components to provide an overall design pressure rating for the door system.

The SHED standard was opposed by both the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. The current International Residential Code requires windows, sliding doors and unit skylights to be tested and labeled in accordance with their AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 standard. Swinging doors can be tested and labeled in accordance with that standard or tested in accordance with ASTM E330 Standard Test Method for Structural Performance of Exterior Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference. 

Speaking on behalf of the new standard and its use in the next edition of ICC codes at the code development hearings were Jeff Burton, AMD director of codes and standards, and Richard Sorrell, VP of production of Barnett Millwork, an AMD member company.  AMD reports its standard also received support from the National Association of Home Builders.

The SHED standard, officially titled Testing and Rating of Static Pressure on Side Hinged Exterior Door Systems and their Components, was developed by AMD after failed efforts to work with AAMA and WDMA to bring component interchange for swinging doors into the 101/I.S.2/A440 rating system. Based on ASTM E330, the AMD document is designed to enable testing and rating of individual components using the E330 protocols and failure analysis. "Simply, it takes E330 to the component level and is common sense as standards go," reports Burton. "After years of AMD attempting to work together with other associations to 'join' in on existing standards; unfortunately even with best efforts we could not come to a common ground. AMD decided to move into another direction and steer its own course."

AAMA opposes use of the SHED standard within the IRC for a number of reasons, it reports. First, the AMD standard is not an ANSI-approved document, it notes, which suggests it has not been yet been through an open consensus process, as required by ICC procedures.

"Testing conducted by AAMA over the course of the past two years also indicates that component interchangeability in door systems is much more complex than the simple substitution method proposed by AMD," the association reports. "Significant inconsistencies in overall design pressures result during door system testing using like panel, frame and glazing constructions. The door systems tested were provided by three different manufacturers and were produced with the following commonalities: overall size, type and gauge of skin material, stile material, insulating material, glass make-up, and identical lock/deadbolt. Some variables included hinges, frame/stop design, density of insulating material, and IG sealants. The test results ranged from 2.5 psf to 45 psf as varying point(s) of failure. Testing included three specimens of full-lite, half-lite and opaque glazing provided by three different manufacturers."

AAMA says it plans to continue its research, including both testing and structural analysis, to develop the appropriate method to be used for interchangeability of components. "We believe it can be done, and we intend to draw upon the 40+ years of experience AAMA has in the testing and certification of fenestration products to do that," the organization states. "But we also know the approach taken by AMD in their SHEDs is not the correct approach, and its use would result in erroneously rated systems."

AMD worked with the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Institute the Steel Door Institute to develop the SHED standard, using these organizations' SDI 250.13, Testing and Rating of Severe Windstorm Resistant Components for Swinging Door Assemblies as a template, the organization reports. To enable its standard to be acceptable for ICC, AMD has also earned accreditation from the American National Standards Institute as a national standards-writing organization and has submitted the SHED standard for ANSI approval. AMD will continue to work with BHMA and SDI, and will also extend invitations to AAMA and WDMA to sit on its ANSI-required consensus committee, Burton notes. AMD will also consider non-industry professional associations, such as NAHB and the Insurance Industry’s Institute for Business and Home Safety.

“There are industry professionals who understand AMD’s mission behind developing the AMD SHEDS;  those who do see a need for this standard for our pre-hangers and component manufacturers," states Rosalie Leone, AMD executive director. "It is rewarding to see our efforts in this direction will make a positive difference in the millwork industry.”

AMD's Burton notes that the victory in Baltimore is only a first step.  Public comments regarding changes approved this fall will be accepted until next summer.  Final approvals for the next edition of the International Codes will not be approved until next year's final action hearings.

AAMA remains opposed to its approval for use under the IRC committee. Detailing a number of technical problems it sees in the AMD approach, the organization concludes, "It is AAMA's hope that a component-based substitution method for rating door assemblies for resistance to design wind pressure can be developed at some point in the future, but the method presented by AMC SHED, as referenced in RB127, is overly simplistic, inadequate and inaccurate."