AAMA Gets ICC Update, Talks Green

Christina Lewellen
September 26, 2008
Meetings & Events | Codes & Standards

San Antonio, Texas—The American Architectural Manufacturers Association conducted its national fall conference here this week, focusing on the outcomes of the International Code Committee’s final hearings and keeping momentum in the green building movement.

Julie Ruth, fresh off the ICC final action hearings, gave AAMA members an update on what proposals were approved or got killed for the current code cycle, set to take effect in January.

Julie Ruth, AAMA's code consultant and columnist for Window & Door magazine, came to the AAMA meeting directly from the wrap-up of the ICC’s final action hearings held in Minneapolis. This meeting finished up the 2009 I-Codes cycle, and approved changes will appear in the January 2009 publication of the codes.

Among the outcomes, Ruth reported:

  • S141, which promoted the testing requirements for side hinged doors, was disapproved. AAMA had offered modifications to the proposal, sponsored by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, at a previous ICC hearing, to limit the proposal’s scope. The disapproval was upheld in the final round of ICC hearings, but Ruth points out that AAMA will continue to work with WDMA, the Association of Millwork Distributors and others to develop an acceptable alternative.
  • EC4, which would have allowed U-factor and SHCG to be determined according to AAMA 507 for curtain wall and storefront considerations, was also disapproved. “It’s very difficult to get things overturned in the final code hearings,” Ruth noted, explaining that the proposal had been previously challenged.
  • E6, which called for massive changes to the International Energy Conservation Code in an effort to result in a 30 percent improvement in energy performance, was disapproved.
  • RB173, outlining requirements for window fall safety measures and limited window opening devices was approved. Ruth explained that the initial proposal made an exception to the minimum 24-inch sill height for windows, but this was challenged in a previous ICC hearing. Based on an AAMA-submitted comment, the IRC will include AAMA language for window opening limited devices, with other revisions to the original proposal. This requirement will apply to one- or two-family homes and townhomes less than three stories in height.
  • RB173, which was championed by WDMA and would require more rigorous flashing requirements for windows and doors, was disapproved.

Ruth will present a full summary of the code hearing outcomes in an upcoming issue of Window & Door. She encouraged AAMA attendees to start evaluating possible revisions and suggestions for the next round of code updates, which are slated to begin in March.

AAMA continues to work on its green and sustainability program, exploring options for a labeling program and accompanying marketing efforts. A technical committee is looking at both performance and feature attributes that could fit into a green certification matrix.

To promote green education among AAMA members, the association hosted a panel of experts from three leading green certification programs—Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, National Association of Home Builders’ Model Green Home Building Guidelines and U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED. The panelists gave overviews of the program and touched upon the ways in which fenestration can contribute to green construction projects.

Acknowledging that the three programs can be a lot for manufacturers to track, speaker Heather Gayle Holdridge, a consultant that was representing USGBC on the panel, suggested manufacturers design some sort of matrix to track where their products fit into each program. “Each of our benchmarks are different,” she says of the three programs.

AAMA’s marketing manager Angela Dickson gave attendees an update on marketing efforts, many of which include green building efforts. The association plans to develop a green-centric Web page for its site, and members are developing an educational white paper addressing fenestration in the green building movement. AAMA is also working on a green fact sheet, press releases and e-newsletter to keep its members informed of the evolving sustainability landscape.

AAMA’s committees and materials councils continue to produce more AIA-approved educational courses for architects. The association allows its members to offer the one-hour courses to architects, with the benefit of AAMA handling the paperwork for accreditation. Additional courses currently in development include topics coming from the aluminum, architectural window/curtain wall, door, and wall interface councils.

The next AAMA meeting will take place February 22 to 25 at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado, Calif. For more information, visit www.aamanet.org

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.