IGMA, AAMA Meet Together in California

Huntington Beach, Calif.—Globalization is moving faster than we realize, but the U.S. economy remains one of the most vibrant in the world, said Stuart Varney, a financial journalist with Fox News Network, speaking this week to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. The two organizations are hosting their summer meetings together here this week, with each group conducting association business on their own then coming together for joint social events and guest speakers.

Two other major trends businesses will have to address in the coming years, Varney suggested, were changing demographics and a shift in the U.S. political culture away from wealth creation to wealth redistribution. Discussing changing demographics, the television commentator said low fertility rates in most developing countries means populations will be aging dramatically. In some European countries, more than half the population will be older than 65. Looking at the shift in the political culture of the U.S., Varney said higher taxes and greater regulation of business is all but inevitable.

In AAMA’s early sessions, two issues emerged that are creating diverging opinions among the organization’s residential and architectural product manufacturers. One involved input into the joint window and door standard that the association produces with the
Window & Door Manufacturers Association and the Canadian Standards Association. The standard currently allows residential-class windows to be rated at high design pressures typically associated with commercial and architectural products. Those products, however, must also undergo additional testing to carry their ratings. Those on the architectural product side suggest this gives the residential window manufacturers an unfair advantage as they do not have to meet the additional requirements, but can still sell their products in many commercial applications.

When asked whether AAMA should propose any change in the standard, a straw poll showed residential and architectural product manufacturers voted “along party lines.”

That trend was evident with the issue of whether or not AAMA should back a change in
International Codes allowing the use of one of its thermal performance test methods as an alternative to National Fenestration Rating Council methods. With NFRC still working on its method for rating commercial fenestration, architectural product manufacturers argued that they currently don’t have a method—accepted by the codes—to rate the thermal performance of their products, and recommended that AAMA should join the other organizations promoting AAMA’s method. Residential manufacturers, on the other hand, expressed concern that they rely on AAMA’s current relationship with NFRC, and that AAMA should be cautious in taking steps that might jeopardize that relationship.

AAMA has spent much of the past year or so reviewing its certification program to both enhance it and make it more cost-effective for licensees. As part of the California meeting, AAMA’s John Lewis unveiled a new proposed fee structure. The overall strategy, he explained, is to move the AAMA certification program from “label-based fees” to “service-based fees.” The new plan calls for an annual cap of $60,000 on label fees for individual licensees (manufacturers that certify products). After licensees reach the cap, fees are reduced by half, Lewis continued. He also explained changes in the cost to have product lines included in AAMA’s certified product directory.

Noting that one goal for any change in fee structure would be that it must be “revenue-neutral,” he explained that the lower fees paid by some window and door manufacturers will likely lead to higher fees for companies to have verified components listed, as well as higher fees to become an AAMA-accredited lab.

Traco’s Bill Deushle spoke about structural changes to the AAMA certification program, noting that several new levels and options are being added to the “legacy” program. One option he said would be a “premier quality control program” that would incorporate production line testing. Other options under development would meet architectural product manufacturer needs for either product line or project-specific product certification.

Other business at the AAMA meeting included a presentation from Werner Preusker of Germany, who spoke about industry efforts in Germany to promote PVC in response to environmental groups that were trying to limit or ban its use. He showed highlights from the PVCplus campaign, which he reported has led to a turnaround reducing public debate and contributed to a reversal in PVC sales. Manufacturers in North America, he suggested, should be “investing in your reputation,” promoting the benefits of PVC, delivering a continuous flow of positive messages and building trust with the public. The German experience shows it is worthwhile, translating into motivated employees, increased demand and greater profitability, he concluded.

Getting down to business quickly, IGMA kicked off its sessions looking at new glazing guidelines covering both commercial and residential applications. Discussions focused on recommended glazing clearances and setting block heights for commercial IG units.

IGMA technical consultant Bill Lingnell reviewed his preliminary research on the effectiveness of standard methods for closing capillary tubes in the field. Using a small pump and a glass of water, he demonstrated how he tested both by crimping the tubes and by applying a dollop of silicone on the end, and suggested that both methods work if done properly. The key is doing the crimping and sealing correctly, he noted, and a combination of both steps offers the highest assurance that the tube will be closed.

Another document IGMA is considering is a guideline or recommendation for avoiding thermal stress cracks in glass. Lingnell presented his initial draft, which provided an explanation about how temperature differentials across the glass create thermal stresses. He then went through the list of factors that can potentially cause different temperatures at the edge of glass than across the lite as a whole. A number of attendees suggested other potential causes, including growing trees or plants, new adjacent buildings and protective shutters developed for impact markets.

Also discussed was its study on the gas permeability of sheet materials. The group is now getting ready for the second phase, developing a method for evaluating the gas permeability of edge seal assemblies, and it reviewed a request for proposal that IGMA plans to send out to various test organizations.

Both the AAMA and IGMA meetings continue through tomorrow. Look for more coverage next week in WDweekly, and expanded coverage of commercial issues from the meeting in our sister publication, e-glass weekly.  JGS