Win-Door Focus on Changing Codes

November 18, 2011
Meetings & Events

Toronto–Significant changes are coming in the code requirements for doors and windows in Canada and that was topic number one as the manufacturers gathered for Win-Door North America at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre here this past week. Hosted by Fenestration Canada, previously known as the Canadian Window & Door Manufacturers Association, the event saw standing-room-only attendance at educational sessions providing updates on the new requirements, as well as a fairly busy trade show floor.

 Educational sessions on the trade show floor attracted standing-room-only crowds as Fenestration Canada's Jeff Baker led several presentations explaining changes in window and door requirements coming with the new Canadian building code.

Representing "a very large change," Canada's 2010 national building code is the first to reference the North American Fenestration Standard, rather than Canada's own window and door standards, explained Jeff Baker, technical consultant for Fenestration Canada, in the first of three presentations covering the new requirements. In addition to the harmonized NAFS document, developed by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window & Door Manuafacturers Association in the U.S. and the Canadian Standards Association, the code also references a Canadian supplement that will have an even greater impact on door manufacturers and prehangers, he explained.

Baker went through the testing requirements, which performance parameters needed to be measured, and also detailed how manufacturers and others can determine specific performance requirements for a building, depending on its location and other factors. Products need to be rated and labeled using NAFS procedures, he noted, but the code does not require products to be certified.  While the new requirements are different for windows and sliding glass doors, Baker noted that requirements and enforcement related to swing doors has been virtually non-existence previously. That will no longer be the case, as there are now performance requirements established for such products under the Canadian supplement to NAFS just as there are for windows and sliding doors within NAFS.

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Under the new code, pre-hangers that assemble various door components, such as slabs, sills, doorlites and frames, become manufacturers, Baker noted, and will have their door systems tested. Given all the variables, Fenestration Canada has created substitution guidelines to help manufacturers and pre-hangers, he noted, but he also cautioned, "It's going to be expensive. I'm not going to kid you."  Addressing concerns expressed by smaller pre-hangers, he noted that they will need support from suppliers to get systems tested, or perhaps they will form consortiums to meet the new requirements.

The code is not law until it is adopted by the provincial government, a process that has already started, Baker reported. It is likely that all the provinces will have adopted it by late 2013.  With this process, he continued, enforcement of window and door requirements is going to become more strict as "all code officials are being educated on the change to NAFS" and are likely to look for labels.         

These changes are being watched closely in the U.S., Baker also noted. Thanks in part to resistance from the Association of Millwork Distributors, he explained, the NAFS testing and rating requirements for swing doors were not excluded in latest edition of the International Residential Code. With the same pressures to tighten codes in the U.S. that there is in Canada, he said, that's not expected to last.

Discussions of these changes were not limited to Baker's presentations, however. They were also a major topic in many supplier booths. "Pre-hangers are talking about it in a big way," reported John Westfall of Quanex Building Products, which was featuring its Imperial door system components. "There's a lot of uncertainty about what to do," he said, but he foresees smaller companies at least relying on suppliers such as his company to put systems together for testing, enabling the pre-hangers to meet the new requirements.  Echoing Baker's prediction, Westfall predicted that "it's only a matter of time before the same approach comes to the U.S."

 Royal's multi-panel folding vinyl door attracted much attention in Toronto.
 Novatech showcased several new contemporary door designs.
 Numerous attendees gathered to see demonstrations of a new vertical door processing machine in the JRC Machinery booth.

Trade show activity
While changing door requirements seemed to dominate the code discussions, door products seemed to dominate the trade show floor in Toronto. Notable product introductions included a new Overture folding vinyl patio door from Royal Building Products. Offered as a completely assembled unit through the supplier's Royalplast patio door division, the new door was "a big hit" among attendees, reported the company's Simon Fitzgerald. "Everybody wants it–both existing customers and non customers," he said. "Everybody wants something new in the arsenal and this gives them something new and exciting to talk about."

"There's still a lot of growth potential in large folding and sliding door systems," reported Chris Kamensek of the DS Group. which was showing a new aluminum folding door system, that the company manufactures and ships for unglazed. Already supplying hardware for such products, the company saw a tremendous need for a pre-engineered system that other glazing and window companies could assemble and installed.  The company was also showing two slide and stack systems–one featuring glass panels with thermally-broken frames and the other consisting of all-glass panels.

Entry door producers were out in full force at this year's show, including Masonite, MasterGrain, Therma Tru and Tru Tech, which all prominently featured expanding options in fiberglass systems. Mennie Canada, an importer of components and products from Asia, was also featuring a variety of fiberglass door slabs at this year's show.  Novatech, meanwhile, featured a wide variety of steel entry door systems, including a new contemporary collection.  The company's Robert LaTour said the new look was being very well received by architects.

Also notable at this year's show was the new Sandy vertical door fabricating machine from Eugenie Technologies, featured in the JRC Machinery booth. The company was busy demonstrating the unit, which performs automated lite cut out, hardware prep, and other necessary machining. It also featured an accompanying machine for automated jamb routing.

On the window side, the emphasis at Win-Door continued to be on color and finish options.  P.H. Tech, the Quebec-based vinyl extruder, once again featured it DoubleNature woodgrain finishes, as well as numerous colors.  The number of paint and coating suppliers appeared to expand at the show as well, with first-time exhibitors Lechler Canada and Zobel North America.  Aquasurtech OEM, the long-time supplier of vinyl window color coatings, highlighted its finishing technology for fiberglass slabs that allows door and frame components to have matching stains.

The list of exhibitors covered numerous other categories, of course. Hardware producers included Caldwell Manufacturing, Interlock USA, John Evans' Sons, Radisson Industries and Truth Hardware. Erdman, ProtoMach, Urban Machinery and Vega Automation each featured machines at this year's event, with other equipment suppliers on hand as well. Software systems were featured by 360 Innovations, Fenetech, Windowmaker and WTS Paradigm. 

Next year, Win-Door will return to Toronto once again where it is scheduled to run Nobember 6-8.  More information is available from Fenestration Canada or at the Win-Door website.