Chelsea Remembers, then Looks Forward in Morning Reception

September 11th, 2013 by DWM Magazine

Chelsea Building Products held a morning reception Wednesday in which the company looked back, and then looked forward, explaining where both the company and industry are headed, including a special update from AAMA.

To open the reception, attendees received an American flag pin in memorial of the 12th anniversary of September 11th. Terry Abels, senior vice president of sales and marketing, asked everyone to never forget those who died in the terrorist attack and to remember those still struggling with the aftermath of the event.

“Let us be free; let us be able to come to a place like Atlanta to attend a trade show,” he says.

Abels also discussed the strides the industry has made in recent years including the overturning of several lead rules.

“People becoming involved and starting to challenge the authority of government isn’t easy to do,” says Abels.

Gary Hartman, marketing manager for Chelsea, then discussed the companies past and direction for growth and product design. Extrusion tooling technology, flexible manufacturing, extrusion technology and high quality were several of the benefits Hartman says the company offers.

Hartman says the company has worked to boost its e-communication, including becoming more active in social media. He also pointed out that many vinyl window manufacturers are no longer in business; Chelsea is one of the few to have survived the past 10 years.

Next, AAMA president Rich Walker took the stage and provided attendees with an overview of the industry, discussing the association and the industry’s biggest struggle: regulation.

Government regulation, according to Walker based on a University of Toledo study, is negatively impacting business. He says the one bright spot was taxpayer relief in 2012.

LEED rating systems is one program for door and window companies to watch. “They’ve kind of focused in the commercial segment for some time but they’re spreading into homes and they’re starting to gain some traction there,” says Walker.

The GSA may be another threat to the industry, having marked PVC as a “red list” building material to avoid in green building. Large companies, such as Google, have already joined in dropping the material from its building design.

“One ray of hope here is an amendment in Shaheen-Portman that will allow the use of multiple green building rating systems,” says Walker. “The amendment is there in the current version and that’s good news; the bad news is that it keeps getting pushed to the backburner as other issues such as Syria arise.”

Walker also says the Federal Trade Commission guidelines for Made in USA are complicated and OSHA has changed Material Safety Data Sheets to Safety Data Sheets as an added headache.

ASHRAE 189.1 is yet another hurdle which door and window companies must overcome in an effort to maintain the amount of allowable glazing in buildings.

“If they achieve any success with this, they’ll keep working it down to smaller buildings,” Walker says.

Lead levels and regulation prove to be a continuing battle for the industry. Residential Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting program flaws, according to Walker, include the removal of the lead opt-out.

“There are forces still working on bringing the opt-out back in,” he says, “but with the current state of legislation, if it isn’t front burner it’s hard to get it back in.”

Childhood blood lead levels (CBLL) have been declining since 2005, according to Walker. He also states that EPA did a poor job of promoting the lead regulations to the public.

“CBLLs have been coming down significantly since 2005 so it wasn’t really necessary to chase down lead in door and window frames,” he says.

Energy Star and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is another source of pressure for the industry, as EPA continues to lower the required numbers for Energy Star qualifications.

“One of the reasons they feel emboldened about ratcheting down solar heat gains is because their market share doesn’t go down. In fact, it’s at 80 percent. They want to be a sort of an exclusive club,” he says. “The ≤0.27 U-factor for 2015 [for the Northern region] is a big concern … some glass people want that lower and we have to balance that when we comment on it.”

Walker says the Most Efficient program has been relatively successful, though it excludes commercial doors, windows and skylights and has a few minor concerns. It does, however, match Canadian products. The partner landing page is another thing Walker says is a positive attribute of the program because it can drive sales for companies listed.

To further help with sales, Walker says a website called Dsire lists residential building products tax credits and rebates by state. He says AAMA uses the site to know all of the potential rebates for products.

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