WDMA Expert Provides Look at Architectural Doors Standards and Guidelines

June 29th, 2012 by DWM Magazine

Jeff Lowinski (photo courtesy of WDMA)

Jeff Lowinski, vice president of technical services, Window and Doors Manufacturers Association (WDMA), presented an update on standards and other updates for architectural doors during the organization’s technical conference that took place this week.

Lowinski discussed the recent National Association of Demolition Contractors (NADC) activities, including cooperation with the Architectural Woodwork Institute Quality Certification Program (AWI-QCP) on architectural door certification, and the status of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Canvass of I.S.1A and I.S.6A.

According to Lowinski, WDMA is awaiting ANSI approval for the I.S.1A (which focuses on the specifications for architectural wood flush doors) and I.S. 6A (which features specifications and design guidelines for manufacturing wood stile and rail doors that are used in architectural applications). He said WDMA published both of the standards in October of last year.

“This was a tremendous amount of work,” Lowinski said. “It’s a time and monetary investment for WDMA to do, and we made this decision at the last council meeting to pursue this.”

“On the presumption that there are no controversial issues that come out of the ANSI process, we should get this done by the end of the year or shortly thereafter,” Lowinski said. “If there is controversy, that is something we’ll have to discuss and obviously it will take longer and we’ll keep going through that process.”

Additionally, Lowinski discussed the draft technical bulletin on withdrawal of the TM-5, Split Resistance Test, which “was officially withdrawn from WDMA standards in 2005 because it was replaced by revised I.S. A-04 Industry Standard for Architectural Wood Flush Doors and I.S. 6A, which should be the new standards for reference.”

“It has come to my attention very recently that many of you as manufacturers still face architect specifications that are demanding compliance with the TM-5, Split Resistance Test,” Lowinski said. “We’ve been asked to create a technical bulletin that definitively says that TM-5 is no longer used and has been withdrawn from WDMA and it should not be a part of architect specified requirements.”

The technical bulletin will be available as soon as it is approved by the Architectural Door Codes and Standards Committee (ADCSC), he said.

“If you choose as an individual company to continue to furnish split resistance test data, you’re on your own,” Lowinski said. “If an architect wants to specify it and insists on having it, he’s on his own but at least it gives those of you that say ‘I really don’t want to give you this [data]’ the opportunity to say, ‘Well, it’s not only my standard but the association’s.’ ”

Lowinski also discussed the WDMA’s pursuit of developing a certification program for architectural doors, which he said has been an interest within the organization for a number of years. Until recently, many within the industry looked to the “project-driven” AWI certification program.

“What the WDMA is proposing is that an agreement be reached between AWI and WDMA to co-sponsor a certification program for architectural doors,” Lowinski said. “[WDMA is proposing] a single non-competitive agreement with the intent to create a single non-competitive stance in the marketplace—co-sponsorship, equal sharing of responsibilities, and equal skin in the game.”

The program is based on compliance of the door manufacturer and independent contract documents and could require testing and evaluations to solidify the design of the product and additionally mandate an auditing process, Lowinski said.

“We’re not telling you to do something you’re not already doing,” he said. “The independent evaluation and documentation is already there. For us to do this adds additional credibility to the system.”

Lowinski said the WDMA’s directors have already made the commitment to refine and develop the program documents and answer any concerns or questions that the AWI might have later this year when he presents the proposal of a joint program.

“If I get a commitment from the WDMA membership, if I get an acceptance from the AWI board of directors, this is doable,” Lowinski said. “If we get approval, then we can expect to submit the program for ANSI approval sometime in 2013.”

by Erica Terrini, eterrini@glass.com

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