Fabricators from across Canada were able to share industry challenges and concerns in the first ever fabricators roundtable held last week as part of Fenestration Canada’s summer meeting held in Winnipeg.

The first-ever Fabricator's roundtable was a great success and will likely be repeated at future meetings.
The first-ever fabricator’s roundtable was a great success and will likely be repeated at future meetings.
The roundtable came out of the newly-formed Fabricator’s Council. Laura Weil, sales and marketing manager, Euro Vinyl Windows, a smaller-sized fabricator based in Woodbridge, Ontario, says the roundtable was a fantastic idea and extremely beneficial. She says five main issues were discussed in the fabricators council and throughout the meeting as a whole:
• How do we maintain a competitive advantage when the costs to comply keep compounding?
• How do we maintain our livelihood of providing 1-off unique products that ultimately the architects are drawing and the homeowners are requesting?
• Why do fabricators hold the accountability to ensure hardware meets requirements, when it is a supplied component (this is more of a side-hinged door concern)?
• How do we ensure that the installation is conducted accordingly?
• Ultimately, how do we ensure that fabricators have access and understanding of all current and upcoming compliance requirements and how will it be enforced?

“We discussed how as a company we are able to implement new codes and labeling requirements, how it is policed and monitored,” says Weil. “We discussed costs associated with testing hardware.”

Robert Rivard, executive director at Fenestration Canada, echoed Weil’s excitement regarding the roundtable/council, adding that this meeting drew the highest number of fabricators ever.

“Usually you can count them [number of fabricators] on one hand,” says Rivard. “The technical program focused on new developments, how to’s and guidance, and the fabricators roundtable, offered them an opportunity to open up about what keeps them awake at night regarding regulatory areas and what needs to be done to remain competitive.”

The association plans to build off the momentum gained at this recent meeting.

“Projects going forward will look at certification and testing to make sure everyone is on the same page,” says Rivard. “There are difference of opinions which causes confusion. We will be putting together labeling guidelines, etc., so companies can conform to regulations.”

Additionally, when the association meets this fall they will open it up to building officials, architects, and other groups.

“Right now with everyone looking to remain competitive it is important they know what needs to be done and that they get ready for the onslaught of regulations and requirements,” he says. “We want companies to think about Fenestration Canada as their source of reliable and credible information.  Our plan is to make sure the most current information is available when it comes to compliance and interpretation.  We realize that the landscape evolves quickly and it is important to keep up to date if one wants to remain competitive.”

Some of these requirements include the Ontario Building Code that went into effect January 1, 2014.

“Now they need to demonstrate conformance and they realize how important it is and they are playing catch up,” says Rivard. “For some of them it is a mad scramble … Sometimes things can get confusing, so for speakers we made sure they simplified information in a no-nonsense approach and put it in very clear terms.”

Weil says she is now actively involved in the association and is serving on the membership and marketing committee.

“The main goal of our committee is to get more fabricator participation,” she says. “We have put in place some opportunities for members of affiliate organizations to join at a lower price point. So next year when we have the Annual General Meeting in British Columbia we hope we can bring more fabricators from British Columbia. We are looking for a cross section of both big and small companies.”

1 Comment

  1. What the above article doesn’t clearly say is that manufacturers are approaching outrage over costs to retest products that haven’t changed. This is forced by at least two realities. There is a constant tweaking to standards and then specifiers demand the newer version. Also, it results from the application of expiry dates on testing by such organizations as NFRC, AAMA etc, even when the product hasn’t changed. The growing perception is that these changes have less to do with benefits to end users or society in general and more to do with the generation of sales for the testing, engineering and listing segments of our industry.

    For example, NAFTS-08 is in the Ontario building code, but NAFTS-11 is sitting in line. We heard about a test for mullions called AAMA 450 but were cautioned that NAFTS-08 allows only an older version and there are three in total that can be tested to now!

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