Attention, door manufacturers: Product certification isn’t just something you should do to meet increasingly stringent codes. It’s also a great way to ensure that your doors stand out in a crowded, competitive market. That was the key takeaway from an educational session held during the World Millwork Alliance’s (WMA) annual convention and trade show in Charlotte, N.C., this week.

WMA code director Jessica Ferris, left, and Tracy Rogers of Keystone Certifications talk product testing during the WMA convention.

Tracy Rogers of Keystone Certifications gave attendees a quick primer in product certification, explaining that it’s a means to verify that a given manufactured product is represented by a product that was previously tested. It ensures that means and controls are in place at the manufacturer to enable the fabrication of the product, but it does not mean products are identical. Variations may be allowed in size, components and materials as long as performance does not decrease.

Rogers then described how the certification process works. After a product is tested, the results are sent to a third party such as Keystone Certifications, which comes in and inspects a facility. Next, a Certification Authorization Report is issued that says a manufacturer may place a label on its products.

So why certify?

“The biggest issue is code compliance,” Rogers said. “The label is the simplest way to prove you’re meeting performance requirements. But it also enhances quality, promotes standardization and encourages product development.”

Next, Jessica Ferris, WMA’s director of codes and standards, announced that WMA will work with Keystone Certifications to run certification for the WMA 100 standard, “Standard Method of Determining Structural Performance Ratings of Side-Hinged Exterior Door Systems (SHEDS) and Procedures for Component Substitution.”

Ferris said work began in 2008 after the millwork industry requested an alternative structural standard to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, NAFS — North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors, and Skylights. The standard would be developed for the SHEDS industry and its distribution chain by offering provisions for substituting door components in a rated door system.

The millwork pre-hanging industry went WMA to present its case at International Code Council (ICC) code development hearings for a standard that differs from NAFS.

WMA developed an alternate compliance option that gives door pre-hangers and distributors a way to test and rate the structural performance of a door system, and substitute or qualify components in that rated system, reducing the amount of testing required.

The ANSI-approved standard was first published in 2013, and it was incorporated into the 2015 edition of the IRC.

“It’s an excellent option for compliance,” Ferris said.

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