FMA Spring Conference Wraps Up in Florida

The Fenestration Manufacturers Association (FMA) experienced a large turn out for its three-day annual meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., this week. The association welcomed many first-time attendees who enjoyed presentations on the topics of product liability, housewraps, codes and standards, fasteners and more.

The testing and education committee presented its progress and FMA's executive director, Dick Wilhelm, stressed the importance of an education program for window installers in the field.

"We need to put together a program for continuing education and go out to the field at no cost and educate [building officials, builders, installers, etc.]," said Wilhelm.

Some challenges with window installations are that installers aren't paid well and techniques are all over the place, amongst other things.

FMA's installation committee held a working meeting where chairman Jim Katsaros of DuPont shared the progress of the committee.

"There's been a lot of participation from FMA and outside organizations as well with the same goal in mind: come up with installation practices particularly in Florida," Katsaros said.

The committee reviewed the five different documents they have under development.

They reviewed the results from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association's (AAMA) ballot of the FMA/AAMA 100 Standard Practice for the Installation of Windows with Flanges or Mounting Fins in Wood Frame Construction and FMA/AAMA 200 Standard Practice for the Installation of Windows with Frontal Flanges for Surface Barrier Masonry Construction documents. Other documents, FMA/WDMA 250, FMA 300 and FMA 400 are in earlier draft stages.

Freddie Cole, FMA's president, estimates that the FMA/AAMA 100 document will be finished at the end of the summer, and the FMA/AAMA 200 document finished by the end of the year. Cole hopes that the other three documents will be finished next year.

Additionally, a new task group was formed to create a training module that FMA can promote. The new class development task group will be based on standard practices.

The structural committee talked about how they needed to work as a group to flush out the problem of rating systems of combination mullion units. The group also discussed the ramifications of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2.-A440 in the 2006 codes and its impact on current test reports.

On the topic of energy, the thermal committee led by chairman Ivan Zuniga of AGC Glass, voted to support the Florida Building Commission (FBC) code proposal 2374 because it promotes energy efficiency in the state of Florida.

FMA also learned about what's new in the fastener field. David Sutton of ITW Buildex talked about his company's new technology called Tapcon® for light- to medium-duty masonry attachments, which has advanced threadform technology. Inspired by ITW's Global Technology Center, it was designed to deliver 30 percent less torque and longer battery and tool life. The product has been approved by ICC and Miami Dade.

Greg Mann of All Points Screw Bolt and Specialty Co., an importer/distributor of fasteners, talked about new fasteners. "A high amount of imported concrete tools will have a negative impact on the products in the field," he said. Problems with imported screws can be seen in wire, coating, heat treat and liability.

Mann says he found that imported screws performed 30 to 40 percent less than those that were not imported. Additionally, when a fastener is specified, "there needs to be a way to substitute it with a legitimate part," said Mann.

Other topics, such as housewraps were discussed during the conference as Theresa Weston from DuPont talked about the myths and realities. Most housewraps are due to errors in installations and integration, she says.

Additionally, David Toney, Esq. of Mills Shirley L.L.P. in Houston talked about product liability. He urged window manufacturers to supply their warranties on their websites and reference it on the product. His suggestion is to move away from warranting against defects, but rather to warrant that the product will "perform in-service without substantial impairment of operation when properly installed and maintained in a suitable application."

Toney also talked about installation instructions and issues, and emphasized the importance of being consistent with the communication of documents such as specification sheets, warranties, installation instructions and maintenance instructions.

A mind-provoking presentation regarding building science was presented by Joseph Lstiburek, PhD. P. Eng., of Building Science Corp. Lstiburek, who said, "the most important thing is the real world, not the simulated world."

One concern of his is that there are different "gangs" such as the "wall gang," "mechanical gang," "roof gang" and "window gang" that need to communicate better.

"You are all part of the wall business," he added, listing the order of importance in a wall is the rain first, than the air, followed by vapor and then thermal control.

Lstiburek said that window manufacturers need to design window glazing systems to be compatible with the future of wall systems-which he said will have insulation on the outside.

FMA's next meeting is tentatively scheduled for October in Daytona Beach. For more information regarding this association, visit

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