What’s News November/December 2019

July 20th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Kudos

Quanex Facility Awarded for Safety

Woodcraft Industries, a Quanex Building Products company in Bowling Green, Ky., that produces hardwood and laminated componentry, received the Governor’s Safety and Health Award in September 2019. The annual award recognizes Kentucky organizations with outstanding safety and health performance and was designed to encourage the development of programs for reducing and eliminating occupational injuries. Businesses receive the award when they have achieved 500,000 hours or more without a lost-time injury or illness at their workplace.

ProVia Receives Awards for Annual Program

The Holmes County Chamber of Commerce recently named ProVia its 2019 Large Business of the Year.

For the Large Business of the Year award, companies are assessed for their contributions in a variety of areas, including longterm economic impact, entrepreneurial initiative, construction activity, beautification, reputation and community involvement. ProVia was recognized for its contributions in all of these areas. Officials say the Mullet family’s goal has been to instill ingenuity and community service values into the company’s team members.

M&A

Industry Sees Short Flurry of Mashups Heading Into 4Q

In a year that’s feigned by comparison to 2018 in the mergers and acquisitions department, the industry has seen its share of announcements heading into fourth-quarter 2019. In the opening days of September, BMC Stock Holdings and WindowMaster Control Systems unveiled acquisitions—with BMC picking up Sacramento, Calif.-based Heritage One Door and Carpentry and WindowMaster acquiring North Wales, Pa.-based Clearline Inc. In mid-September, machinery manufacturers Stürtz and Pertici North America announced what they’re referring to as an “alliance,” through which officials for Stürtz said they’re hoping to expand their company’s presence in aluminum fabrication. Last, but not least, Masco made good on its intention to sell Milgard by announcing a deal with MI Windows and Doors (MI). The acquisition by MI will close sooner than later, company officials suggested (see details below).

With the Clearline acquisition also comes a mash-up of branding, WindowMaster officials said, to WindowMaster Clearline Inc. The move extends WindowMaster’s distribution coast-to-coast, allowing the newly branded company to distribute its own full line of products. Customers for both companies should see no changes, officials explained.

Meanwhile, the Heritage One acquisition “significantly expands” BMC’s capabilities in millwork, doors and windows in Sacramento and surrounding areas, said BMC president and CEO Dave Flitman. Employees of Heritage One were welcomed into his company, Flitman added, which boasts more than $60 million in annual revenues.

BMC is a provider of lumber, building materials and solutions to new construction builders and professional remodelers, while Heritage One was known for serving single-family and multi-family builders and contractors.

Completions for the BMC and WindowMaster acquisitions were announced in early September.

It came as no big surprise for the industry in October, when officials for MI announced they’ve reached an agreement to acquire Milgard Windows and Doors from parent company Masco Corp. Masco made its intent to sell well-known through announcements dating back to June 2019, following a strategic review of its cabinetry and windows businesses in March. At that time, Masco’s president and CEO Keith Allman set the expectation for landing a buyer within six to nine months—ultimately coming in on the early side of that estimate. Officials from both companies pointed to regional demands and more balanced offerings between new construction and remodeling as leading benefits.

“This acquisition aligns with our strategies to diversify our product offering, balance the end markets we serve and expand our presence in growing markets,” said MI CEO Matt DeSoto.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2019.

Codes and Regs

Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule: Following an internal audit from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released in September, EPA officials announced that the U.S. does not have an effective implementation and enforcement strategy.

The RRP Rule was issued in 2008, with the goal of protecting the public, especially children, from lead-based paint hazards occurring during repair or remodeling activities in homes and facilities built before 1978, such as window replacement.

The report cited several reasons why the EPA has been ineffective in implementing the RRP, including a lack of sufficient controls to assess effectiveness and progress, and program guidance that fails to sufficiently define goals and objectives. Six recommendations were submitted to officials for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) for improving inefficiencies. Both offices responded to the OIG suggesting that “each recommendation identified … has been completed, thereby leaving no additional corrective actions necessary.”

So far, only two recommendations met OIG intention standards and were considered resolved.

AAMA 812-19 Voluntary Practice for Assessment of Frame Deflection When Using One Component Polyurethane Foams for Air-Sealing Rough Openings of Fenestration Installations: has been updated to clarify foam physical properties, to enhance sample preparation, testing and measurement procedures, and to include requirements for reporting of test results. One-component polyurethane foams have sometimes been associated with frame deflection of fenestration products, AAMA officials said.

The standard provides a practice that allows users to identify and test protocols for assessing the key attributes of pressure build and dimensional stability. (For more information, see the article on page 8.)

AAMA 813-19 Voluntary Specification and Test Methods for Adhesives Used in Simulated Divided Lite Bars: was recently updated with new ultraviolet (UV) testing references and peel adhesion requirements for tapes, now matching liquid adhesive systems. Clarifications were also added regarding the reporting of test results. Per the specification, the adhesive system is to remain uncompromised both at installation time and through a range of weathering conditions.

AAMA 2502-19 Comparative Analysis Procedure for Window and Door Products: was changed to include guidance for unit sizes smaller and larger than those tested, as well as deflection and stress limits established by industry standards. Changes increase the applications where AAMA 2502-19 can be utilized to support a larger range of unit sizes, officials said.

Trade

A bi-national review panel has urged the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to review its decision that raised duties on lumber imports from Canada.

The move follows a legal complaint from several U.S.-based lumber companies over a Canadian softwood tariffs revision that excused a handful of Canadian companies from paying tariffs.

The panel, assembled in accordance with the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), released the interim decision on September 4, remanding the ITC’s previous revision of antidumping and countervailing duty (CVD) rates. The panel stated in the decision that the ITC had erroneously concluded that imports of softwood lumber from Canada “materially injured or threatened material injury to an industry in the United States.”

The order gave the ITC 90 days to reevaluate the decision and make corrections.

Legal

Judge Advances Price Fixing Case Against Masonite and Jeld-Wen

A Virginia federal judge granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against two prominent interior molded door companies for allegations that they conspired to hike product prices. The judge’s decisions, as published in an opinion, were split between the plaintiffs, including direct and indirect purchasers, and the defendants, Masonite Corp. and Jeld-Wen Inc. Though the Court made clear that the “plaintiffs have not proven that the defendants made any agreements to fix prices in the IMD market,” allegations of parallel conduct plus factors were deemed sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. At the same time, U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. granted the defendants a partial dismissal on the basis that the indirect purchaser claims arising under antitrust state law “fall short in various respects.”

A group of dealers and buyers filed the case in October 2018 following the success of a similar claim filed against Jeld-Wen by Steves and Sons Inc.

In their argument, plaintiffs suggest after Jeld-Wen acquired CraftMaster International Inc. (CMI), Masonite and Jeld-Wen controlled 85% of the door skins manufacturing market. From 2012 until 2018, plaintiffs allege that the two companies increased prices in similar percentage increments.

The defendants argued that the plaintiffs lack standing to invoke laws of states where none of the plaintiffs live. The Judge agreed, dismissing those claims, agreeing to address remaining arguments in states in which plaintiffs did have a presence.

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Gives Sapa Another Chance

Sapa Extrusions Inc. (Sapa), an aluminum manufacturer that makes metal frames that hold the glass in windows in place, has been given another chance by the third Circuit Court of Appeals, to pursue coverage under nine liability insurance policies for its costs to defend and settle litigation over its alleged sale of faulty window components. A three-judge appellate panel found the previous federal ruling had the correct analysis in regard to some of the policies in Sapa’s dispute.

According to court documents, a main concern was whether Marvin Lumber & Cedar Co.’s (MLCO) actions against Sapa caused “an accidental occurrence” that was within its policy coverage. Court documents mentioned the panel stated the U.S. District Court judge “was right” when he stated coverage was unavailable under 19 of Sapa’s policies that define an occurrence as an accident.

Originally the lawsuit alleged Marvin, of MLCO, “suffered financial losses” due to defective aluminum components used in its windows and doors that Sapa provided. Court documents state that suit was previously settled. The panel emphasized it was not taking a position on whether Sapa will be able to secure coverage, but said it should be given a chance to “press its case before the lower court.”

Currently Sapa has been given another chance by the third Circuit Court of Appeals, to pursue coverage under nine liability insurance policies for its costs to defend and settle litigation over its alleged sale of faulty components.

Manufacturers

Sunrise Windows and Doors closed its Paragon facility in Louisville, Ky. Officials cited a strategic business decision that’s designed to increase the efficiency of future operations.

“At this time, we have made the difficult decision to focus resources to drive the continued ascension of our growing Sunrise window business,” said president and CEO Carl Will.

According to director of marketing Joe Mills, the company will continue to manufacture replacement door and window products from its Temperance, Mich.-based plant, but will no longer offer storm and entry doors, or the Compozit series of windows manufactured in Kentucky.

After acquiring the Paragon plant in 2017, amid a merger between the two companies, Mills says Sunrise experienced difficulty hiring quality labor, due to the economic climate of the area, ultimately deciding it was more productive to focus efforts elsewhere.

“At the end of the day, it was just looking at the investment of time and resources and where they could be best used to give a return on investment,” Mills said.

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