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USGNN Original StoryAAMA Considers Changing Test Requirements from Four to Eight Years
June 8, 2009

Members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) offered differing opinions last week in an open forum held during the association's summer meeting. The forum was held so members could discuss a proposal to extend the life of air-water structural test reports from the current requirement of four years to as long as eight years for products that have had no changes.

This proposal was submitted to AAMA's Certification Policy Committee (CPC) during the association's annual conference held in February. The proposal included a stipulation that all plant inspections must be successful for the extension to remain in effect.

At the February meeting the CPC voted in favor of this proposal but the board decided to delay the implementation until an open forum could be held at the summer meeting where members could voice their opinions, and that they did.

Both manufacturers and other parties, including test lab representatives, offered their views. Members pointed out that many other testing bodies have eight years or longer between tests.

Rich Biscoe from Architectural Testing Inc (ATI) said that more than 50 percent of failure rates come from products that are retested that had no changes. For example, he said a hardware company could have made a change without the manufacturers knowledge, which could account for the failure.

"We will have more bad products out there if we make this change," he said. "People say that I'm from a test lab so of course I'll say this, but as an engineer this bothers me."

Randy Van Voorst from Quality Test Labs said the real impetus behind the proposal is dollars and said AAMA shouldn't make the change in order to maintain the continued credibility of the organization.

Ray Garries of Jeld-Wen said he is pleased this issue is finally being discussed as it had been talked about for years. "The proposal is really about deemphasizing testing and reemphasizing inspecting-it's got to the future of this program."

He added that manufacturers need to ensure that their protocols are correct in the plant and that we don't need more testing.

He also pointed out that manufacturers put their products through other test methods as well.

"AAMA is not the only show in town," he said. "For example, Dade County is the most stringent program out there and they test every ten years. This will not have a big impact," said Garries.

Henry Taylor from ATI disagreed and said "AAMA has dumbed down the program before and doesn't need to do so again."

CPC chair Rod Hershberger from PGT Industries said he doesn't believe in the "if it ain't broke don' t fix it" mantra. "We can make it better."

The day after the forum was held, the CPC decided that it would not ask for board action at this time, according to Val Brushaber from Hurd Windows and a member of the CPC. A task group was formed to develop the process and procedure for the new testing format with a deadline for completion of September 1, 2009. The task group will present this proposal at the CPC meeting during the fall conference in September.

"At that time we will vote on this and make a recommendation to the board," says Brushaber. She says this will include the date this would go into effect, and that the CPC is aiming for October 1, 2009.

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