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Window and Door Manufacturers win approval for building code changes

By: Catherine Kavanaugh

November 13, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) was granted final approval of several amendments it proposed to the 2015 editions of the International Residential Code (IRC), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and International Existing Building Code (IEBC).

Representatives of the 86-year-old trade association are applauding four decisions that came out of the final hearings conducted by the International Code Council (ICC). The hearings concluded last month in Atlantic City.

Two of the so-called "victories" are new provisions that remove costly impediments to replacing windows and allow manufacturers to use WDMA comparative analysis standards as an alternative to other structural requirements.

The other two key wins were the defeat of proposed amendments, including one that would have required triple-pane windows in much of the country.

The other provision that was dropped would have "discriminated" against non-metal windows, according to a WDMA news release. WDMA successfully lobbied against the latter proposal during the previous cycle of code hearings.

WDMA recommendations being incorporated into the codes clarify requirements for window opening control devices, address the use of skylights to meet natural ventilation requirements, allow skylights to use the same structural compliance methods as windows and doors, and close a loophole in the IECC that applied more stringent requirements to all non-metal fenestration products in buildings with higher window to wall ratios.

The WDMA also actively supported new provisions covering the use of dynamic glazing in residential construction and new provisions for fenestration flashing materials.

"Collectively these amendments provide greater flexibility for builders, remodelers and for fenestration manufacturers. They are also better for homeowners, so we are very pleased with the final approval of these changes by ICC code officials," Jeff Inks, WDMA vice president of code and regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

WDMA came out against amendments to increase the stringency of fenestration requirements for residential construction and to exempt replacement fenestration from the minimum efficiency requirements of the IECC.

Inks said, "All of these proposals would have resulted in unnecessary cost increases, bias against non-metal fenestration products, and unnecessary exemptions from applicable efficiency requirements, so the code officials' disapproval of them was appropriate."

WDMA represents manufacturers of residential and commercial window, door and skylight products for the domestic and export markets.