DALLAS — A group of North American vinyl siding manufacturers will have some extra ammunition to support claims about their products' quality.
The Washington-based Vinyl Siding Institute, a division of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., announced a voluntary certification program for vinyl siding at a Jan. 17 news conference in Dallas.
The program calls for an initial review of participants' facilities and quality-control programs by an independent administrator, followed by semiannual, unannounced visits by inspectors.
Those inspectors will be looking to make sure the product lines in question comply with the ASTM D3679 standard for vinyl siding. Those product lines that pass muster can feature a special logo on their packaging and promotional material.
``VSI initiated this program to assure consumers and specifiers of the quality of vinyl siding products across the country,'' said Lee Meyer, senior vice president and general manager of Variform Inc. of Kearney, Mo.
The ASTM D3679 standard has been in place for a number of years, and many siding companies claim compliance. But the standard has not been enforced by independent verification.
``While many manufacturers say they meet the standard, up until now specifiers had no nationally recognized way of determining if those products actually met the standard,'' said Jery Huntley, VSI executive director.
While the idea of giving inspectors free access to facilities may go against the grain of some manufacturers, Huntley said the certification program has gained near-unanimous support from the vinyl siding industry.
``An overwhelming majority of VSI members have applied to be certified,'' she said. ``More than 25 plants are being vigorously inspected and audited.''
Huntley would not say which companies applied — or which didn't — noting the list of certified product lines will be available in April.
Any certified product lines that inspectors deem have fallen below the ASTM standard ``will have to stop using the logo and will be removed from the certified products list,'' Huntley said. Updates will be published regularly, and the current certified list will be available at VSI's Web site, www.vinylsiding.org, starting in April.
The news conference was held Jan. 16-19 in conjunction with the 1998 International Home Builders Show, sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders.