D+AS MAGAZINE

FEATURES — Garage Doors to be Certified and Labeled in 2003

© 2002 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2002
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 36


Garage Doors to be Certified and Labeled in 2003

Your customers will soon know exactly what they're buying when they purchase a new garage door. Starting in January 2003, labels with certified performance ratings will begin appearing on garage doors in North America, thanks to an industry-endorsed program initiated by the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA).

The certification label, which will appear on commercial and residential garage doors, includes four performance ratings: positive and negative wind load pressures, spring cycle life, R-value, and compliance with fire-related code requirements for foam plastics. The four ratings will be verified by Omega Point, an independent not-for-profit testing firm.

"Dealers will appreciate the simplicity and credibility of this program," said Phil Sawyer, chairman of the DASMA garage door division, who compared the program to nutrition labeling on foods and testing labels on home products like water heaters and windows. "The labels will raise our industry to the next level and will help consumers have greater confidence in our products."

Benefits to Dealers

For garage door dealers, Sawyer said the certified labels provide several other benefits:

  • Omega Point and DASMA will make available a directory of all products enrolled in the program.
  • Replacement of older products may increase, since the performance of new products will be more verifiable and, thus, more appealing to the consumer.
  • Consumers will have increased satisfaction with their garage door, knowing their door has verifiable ratings for key performance criteria.
  • With specific posted ratings, it will be easier to provide the proper product for a particular application.
  • Consumers will be less confused and skeptical when they compare like products.
  • You can quickly and easily demonstrate a product's compliance with code requirements such as wind load, R-value, and fire-related issues for foam plastics.

Sawyer said the program began because the industry expected that governmental and regulatory bodies would soon pursue enacting requirements for labeling and certification of all windows and doors. "By DASMA taking a leadership role in developing and implementing the program," he said, "we ensure that proper performance criteria are determined by those who understand garage doors and the industry."

Dealers React

"I think it's an excellent idea," said Jim Grace of Overhead Door of Providence, R.I. "The end user will benefit tremendously, and it will keep all the dealers on equal par." Grace said he has lost jobs because others have furnished springs that didn't meet the specification.

"There's no way the end user will know if it's the right spring," said Grace. "It's important that the springs are what they say they are."

Steve Murnan of Omaha Door & Window, Omaha, Neb., said that the certified R-value rating will be helpful. "R-values have been a problem because there's so many different ways to determine it," said Murnan. "It's good that (the program) is independently administered, because it gets to be a numbers game between competitors. Somebody always seems to be able to produce a better number."

Murnan thinks the certification program may encourage consumers to buy better doors. "With certified ratings, you might be able to up-sell more often," he said. "If a consumer sees a rating that indicates that the door is going to last longer, they might be willing to spend a little more money."


Widespread Participation Expected

Richard Brenner, president of DASMA, expects excellent industry participation in the program. "This program is the result of years of hard work by a broad-based coalition of manufacturers and associates in the industry," he said. "This program will help manufacturers, dealers, and specifiers with selection criteria and will hopefully help the industry up-sell to better products."

So far, a significant number of major manufacturers have indicated that they will submit products for certification. The first doors with certification labels are expected to begin appearing in 2003.

Manufacturer participation in the program is voluntary, and manufacturers can also voluntarily choose which products will seek labeling. All manufacturers, not just DASMA members, can participate in the program. DASMA members, however, represent more than 95 percent of the garage doors sold in North America.

The new garage door performance rating system is the product of five years of work by the DASMA Commercial & Residential Garage Door Division. The program was formally approved by the DASMA membership at its annual meeting in January 2002. The certification labels will be promoted in a wide variety of publications with several audiences, including building code officials, builders, architects, and specifiers, and the insurance industry.