UL 325 Voted Top Story of the Decade
The 1993 federal regulatory legislation affecting garage door openers (GDOs) emerged as the top news story of the 1990s for the garage door and access systems industry, according to a recent poll conducted by Door & Access Systems (DAS) newsmagazine.
That federal law required that all residential GDOs manufactured for sale in the U.S. after January 1, 1993, must comply with UL 325, an Underwriters Laboratories standard concerning reversing mechanisms on GDOs. Spurred by the entrapment deaths of several children, the law mandated that GDOs must include an extra reversing mechanism, such as a photoelectric eye or a sensing edge.
Flossie Mohler, vice president of sales and marketing for Miller Edge, said, “The 1993 changes to UL 325 forced a paradigm shift in the door industry. As a result, our industry has become more focused and proactive in regard to safety and liability issues.”
According to the poll, the second most significant story of the decade was DASMA’s (Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association) hiring of a technical director to represent the industry before governmental and code organizations.
In 1996, faced with increasing product regulation about safety, entrapment, flammability of insulation, and windloading, DASMA hired Joe Hetzel to help the industry present a united voice to legislative bodies and building code organizations.
Al Mitchell, Wayne-Dalton’s director of research, saw the move as a major step for the industry. “The appearance of a technical director to speak for the industry began the step for national recognition,” he said.
James C. Dreyer of Pre Finish Metals added, “The addition of Joe Hetzel as technical director of DASMA has given the organization a new dimension of leadership both to national governmental committees as well as increased knowledge to DASMA membership.”
The major mergers of industry associations of 1995-96 also scored highly in the DAS poll. Made official in 1996, National Garage Door Manufacturers Association (NAGDM) and Door Operator and Remote Controls Manufacturers Association (DORCMA) merged into DASMA.
The dealer organizations, Door and Operator Dealers Association (DODA) and Far Western Garage Door Association (FWGDA), also joined, creating the International Door Association (IDA). The DASMA merger and the IDA merger ranked third and sixth in the poll, respectively.
Windload and Pinch Issues
The increasing attention to windloaded garage doors and pinch protection ranked four and five in the DAS survey. Like the UL 325 issue, consumer safety was the driving issue in these stories.
Alan Leist, director of engineering at Clopay, saw these kinds of issues as the real source of the major stories of the 90s. Building codes issues, he said, “have driven industry movement in proactive standards development and code activity, and they highlighted and supported the need for the technical director.”
Analyzing the stories on the basis of root causes, Leist also saw the growth of international sales as “a core force resulting in the pinch resistant movement.”
Even though the expansion of the international market ranked low in the survey, Leist saw it as a major development for the garage door business. “It highlights the globalization of our industry,” he added.
More Surveys Coming
The DAS survey form was published in the Winter 1999 issue of this magazine, encouraging respondents to vote for the top three stories that “had the greatest influence on our industry.” Completed surveys were to be faxed or sent to DASMA headquarters before February 14.
The next DAS survey will collect opinions about primary appeals of the International Garage Door Expo. To participate in the survey, see the faxable form on page 2, or stop by the DASMA booth at the IDA Expo in Las Vegas, April 26-29.
The Top 10 Industry Stories of the Decade