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SAWDAC Newsletter: Spring 2020


June 3, 2020
By Siding Window and Door Association of Canada

Topics

Window Wise update
In 2019, window contractors certified under the Window Wise national certification program installed over 30,000 windows across Canada. Window Wise, now in its 24th year, has proven to be an invaluable asset for quality-conscious window dealers.

Background
In the mid-’90s SAWDAC was challenged to find a solution to an epidemic of poorly installed windows. After consulting with many industry groups and carrying out market research, a quality assurance program with five key components (listed below) was developed. Window Wise was the answer that guaranteed a quality window, properly installed. Window Wise gave homeowners wanting to replace their windows a list of approved windows and a list of certified window contractors from a trusted, independent source.

Window Wise program components:

  • Approved windows
  • Certified contractors
  • Trained and certified installers
  • Random job inspections
  • A quality assurance guarantee

There are over 2,000 window manufacturers in Canada and over 15,000 window contractors. Many windows aren’t even tested according to the CSA A440 standard and very few contractors have trained and certified installers. In 1995, no window installers were trained because no replacement window installation course existed. SAWDAC corrected that problem by creating a one-day window installation course for experienced installers, which included a 125-page manual and videos on proper installation methods.

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All Window Wise-approved windows are Energy Star-qualified. They are tested and must meet minimum performance standards, which vary from region to region. Window Wise-certified contractors have been in business a minimum of two years, carry $2 million in liability insurance, abide by the SAWDAC code of ethics and offer a minimum five-year workmanship guarantee.

Window installers are trained through the Window Wise installation course and are certified by having their work randomly inspected. Every homeowner who purchases from a Window Wise contractor receives a five-year guarantee from SAWDAC that backs up the protection offered by the window manufacturer and the window contractor.

Chris George, president of Douglas Window and Door in London, Ont., has been on the Window Wise program since it began in 2016. He says, “My company belongs to Window Wise for two reasons: consistent workmanship and marketing. Getting all our installers trained and practicing the same methods greatly improved the production side of our business. Callbacks dropped off dramatically with a resultant decrease in service costs. Most importantly, the entire team seems to have an elevated sense of pride in everything we do. Our salespeople find that Window Wise causes an increase in closing ratio due to the enhanced customer confidence after the program is explained. Since we joined Window Wise, our sales have increased as well as the gross margins. I can confidently say that Window Wise is a very important part of our success.”

The Window Wise large project program
If, for example, 27 town houses in a condominium corporation decide to change all their windows, Window Wise provides a cost-effective way of ensuring the job is specified correctly and installed properly. Window Wise dealer Beingessner of St. Jacobs. Ont., says, “Before Window Wise came along, numerous contractors would bid on large projects that typically had very poorly defined specifications. It was difficult for engineers and specifiers to define window quality and measure workmanship. Contracts were chosen primarily on price with the result that owners were often unhappy with their new windows. Window Wise sets a standard for the window and the installation method. A Window Wise inspector visits the work site when the work begins and at intervals thereafter. Many engineers and specifiers now invite only Window Wise-certified contractors to bid on this type of work, which makes it better for everyone involved.”

 

For more information about The Window Wise national certification program visit windowwise.com.


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