The Resurrection of JMF New Zealand Ltd

JMF New Zealand Ltd was started about 1968 and its shareholders were the members of the New Zealand Joinery Manufacturers Federation or NZJMF (now rebranded as Master Joiners) It was used as a development company by Federation members, because aluminum windows had been introduced into the market some years previously and had an enormous effect on the timber window industry. Up until then timber windows had 100% of the market and this has reduced to currently about 3-4%.

The idea was to have a tested timber window to compete with aluminum, which complied with the standard NZS:4211, so JMF contracted JASMaD (now JASMAX) Architects to design a new style of window. They got the idea from the UK to develop what they called the Sundyne range of windows. However, because the window was completely different from the types that were currently in use and a door system was never developed, some members started pulling out of JMF, and sold their shares to joiners that were left in the company. The shares at one stage were owned by four companies – Flack & Atkinson and Adelaide Joinery in Wellington and Maddren Joinery and MJN McNaughton in Auckland.

In the mid 1990s, Maddren decided with the approval of JMF to develop the Alti window which had timber on the inside and aluminum on the outside. It was a copy of some window systems in North America and was the first thermally broken window in NZ. Unfortunately, as with the JMF timber window, door systems were difficult to manufacture. The first attempt was a foil over timber, and needed a machine to be built to produce the product. It had its drawbacks as a system and as a result, McNaughton did not become involved in Alti until an extrusion was used to cover the timber. It was basically a JMF overlay sash with an aluminum extrusion on the outside of the frame and sash.

JMF grew again as a result and there were 10 or 12 companies manufacturing the Alti window around NZ. Later, when Maddren closed their joinery company, they sold the rights to Fletcher Aluminum who turned it into an aluminum window with timber on the inside. McNaughton Windows & Doors are still producing the Alti window. Eventually all of the members withdrew from JMF except McNaughton who always believed that the tested JMF timber window and the IP should not be lost to the industry.

McNaughton began using the rebated sizes from JMF in their products because the system had already met the NZ standards. In 2007, they decided to start a programme of testing the traditional NZ timber window design using IP from the original JMF tests. They were delayed because of the pressures of running their own business but eventually booked time to start the testing programme.

In 2010 the Department of Building and Housing indicated that the timber window industry had to take control of its own destiny and have windows that comply with NZS:4211 or there would be no guarantees they would be accepted in the future. In response, Ken Monk made a concerted effort to get all joiners involved with Master Joiners to meet this objective. McNaughton realised that without the MJ members, progress would be slow due to lack of funding and there would not be a market for a licensed window system. Both parties decided that there would be a mutual benefit if they could find a way of working together on the testing programme. The result was that an agreement between MJ and McNaughton was reached and MJ purchased 50% of JMFNZ Ltd.

There are still a number of steps to be followed once testing is completed to ensure that full value is gained for members.

Presentations to DBH and Local Authorities will be required to show the results of our tests, including testing to E2AS1 (Installation) and providing technical compliance information which will ensure that local councils understand the dangers of non-compliance and make their job of specifying and enforcing compliance much easier. We will also need to communicate with architects to bring them up to date with this long awaited information. Local associations may be best to carry out follow up visits to local architects, specifiers and builders to resolve any issues.

JMF will carry out regular Quality Audits to maintain the integrity and credibility of JMF by ensuring that standards are met by joiners using NZS:4211 tags. This may also be best done by local associations carrying out checks and also keeping eyes open for below standard product being used on projects or permitted by councils, architects or specifiers. Our experience is that architects are keen on lifting the standard. JMF will require commitment to a code of conduct for its members, and will enforce disciplinary action for members who fail to maintain the 4211 standard.

A recent example illustrates the benefits the standard will bring. A joiner who makes European style timber joinery wanted to join the scheme so he could say he was 4211 & E2 compliant. It was explained that this would not work and he needed to do testing of his profiles which could cost $2-300,000. It appeared that he had been asked to supply proof for a job he had nearly completed as the specification stated it had to comply with NZS:4211. This will potentially be a very expensive exercise for this joiner, who he has indicated he probably will have to stop doing this type of joinery as he can’t afford the testing.

The objective of the DBH is to ensure that only compliant joinery is used in buildings and so we encourage all timber joiners to become members of the JMF 4211 scheme. This could be the most exciting thing that has happened in the industry for many years, and if we all work together, we can all win together and ensure the future growth and success of the industry. As Master Joiners’ executive has been saying for some time now, membership of JMF is excellent value, and doing nothing is not an option.

There is a major opportunity for Master Joiners to raise general awareness of NZS:4211 and the advantages of timber joinery over its competitors. This is even more significant in light of proposals around insulation ratings and energy star ratings for joinery.