What’s News November/December 2021

November 9th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Leading News

Deceuninck Invokes Force Majeure Clause in Contracts

After suppliers of raw materials and additives invoked the pertinent force majeure clauses in their contracts with Deceuninck North America, company officials delivered the same message to its door and window customers, notifying them of additional product shortages and possible price increases. A “force majeure” clause (French for “superior force”) is a contract provision designed to relieve parties from performing their contractual obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise. In this case, circumstances began with Hurricane Ida, officials for Deceuninck said.

After Ida left the Gulf Coast region with structural damages, damaged infrastructure and without power, suppliers in the region were forced to shut down “or greatly reduce or temporarily halt operation” of facilities, officials reported. “Due to the unfolding of this crisis, Deceuninck North America is therefore forced to declare force majeure effective immediately until our supply chain for these items stabilizes with more visibility,” said a customer service bulletin. According to the bulletin, the company declared a force majeure condition “with respect to production and shipment of fenestration products in North America.”

Vice president of sales and marketing Greg Koch confirmed that the notice was made out of an abundance of caution, “although we are under force majeure from a lot of our suppliers,” Koch pointed out. “As they began to accumulate, we felt it was a wise decision to stick a stake in the ground and let our customers know that we’re battling that. And we explained it to them in that way—that this isn’t something that we’re eminently in danger of running out of material, but we are up against a challenge in the market for getting material.”

As part of a global group, the company has the ability to leverage alternate sources, Koch said, but, “There’s a lot of work that goes into making [alternate sources] quickly available,” he added. “If we’re looking for something to replace something [with], we have to get it to our material science teams, to ensure that the new material is a match for the company’s needs.”

With decades-long customers in its portfolio, “The vast majority understand,” he said. “They don’t like it … but ideally we get through this and prices start to come down at some point, and we return to normal. If there is a normal at this point.”

At press time, officials told [DWM] the company was “still under force majeure from multiple raw material and additive suppliers.” As a result, force majeure conditions remain in effect. “Our supply chain management team has diligently navigated the challenging situation to avoid any significant material shortage issues,” an official statement says. “We continue to proactively monitor and manage the situation, our supply chain, and evaluate other viable supply options.”

M&A

Fenplast Acquires Certain Assets of Atis Group

Quebec-based Fenplast Windows and Doors has acquired the residual assets of Atis Group. According to company officials, the move will allow Fenplast to increase its production capacity. Nearly all affected employees will retain their jobs, they said, and the company will now be known as Altek Windows and Doors.

Among the acquired assets are the former Laflamme Portes et Fenêtres plants located in St. Apollinaire, and an Altek Windows and Doors aluminum plant, located in Saint-Joseph de Beauce. Extrusions S.P, located in Terrebonne, was also part of the agreement.

Specialty Building Products to Acquire Reeb Millwork

North American distributor Specialty Building Products (SBP) signed a definitive agreement to acquire Reeb Millwork Corp., a fabricator and supplier of interior and exterior doors. As part of SBP, Reeb will maintain its existing brand name, geographic locations and management team, led by CEO Scott Kerr. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

At press time, the acquisition was expected to close before the end of October 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Builders FirstSource Moves Deeper Into Software With Apollo

Builders FirstSource Inc. has acquired Apollo software assets from construction technology startup Katerra. The transaction was valued at approximately $4.5 million. The Apollo platform provides design collaboration and workflow, construction budgeting and scheduling, and field task assignment with mobile functionality. Builders FirstSource says the acquisition aligns with its digital strategy to address what it deems “inefficiencies” in the home building process and complements the company’s recent acquisition of WTS Paradigm LLC.

2020 Acquires FeneTech

2020, a provider of applications and enterprise solutions for interior design, space planning and furniture manufacturing, announced it has acquired FeneTech Inc. Officials say the acquisition expands 2020’s end-to-end solutions into the fenestration market, as it plans to offer extended solutions to new and existing customers for the design, construction and placement of doors and windows. Officials for FeneTech say the acquisition extends its existing reach as well.

2020 CEO Mark Stoever says he is thrilled to welcome the FeneTech team.

“Our vision is to provide end-to-end solutions to customers to streamline their business from inspiration to installation and FeneTech’s solutions complement our vision and existing portfolio of products perfectly,” he said. “Ron Crowl, Horst Mertes and their high-performing teams both emulate the culture of technical excellence and customer satisfaction that has been key to both our companies’ success.”

Legal

Pennsylvania Company Sued After Asking Owner to Help

Nello Construction Co. finds itself in the defendant’s seat after an incident involving a window installation injured a homeowner two years ago. Gerhardt Konig is suing the general contractor from Carnegie, Pa., for negligence, after suffering injuries while helping the company to install a window in his home.

The incident in question necessitated the use of a “bucket truck/cherry picker piece of equipment to hoist the window … and to aid in installation.” In the civic complaint, Konig alleges that Nello Construction “had but three workers on site which was inadequate to install the window.” Konig asserts that the employees of the company asked him to help.

Konig claims he was injured when, working from “the bucket guiding the window into place, at the direction of the defendant’s employees,” the bucket jolted, pinning Konig’s head against the house.

As a result of the alleged negligence and subsequent injury, the claim states that Konig “has in the past and may in the future suffer” from physical pain, suffering and inconvenience as well as nervous and emotional tension and anxiety. He also claims that the injuries have and may continue to “limit his normal activities,” that substantial sums of money for medical treatment and care have been and may continue to be incurred; that “his general health, strength and vitality have been impaired;” that he has lost income and may do so in the future—and that all of these “personal injuries and damages are possibly permanent in nature.”

He is asking for “an amount in excess of $35,000, exclusive of costs and interest.”

Konig’s wife, Arielle, is also named as a plaintiff. She is claiming suffering from “loss of her husband’s care, comfort, companionship, consortium, services and society” and is asking for “an amount in excess of $35,000, exclusive of costs and interest,” separate from her husband.

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