BHMA History - Timeline
Today, more than 80 percent of all U.S. manufacturers of builders hardware are BHMA members and, together, these companies produce the vast majority of the hardware used in the nation’s commercial and institutional buildings.
Since its inception, BHMA has formed alliances with other associations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA, 1980s), the Steel Door Institute (SDI, 1990s) and the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NAFSM, 2000s) in an effort to focus on general safety issues regarding educational institutions, as well as institutions experiencing weather-related disasters.
BHMA has authored some 39 commercial and residential standards and sponsors ANSI/BHMA certification programs to help assure the life safety and security for the industry and for homeowners.
1925 - 1950 - Origins: How We Started
BHMA was originally founded in 1925 as the Hardware Manufacturers’ Statistical Association (HMSA), with volunteer management.
HSMA’s primary function was to gather and distribute statistics.
The first president of the HSMA was Walter C. Allen of Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company.
World War II put the HMSA in a pivotal position when it came to the allocation of strategic materials. It was through association representation that materials were allocated to hardware manufacturers.
The events of the war took HMSA beyond statistical gathering to serving all hardware manufacturers in the process of applying for material allocations, creating the need for another class of membership for those who wanted representation in Washington but did not want to contribute statistics. With the new addition, both classes of membership worked together to serve the industry during the years of World War II.
After WWII, HMSA returned to its original task of gathering and distributing statistics.
1950 - 1975 - Expanding Membership Brings About New Name and New Mission
The 1960s brought change: a new name — Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA); a new location for its headquarters -- Chicago; a new more experienced and knowledgeable executive director.
As the first official year being recognized as BHMA, 1962 was the year the first BHMA Member Directory was issued. The first BHMA president was Leo J. Pantas of Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company.
In 1964, the BHMA standards program was launched.
In 1969, BHMA membership wrestled with how the standards should be published, distributed and objectively reviewed. As a result, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) became the vehicle for BHMA to obtain consensus recognition of its standards. This third-party review and objectivity would later be the main reasons for the Department of Defense's (DoD) willingness to adopt the BHMA-sponsored ANSI Standards.
The first standard was published in 1970 under the BHMA imprint (BHMA 101 for Butts and Hinges, followed by BHMA 201 for Cabinet Hardware). These standards were offered at $1.00 each.
1975 - 2000 - BHMA Accredited As Leader In Architectural Hardware Standards
BHMA is officially incorporated in the state of New York in 1977.
In 1982, the BHMA Board of Directors elected to publish standards for outside consumption, ONLY after the standards had been approved by ANSI, which made the association a small but significant accredited standards developer under the ANSI umbrella. This practice was proactively put in place by BHMA as the result of the Supreme Court ruling in the Hydrolevel Case. Ultimately, the Federal Supply Service adopted the ANSI/BHMA Standards, as did the Department of Defense.
The mid-1980s brought in a new period of industry collaboration: BHMA began to have joint meetings with the Door and Hardware Institute and became a participating association in sponsoring Hardware Industry Week and the National Hardware Show.
BHMA instituted the Award of Excellence program in 1989. Each year, BHMA presents the award to a non-BHMA member who is a distributor or hardware professional and who has demonstrated excellence in representing the needs of architects, contractors, users and manufacturers. To see a list of the Award of Excellence recipients, click here.
Around 1998, BHMA established the first third-party certification program for builders hardware, eventually launching the BHMA Certified Products Directory for locks, exit devices, door closures, electromagnetic locks and hinges. Today, the BHMA Certified Products Directory covers 23 of the 41 standards.
2000 - Present - BHMA Takes on Environmental Issues and a New Residential Program
In 2000, the BHMA Certified logo was approved, and was then officially registered as a product label in 2006.
In 2004, with a seat at the table of the International Codes Council (ICC) and other codes and regulatory bodies, BHMA committed resources to monitoring the development of model codes and standards that are used in the design, building and compliance process when it comes to constructing safe structures. By 2010, BHMA was relied upon by the ICC and other groups for its expertise and thought leadership on relevant issues as they relate to the codes development process.
BHMA began the publication of “Standards at a Glance” in 2004, a free-of-charge, easy-to-read, condensed overview of select ANSI/BHMA certified product standards as a quick reference for those in the building industry.
In 2013, the association moved the BHMA Certified Products Directory online and increased its search-ability options. “Hardware Highlights” replaced the “Standards at a Glance” as single page- downloadable summaries of many of the industry’s product standards.
In 2014, BHMA, along with a coalition of North American manufacturers, worked with UL Environment to establish the first Product Category Rule (PCR) for builders hardware. The PCR is required when developing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). To accompany the program, BHMA developed a new Sustainability page for its website and created a new ‘green’ logo.
In 2015, BHMA received approval from ANSI to publish the industry’s first dedicated residential lock standards — ANSI/BHMA A156.39-2015 Residential Locksets & Latches and ANSI/BHMA A156.40-2015 Residential Deadbolts. Both standards established performance requirements for products used in single and multifamily dwellings and include tests for durability, strength and finish. Upon publication, BHMA launched a program to teach consumers how and why to purchase certified hardware.