How BHMA Advanced into Working on Hardware Standards
BHMA® members comprise of over 80% of United States builders hardware manufacturers, thus producing a vast majority of the builders hardware used in commercial and institutional buildings. Currently, BHMA® has authored over 40 standards for builders hardware – including two in the residential sector. The association remains a leader for industry guidance and criteria with the sponsorship of ANSI/BHMA® certification programs to help assure the life safety and security for the industry and for homeowners. However, BHMA®’s standards initiatives began over a decade after its founding. BHMA® has an industrial history that shifted over time.
Founded in 1925, Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA®) started off as the Hardware Manufacturers’ Statistical Association (HMSA). With their primary function as gathering and distributing statistics, many of the association’s managing volunteers sought growth and change. In 1962, HSMA officially became BHMA®. The change in the name was paired with a change in the mission, and 1964 marked the launch of BHMA® standards. However, the biggest influential factor in this switch stemmed from a man who was not even a member of the association.
At the fall meeting held in Washington D.C. in 1962, the membership was exposed to multiple federally oriented programs. The next year, a man named Ray Watson, a Federal Supply Service executive who was in charge of preparing federal specifications for builders hardware, was the guest speaker. He noted that the specs were written by individuals who were not trained in hardware, and they were only reviewed every 8-9 years. He then prompted BHMA® to start writing the specifications themselves as the current ones were deemed unsatisfactory. Once written, BHMA® could submit them to Washington D.C. for adoption as a Federal Spec. Ray Watson unknowingly prompted BHMA®’s standards program then as the meeting’s guest speaker.
The following year, at the fall meeting in Ojai, California, the board approved the standards program. During this time, representatives of member companies suggested that an author specializing in builders hardware, Adon Brownell, provide his insight into whether or not this feat would be feasible. After his acceptance, he became the first BHMA® Product Standards Coordinator, interviewed manufactures and presented his program to BHMA®. From this point on, BHMA® undertook the standards writing project under its new organizational umbrella.