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USGNN Original StoryCulp and Carney Advise Glaziers on NFRC, Other Upcoming Code and Standard Changes

During the Building Envelope Contractor's (BEC) Conference, put on by the BEC Division of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) earlier this week in Las Vegas, the audience of contract glaziers were presented with information on how the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) certification program will soon begin to impact their work.

Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting explained the urgency in understanding the ins and outs of the NFRC's Component Modeling Approach (CMA) for commercial project certification: "This is go year," he said. "This is going to impact you starting this year." (CLICK HERE for related story). A 6-month pilot program, focused on California, is scheduled to begin in March, with full implementation of the program beginning in October.

Yet, as Culp surveyed his audience, it became clear that only a few of the attendees already were familiar with CMA. Half of the attendees raised their hands when asked if they had heard of NFRC. Perhaps 20 had already been asked about NFRC certification as part of a job; half that number was familiar with the rating program. But as Culp pointed out, certification will very soon be finding its way into specifications, and glaziers will need to begin scheduling in time for potentially lengthy delays for suppliers to certify their products (a process that can take one day to 100, Culp said, depending on whether the system is new or custom), as well as considerable additional costs.

Culp advised the audience to keep in mind several items when preparing for certification: understand what the system will require; develop a strategy for handling certification requests; consider splitting out NFRC certification costs as a separate line item on bids; plan for the time to get a label certificate; talk about certification with your metal and glass suppliers; and support your associations.

Greg Carney, GANA technical director, explained why that last item is important. He provided some history on NFRC and GANA's involvement with it, as a voice for the commercial glazing industry (CLICK HERE for one related story).

"We still question whether there's a need for this program in the commercial marketplace," Carney explained.

Culp agreed, cautioning the audience that many people involved in the NFRC process "feel that this encourages the use of standard systems, and we all know that the custom systems generally have better performance."

Carney noted that at this point GANA can only see how the industry will react. Will spacer and framing manufacturers enter their information into the databases? Will the certification program be enforced? Will the associations still need to be involved in NFRC meetings now that CMA is involved? Only time will tell.

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