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USGNN Original StoryGANA's Fire-Rated Glazing Council Forwards Position Documents to CTC

Glass Week, the Glass Association of North America's (GANA) annual committee meeting, opened with a meeting of the Fire-Rated Glazing Council (FRGC) on Thursday afternoon.

At the GANA Fall Conference in September in Dallas, the group had agreed to look at the current labeling system for fire-rated glazing and assist in guiding the International Code Council's (ICC) Code Technology Committee (CTC) in recommending an appropriate marking system for fire-rated glass for the next code cycle (CLICK HERE for related story). Since that meeting, the Labeling Task Group had reviewed the current labeling system and how it is being used in the marketplace. Among the main concerns presented during the task group session was that the information could be confusing in how it is presented to the marketplace.

For example, "The problem I've had with the current marking system is that it can be misconstrued as being tested and approved for the end use," commented code consultant Kate Steel.

Task group chair Jeff Griffiths of SAFTI FIRST summed up the background on the undertaking: "A system like this, a marking system that can be manipulated based on interpretation of the code in some way or a system that purports to be a guidelines as to what is a code-compliant application of a product is not really serving this industry or the end users. So we felt this was a shortcoming of the marking system."

One recommendation Griffiths said had been discussed to suggest to the CTC is adding a column to the existing table in chapter 7 of the ICC's section on fire-rated glazing labeling that would define the markings as needed. Because this was only one suggestion, and the group remains split on the appropriateness of the current labeling, system, a motion ultimately was made and passed to accept the position documents the task group had put together on the topic and forward it "without bias to the CTC."

The group did have some discussion on the system before approving the motion.

"Although not perfect the current letter designations to a good job of addressing the reality of three different testing standards," commented Jeff Razwick of Technical Glass Products. Razwick added that while he felt the current labels are a "fair and accurate representation of test standards … there's room for improvement."

Hank Krueger of Anemostat added that whatever solution is found, it will remain "an imperfect system" because it relies on the expertise of the code inspector. "He's approving something that he's really not an expert in." Krueger added, "We've been labeling wired glass for 20 years—-and still most of the inspectors don't know it's supposed to be labeled at all."

While there was some hope of being able to put together a specific recommendation for CTC, as opposed to background information, the group ultimately passed the motion with the understanding that being able to create a group-wide recommendation on the labeling system would be unlikely at this time.

"I don't think that given the timeline we have to submit to CTC we can come up with a consensus opinion," commented Steel.
"I believe it's obvious to the CTC study group, and most everybody on our task group, that this marking system is somewhat of a Pandora's box and it has to be reigned in in some form or fashion otherwise us as manufacturers are going to get stuck in the middle," Griffiths added. "I don't think this is a topic where majority rules."

"It's gotten to the point where this has to be reviewed by an independent group other than us," agreed Bret Penrod of Pilkington.

Glass Week continues through Sunday, with a joint meeting of the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference; BEC continues through Tuesday. Stay tuned to USGNN.com* for further updates.

CLICK HERE for the USGlass article on the fire-rated glazing labeling system.

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