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USGNN Original StoryIGMA Director Issues Statement about NFRC

Margaret Webb, the executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) has issued a statement on the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The statement, reprinted from the spring 2008 IGMA newsletter, is as follows:

A number of industry representatives decided not to respond the most recent round of ballots on the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) program, letting NFRC know that our reason for not submitting ballots was NFRC's lack of responsiveness to the industry.

I, and others in the industry, have been trying to work with NFRC for some time but have met with a lack of success in attempting to influence NFRC's CMA program to satisfactorily address the needs and requirements of the commercial industry. While the NFRC membership has voted repeatedly on the same issues supporting proposals from the organizations representing the commercial industry, it's my opinion that the final results have not reflected the consensus of NFRC's total membership specifically the commercial side. Items such as spacer system, development of additional libraries and sub-assemblies, oversight of the manufacturer ACE and lack of streamlining the process have all been incorporated into the program and the software under development against the wishes of many in the industry. One of the more contentious items is the development of frame grouping rules which has been returned to the task group for re-development.

There were three negative ballots submitted on the recent CMA PCP ballot. At this past meeting, Gary Curtis, chair of the CMA subcommittee (Ratings) cited this as a success for the program. However industry member, Rich Biscoe of Architectural Testing Inc. corrected Gary, noting that many of the members of the industry including the trade associations have publicly stated that they do not support the system and have intentionally not submitted ballots. I agree with opinions Rich expressed at the meeting; a lack of negative ballots should not be construed as a measure of success, rather, it is a measure of the lack of support by the commercial industry for the program and a sad statement on the NFRC process. It appears that NFRC is poised to finalize its CMA program by January 2009 even without the support of the industry. Whether the program will be successful remains to be seen. What benefit will the program serve if industry ignores it, just as they have ignored the present site-built program?

Seventeen years ago, NFRC was created to address problems in reporting thermal performance values most of which were laid at the doorstep of seemingly "fraudulent" manufacturers. This underlying tone of unjustified mistrust of manufacturers continues today. All stakeholders that attend the NFRC meetings have conflicts of interest; many times these interests are diametrically opposed. The existence of conflicts is not surprising or even a "bad" thing. What is surprising is that no one seems to think it important enough to point out clear conflicts or question proposals that are of benefit only to the proponent. Politeness appears to take precedence over naming conflicts when you see them. It's interesting and discouraging to me to attend an NFRC meeting as a representative of manufacturers, yet feel marginalized because we support a cost effective, streamlined program, while it appears to me that other stakeholder groups which financially benefit from NFRC programs are heralded as defenders of the "public good."

It's enough to make one want to stand up and say, "The emperor has no clothes."

CLICK HERE to read the USGNN.com™ coverage of the recent NFRC CMA meeting in Nashville.

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