Industry Issues

by Charles Cumpston

LAS VEAGS—Following the keynote speaker, the BEC Conference in Las Vegas moved into industry issues.

Bob Leyland, vice president of sales for Kawneer North America, made a presentation about industry innovations over the past century. Coincidentally, the company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

He told attendees that the industry has always made products which look toward the future and also improve quality of life for people. This includes safety and recyclability. “It’s interesting that two of the primary materials our industry uses, glass and aluminum, can be recycled.” He also made the point that during the past century it has taken an average of 26 years for an innovation to come into common use.

Leyland closed by saying that safety and security and energy efficiency are driving the market today, and they are opening up opportunities for the industry to continue to offer solutions. He said there would be more ultra-thermal products and more use of dual skin curtainwalls. “When we look back, we see how important change and innovation are, and this continues into the future,” he stated.

NFRC Certification

Joel Smith and Greg CarneyFollowing his presentation was a discussion of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) certification program with Greg Carney, GANA technical director, and Joel Smith, GANA NFRC Liaison Committee chair. Both have been very active in representing the industry for NFRC’s attempt to set up a certification program for commercial construction projects.

In introducing them, Max Perilstein said that this issue affects everyone in the industry—contract glaziers, suppliers. He stated that the NFRC non-residential product certification program can’t be stopped, but the effort is to contain it and make it work for the industry.

GANA is battling to make it a cost-effective program, Smith told attendees. “Our goal is to get you involved in this issue. Unless we challenge it, this program will impose heavy financial burdens on all of us, but particularly the contract glaziers,” he said.

He went through the history of why NFRC was created (in response to window manufacturers’ outlandish claims about energy efficiency) and how it developed a voluntary certification program which has, in essence become mandatory due to code language.

“Our industry is not opposed to the development of a whole system product calculation for fenestration products,” he said. Beyond this component modeling program, NFRC is proposing that the final calculation, and the product be further simulated, validated, and certified, possibly on-site, by for-profit testing labs. “This is the line in the sand,” Smith stated. “This is what we oppose.”

He added, “You are going to pay for a performance calculation and pay for simulation testing and for on-site inspection.” GANA wants accredited users to be able to access NFRC software for whole system performance calculation and does not want on-site inspections. He said that no contract glaziers have taken part in the debate on this subject and it is this group which will be responsible for it once it is implemented.

Carney gave examples of what costs would be based on the program that is currently being proposed. These ranged from 16 cents per square foot of fenestration area to 80 cents, depending on the size of the project.

“The responsibility of this program is going to be on someone’s shoulders and we believe it is going to be the glazing contractor,” he stated. “We think these charges are excessive and are going to make the decision-making process change for builders. Because of increased costs, they are going to meet specs rather than exceed them.” Carney, who is chairperson of the NFRC Non-residential Products Task Group (Ratings), made the point that GANA is calling on the Department of Energy for additional oversight of NFRC.

There was also a call for contract glaziers to attend the NFRC meeting in Minneapolis in July to show industry concern and involvement in the process.

A vigorous question-and-answer period followed the presentation which attendees trying to find out more specifically what would be required of them.

Take a Break

The morning ended with Chris Barry’s discussion of why glass sometimes breaks. He heads technical services for Pilkington North America, and his presentation was a technical look at glass breaks.

He started his presentation by explaining that it was appropriate for the location because both glass breakage and the roulette wheel is a matter of statistics.

Glass breaks when an applied load exceeds the strength of the glass, Barry explained. The big question is: Was the load too great or was the glass too weak? He then spent his time exploring this question. In some of his examples it was the glass and in others it was the load. The clues are in how the glass cracked.


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