Quebec City--Progress on the issue of the non-residential
certification was the order of the day during the National Fenestration
Rating Council (NFRC) meeting that is currently underway in Quebec
City. Following the contentious meeting in Chicago in April, attendees
from the non-residential side were both happy and surprised.
An alternative flow chart for the certification process was introduced
during the non-residential products task group (ratings) meeting,
with general agreement that the system simplifies the earlier
model and provides useful information that the industry can live
The new flow chart, which NFRC says will be posted on its website
within a few days, will be open for public comment for a 30-day
period after its posting. The goal is to finalize the flow chart
by the next meeting in November, and once it is finalized to start
developing the language of the program.
"We've gotten comments from a range of people (those in
the industry, consultants) as to what would be a viable program,"
stated Greg Carney, technical director of the Glass Association
of North America (GANA) and chair of the non-residential products
task group for ratings. "It is dramatically different from
the first draft," he said.
One of the major departures between the two is that the term
"responsible party" is dropped and replaced with "registered
design professional." This shifts the emphasis from the contract
glazier to the designer/architect.
Carney told the more than 40 people who attended the meeting
that a lot of the first draft was based on the NFRC's site built
and residential program. "This draft incorporates input from
the commercial industry for what it deems a program that is workable
and of use," he stated.
"It's a simplified approach to a certification program that
gives one option for being a design tool," he continued.
"One way NFRC can provide value is by being the one source
[to whom] the designer can go for meeting the criteria outlined.
This process is very well defined: How you comply. How you provide
documents to be in compliance. There is less policing because
that takes place in the industry."
Jim Benney, NFRC executive director told attendees that he is
"excited about the process and what you are doing."
He did ask the question, though, about the process with peer review
of framing systems: Are there concerns in the industry about sharing
information among peers?
Carney said that in certain aspects that would not be an issue.
"For ordinary applications, there is little difference between
what is available from all the suppliers. In larger, more sophisticated
applications, it's more challenging. In the massive custom curtainwall
applications the manufacturers would be more hesitant to share
their information," he stated.
Joel Smith of Arch Aluminum & Glass reiterated the second
draft approach by explaining the role AIA documents and contracts
play in building construction. "The AIA contracts and documents
very clearly spell out what is happening in construction,"
he explained. "They define qualitative requirements for the
products. The contract legally obligates the glazing contractor
to furnish and install specified and approved material. The industry
is not fraught with misrepresentation"