Validation and Labeling Discussed During NFRC Task Group Meetings

by Ellen Giard

The National Fenestration Rating Council's (NFRC) summer meeting began today at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver. Members started work early this morning with a number of task group meetings, including a heavy focus on the development of the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) program. While a number of points were raised during the task group meetings, all recommendations will be forwarded to their respective subcommittees for discussion later this week

Michael Thoman with Architectural Testing Inc. led the first CMA meeting, the validation task group. Thoman said the group has had a number of conference calls over the past nine months and was optimistic that today's large group would generate a good amount of feedback and input. He began by discussing an outline of the validation procedure for the framing system.

According to the outline, each framing system product line will be required to have validation testing prior to be being accepted into the CMA with the exception of product lines that may be included in the validation test matrix. In addition, the outline will not require validation for the total products calculation done using CMA software, after validation of framing system members.

"I'd like feedback on whether these two seem reasonable and can we go forward without results of the research project [a separate group working to determine how framing systems should be grouped]," said Thoman.

Tom Culp, with Birch Point Consulting, who is leading the research project, said the group's goal was to have a ballot of technical language by the fall meeting. Greg Carney with the Glass Association of North America said one of his concerns is that it's important to truly define what the product line is and what defines it as a system. "I believe that it's important to understand the product line definitions, but I don't think that's the task of this group," said Thoman.

Carney responded by saying that he does think that the validation testing should be done before the products go into the "buckets" and that users then "use the tools that have been proven as the resources that work."

Test sample construction and determining validation were also covered during the session.

In closing the meeting, Thoman said the committee planned to have a ballot for the frame grouping rules by the fall meeting and would likely have proposed language for the validation procedure to be discussed.

The CMA labeling task group also met this morning, chaired by Charlie Curcija with Carli Inc. The group discussed the draft of a label certificate form that will be used by the approved certification entity.

Carney said his concern with the proposed label is that it can be confusing for the code officials.

"Architectural specifications in no way relate to this format the building code official could not look at this form and the architectural specifications and know they have the same product," said Carney. "All of the identification relates to NFRC and not the real product it needs the reality of what everything is called by the manufacturer."

The label provides the actual size of the product as well as NFRC size, which some attendees see as a good compromise.

Focus group feedback from the building code community regarding the proposed CMA label certification was also reviewed. Leonard Greenberger with Potomac Communications Group led the discussion. Some of the points made by the building code officials in the focus group include:

  • They trust the numbers they see on the NFRC labels;
  • They would like to see the NFRC name on the CMA certificate;
  • They have a high level of respect for the commercial industry but said it would be helpful to have some type of certification program;
  • They would like to know how they can know that what's on the label is what's actually used in the building;
  • They would like to see more information (U-factor, visible transmittance, SHGC, etc.) on the label; and

They found the actual versus NFRC sizes to be the most confusing part of the label."They're willing to accept both, but they wanted an explanation as to why they are both there, though there was a strong preference for the actual size," said Greenberger of the last point.

While the labeling task group debated what information should be included, they did not come to consensus on the matter.

Task group meetings continue this afternoon with the CMA PCP and IG Certification, followed by the membership meeting. The meeting continues through July 26.