NFRC Says Companies Must Pay to Play When it Comes to the New CMA Program

It's been almost four years since the commercial glazing market began taking a serious, hardcore stance on issues involving the National Fenestration Ratings Counsel (NFRC), an organization that has historically concentrated its efforts on rating and certifying the thermal properties of residential fenestration. However, NFRC expanded its focus to include commercial glazing with the development of its Component Modeling Approach (CMA)-a move that has seen much resistance from contract glaziers, curtainwall companies and other suppliers serving this market. Why? Because many see the NFRC's attempts to regulate the energy performance of commercial glazing products as simply unnecessary.
"The commercial glazing industry is not against having our materials proven," said Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum & Glass. "It's the way we're being forced to do it; it's something we never asked for."
This, however, is not new; it's something that's been discussed and written about almost continually for more than three years. What is new is NFRC's proposed CMA fees structure.

The proposed fee schedule, according to information from NFRC was developed for the following reasons:
· To recoup annual operating costs by 2009;
· To recoup initial investment in seven years;
· To allocate the costs across the entire industry.

In a memo to NFRC members Jim Benney, NFRC executive director, said, "The development of the CMA program will require a significant investment from NFRC. In addition, NFRC will incur administrative costs involved in managing the development of CMA. All together, NFRC is expecting to spend some $2 million over the next 18 months, without any anticipated revenue stream. These monies will come from NFRC's strategic reserve. Fortunately, NFRC is a nonprofit, 501c (3) organization; therefore, the Board of Directors is looking at program fees that simply meet annual operating expenses--and hoping for a return on the capital expenditures that will be able to rebuild the reserve back to its current level in seven years."

The fee structure breaks down like this:

Bid Fees

One-time user fee Annual user fee (unlimited use):
$15 (member) $3,000 (member);
$30 (non-member) $5,000 (non-member)


  # of products in library 501 - 1000 # of products in library 501 - 1000 # of products in library > 1000
Per product fee (member) $50 $20 $10
Per product fee(nonmember) $100 $50 $20
Annual Participation Fee $1000 (members) $1500 (nonmembers)  

CAP (maximum) = $5000 (member); $7500 (nonmember)


  # of products in library 0 - 2000 # of products in library 2001 - 4000 # of products in library > 4000
Per product fee (member) $15 $7.50 $3.25
Per product fee(nonmember) $30 $15 $7.50
Annual Participation Fee $1000 (members) $1500 (nonmembers)  

CAP (maximum) = $30,000 (member); $45,000 (nonmember)


Per Product Fee (in Library) $100 (member) $150 (nonmember)
Annual Participation Fee $1000 (member) $1500 (nonmember)

Label (project) Certificate Fee

Project Size Fees
<1000 square feet $20
1001 - 10,000 square feet $100
10,001 - 50,000 square feet $500
50,001 - 100,000 square feet $1000
>100,000 square feet $2000

“In response to numerous requests from our members, the NFRC Board is pleased to present them with its projections on fees and costs associated with the CMA program,” says Benney. “In developing these projections, the Board sought to minimize costs, spread them as fairly as possible and maintain the financial strength and integrity of the organization as a whole. We look forward to discussing the projections with the members at our upcoming meeting in Denver next month.”

According to some NFRC member companies, these proposed fees will only add to the already high costs they are paying. Daniel Wacek with Viracon says their costs will "almost double" compared to what they paid last year to have their coated glass products listed in the NFRC glass library.

There's also resistance on the aluminum framing side.

"As an aluminum products manufacturer, the fees are unacceptable," says Perilstein. "There's a large inequity between what the aluminum companies will be paying compared to the other two divisions. But the bottom line is, it doesn't matter which group pays more of the costs, because the end user is still the one who will be paying for it; these costs will certainly be passed on to the contract glazier."

Regardless of how much different groups will have to pay to be a part of the program, they are still paying to participate in something that commercial glazing companies never wanted-though it's not effective until the program is written into the codes.

"No one will adhere to the program, though, until they are forced to-when it's in the codes," says Perilstein. California will likely be the first state building code to require it, though it will be 2009 before it could become a part of the International Building Code.