Volume 19,  Issue 1                                                   Spring 2005


Glass Industry Speaks Up Against NFRC’s Push Toward Commercial Glazing Certification and Ratings

During the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) March meeting in Hawaii members of the commercial glazing industry, including representatives from the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and individual companies, voiced concerns over the NFRC’s push for a non-residential certification and rating program. 

If implemented, the component-based rating system would consider all components of an insulating glass unit used in commercial glazing, including the glass, spacer system and frame.

Many members of the commercial glazing industry are concerned about how they will be affected by this program. Because certification for each component of an insulating glass (IG) unit would be required, the program would be very costly for IG fabricators, glazing contractors and other component suppliers (frame, spacer, sealant). Critics also charge that the program was created without any input from those involved most heavily with commercial glazing.

In 2001 the NFRC, well established in the residential construction market with its energy-performance certification and rating program, announced its intentions to work on a system for rating non-residential products. The NFRC board of directors approved that procedure last March, and since that time the organization’s non-residential products task group has been working to develop the program protocols. 

“The commercial fenestration manufacturer and glazing contractor have viewed the NFRC from a distance, as the organization’s focus was originally one on the residential window industry,” said Greg Carney, technical director for GANA. “NFRC has now turned its effort to the commercial industry and we must have the opportunity to voice our concerns of the direction of their efforts.”

Glass industry representatives brought the issue to the forefront in Hawaii during the NFRC’s spring membership meeting, where a question-and-answer session with the group’s board of directors took place over the matter. Questioners raised a number of topics relating to the NFRC’s non-residential task group.

Some issues of concern include the perceived lack of substantial evidence that there would be value in such a program for building owners/developers, architects; the fast speed with which subcommittee chairpersons are pushing for the program’s development; the perceived lack of insufficient evaluation and understanding of commercial window wall, curtainwall and slope glazing market; and the lack of opportunity for input from the commercial industry suppliers.

Oldcastle Glass Launches New Commercial Projects Group
Oldcastle Glass is launching a new commercial projects group that will supply architectural glass products throughout North America. To facilitate this initiative the company is constructing a $7.5 million glass fabrication plant in Wright City, Mo. The 65,000-square-foot plant will be on 15 acres and employee more than 100 people.

Chuck Kaplanek, who previously served as president of Floral Glass, now part of Oldcastle Glass, will lead the new commercial projects group. Other company executives will include Mary Carol Witry, vice president; Jeff Jensen, general manager; Doug Zacharias, director of business development; and Rick Wright, director of technical services. The team will be supported by the following senior architectural sales representatives: Ron Spellich, Cathy Finney, Leslie Sadler and John Krajewski, as well as technical service managers Robert Williams and Matt Manning.

Oldcastle has more than 45 operations serving every major city in the United States and Canada.

Glass-Related Proposals Heard During ICC Public Hearing 

The International Code Council’s (ICC) Code Development Hearings took place February 22-March 4 in Cincinnati, Ohio. During the hearings numerous code change proposals to the International Codes (I-Code), many of which could affect the glass and glazing industry, were heard.

Following are some decisions of interest pertaining to the International Building Codes (IBC) hearings. 

• For section 1604.3, a proposal to provide for the use of the same deflection limits for skylight and sloped glazing framing in sunroom panels, was approved.

• For section 1609.14, a proposal to require impact-resistant glazing or impact resistant coverings in wind-borne debris regions, was approved.

• A proposal to section 2405.5 for unit skylights was approved so the code chapter will now site the new specification AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440.

• A proposal to section 2406.1.2 that would permit the use of wired glass in occupancies other than group E (educational) was disapproved.

• Also disapproved was a proposal to section 2406.5 that would require safety glass to have visible markings to prevent impact.

• A proposal to update chapter 35 of the IBC to reference ASTM E 1300-04 was approved.

• The one proposal to the International Existing Building Code that concerned glass was also approved. The proposal to chapter 3 requires replacement glass to meet new installation requirements.

A number of proposals relating to glass and glazing were also heard pertaining to the International Building Code, Fire Safety.

• A proposal to section 706.7 was approved. The proposal permits fire protection rated glazing that is used in atria to be exempt from the 25-percent restriction on the amount of glazing permitted in fire barriers.

• A proposal to section 713.4 was disapproved that would reduce the perimeter fire barrier system performance to 30 minutes when curtainwall is not required to have a fire-resistance rating.

• Also for section 713.4, a proposal to reference ASTM E 2307, Standard Test Method for Determining Fire Resistance of Perimeter Fire Barrier Systems Using Intermediate-Scale, Multi-Story Test Apparatus, instead of the current description was approved. 

• A proposal to section 715.3 to permit alternative methods for determining fire-protection ratings similar to those permitted for fire-resistance ratings was approved.

• Also to 715.3, a proposal to require an "R" or "P" classification based upon whether the product provides a fire resistance or fire rating was disapproved.

• A proposal to 715.4 was withdrawn.  The proposal was to limit the area of glazing in exterior walls where the fire protection rating is more than 90 minutes.

• A proposal to section 404.5 of the IBC, General was withdrawn.  The proposal would permit the use of 20-minute fire protection rated glazing (with the hose stream) to be used instead of the wetted glass assembly in atria.

Summaries of all actions and the full hearings report are available at  The deadline for receipt of public comments to the hearings actions on proposed changes is June 16, 2005.

Architect's Guide to Glass & Metal
© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.