Volume 21, Issue 2 - April/May/June 2007

Metal Matters
Easy Access to Certified Products 
By Dean Lewis

No matter how carefully architects specify a door or window product, how do they know if it has been tested to meet all the various features and specifications of a given project or application? After all, compliance with the recognized omnibus window standards–AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S. 2-97, AAMA/WDMA 101/I.S. 2/NAFS-02, or the newest version, AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/A440-05–is mandated by the I-codes; specifically the 2006 editions of the International Residential Code (IRC) and International Building Code (IBC) reference the 2005 standard.

Third-Party Importance
Traditionally, third-party certifications–especially those with a labeling component–free the specifier from the time-consuming process of obtaining and reviewing test reports on individual products. In addition, on-site code inspections are shortened when certification labels indicate conformance with IBC and IRC mandates.

Since 1962, AAMA’s third-party certification program has provided the means to verify product qualifications independently. This basic certification, referred to as air, water and structural, or A-W-S certification, provides a rating that includes information for air infiltration, water penetration, structural wind load and forced-entry resistance. 

Two unannounced manufacturing plant inspections are performed each year under the guidelines of the AAM program. The third-party validator checks in-plant quality control and work-in-process records, as well as inspecting certified products for conformance to the original specimen tested.

Manufacturers label their certified products with the AAMA certification label, indicating the operator type, performance class, performance grade (design pressure), the maximum size tested and any optionally higher performance grade or performance class special features. The label also provides a manufacturer code that can be used to search the online Certified Product Directory (CPD) for contact information on the company. 

Additional tabs may be added to the label to indicate optional qualifications such as testing for higher negative (than positive) wind loads, National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) thermal performance ratings, impact resistance or acoustical properties.

With something this detailed, how can the specifier find the needed product quickly or the code official confirm compliance with specific jurisdictional requirements?

Online or Print Availability
For some time, AAMA’s CPD has filled this need by listing the products authorized for certification and their manufacturers. However, searching its many printed pages can itself be time-consuming. 

To make finding certified products easier, the CPD online version is updated frequently and offers a search option designed to help site visitors locate products for a variety of needs and to download the relevant listings free of charge. This capability also features a recent expansion of the product listing to include additional qualifications for which the product has been tested for compliance with specifications, such as AAMA 450 (performance of mulled assemblies); AAMA 506 (impact resistance, including missile level, rating (in psf), size tested and wind zone); TAS 201and TAS 203 (Miami-Dade hurricane zone impact performance, including missile level, rating in psf and size tested; TAS 202 (Florida hurricane zone water penetration test pressure requirements) and negative design pressure ratings.

All of this is in addition to the standard testing information: model number, operator type, performance class, performance grade, framing material and maximum framing size tested.

To access the online CPD, go to the AAMA web site at

The AAMA online Certified Products Directory can be a real time-saver, enabling architects to search by the type of fenestration a given application requires and quickly identify sources of product or confirm compliance. 

Dean Lewis is certification manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association in Schaumburg, Ill. Mr. Lewis's opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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