Volume 40,   Issue 8                                  August  2005


Efforts Toward Non-Residential 
NFRC Certification Move Forward

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 took place in Quebec City, July 25-28. Following the contentious meeting in Chicago in April, attendees from the non-residential side said they were both happy and surprised by the tone of the meeting.

An alternative flow chart for the certification process was introduced by Greg Carney, technical director of the Glass Association of North America and chair of the non-residential products task group for ratings, during the task group ratings meeting. There was no opposition to the new chart from those in attendance. 

The new flow chart, which is posted on the NFRC website (www.nfrc.org), was to 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 as to what would be a viable program,” said Carney. “It is dramatically different from the first draft,” he said.

One of the major departures between the two drafts is that the term “responsible party” has been 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 programs. “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,” he said.

Jim Benney, NFRC executive director, told attendees that he is “excited about the process and what you are doing.” Benney did question the process of 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 reinforced 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.” 

Much of the remainder of the morning sessions, which included a meeting of the technical non-residential products task group, centered on the concept of component grouping (so that not every alternative has to be individually tested) and how the certification/labeling program would work.

Toward the close of its meeting, Charlie Curcija of Carli Inc., chair of the technical task group, said that he saw the information coming together to move the group’s activity to the next stage in terms of the technical issues.

“There are very few technical issues remaining,” Curcija told attendees. “We’ll put together a report on the remaining issues and put it on the website. Work is going to continue on the spacer grouping area. Now the next big issue is the programming. It seems like we are converging,” he stated.

The next meeting of the task group was tentatively set for October 5 in Atlanta.
At the luncheon after the morning session, Marvin Stover, chairperson of the NFRC board of directors, told attendees that he found the non-residential material “very impressive.” He stated, “We appreciate your efforts to continue to educate us about your issues.” 

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