Volume 40,   Issue 5                                 May  2005

News Now

Debates Take Place During NFRC Meeting 

More than 50 people met on April 26 at the Four Points Schiller Park Sheraton at Chicago’s O’Hare airport for the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) non-residential products task group meeting. The main issue was the forthcoming implementation of a non-residential program to police the commercial industry and the products that are supplied on jobs. One of the key items of contention was the assignment of the “responsible party” status to the glazing contractor. 

This was despite long arguments from glazing contractors, fabricators and Glass Association of North America members in attendance that designation has not been changed as of yet. Members of the glass and glazing industry suggested changing the responsibility to the “registered design professional,” as it is listed in the International Energy Conservation Codes, thus putting more of the onus on the architectural community.

Discussions also centered on the program and the possibility of third-party certification, on site inspections of products and new code requirements. 
In addition to the discussions about the NFRC’s non-residential program, other news to unfold during the meeting dealt with California’s energy code. 

Tony Rygg with the State of California Energy Commission announced that California is changing its energy code. Rygg reminded the group that effective August 1, 2005, the state of California will begin enforcing their energy codes on buildings that are 10,000 square feet or larger. Previously the codes affected jobs that were more than 100,000 square feet.

EU Raids Glass Manufacturers for Alleged Price Fixing

European operations of Pilkington plc, Saint-Gobain, Asahi Glass Co. and Guardian Industries were raided by European antitrust regulators in February for alleged price fixing. Glass operations in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden and Italy were investigated. According to a Bloomberg report, the European Commission, regulator for the European Union, has been investigating allegations that glass manufacturers “coordinated price increases and surcharges.”

“It was a complete bolt from the blue, a complete surprise,” said Iain Lough, Pilkington’s group finance director, in the Bloomberg report. “They have taken papers away and it’s a case of seeing what, if anything, the commission people find, and acting accordingly.”

According to Bloomberg, since 1999 the commission has levied about 5 billion EUROS (approximately $6.5 billion USD) in fines for price-fixing. Companies are typically fined 2 to 3 percent of sales. 

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