Volume 43, Issue 3 - March 2008

Issue @ Hand

A Crying Sham(e) 

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it …

***It is time for members of the glass industry to re-evaluate their participation in the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) with careful thought. The NFRC board of directors continues to ignore the votes of the Council regarding the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) as well as a variety of other topics. 

The NFRC likes to create the illusion that the commercial glass industry is a participant in the process, but its participation is just that—an illusion. Instead, the NFRC board of directors has ignored the voices of the commercial glass industry on the Council and continues to do as it wishes without regard for the opinions of stakeholders.

What makes the effort especially distressing is the perception that certain members of NFRC continue to advance. They say that NFRC is a participatory Council open to the opinions of all. If participatory means you can talk, but won’t be heard, then it is. If participatory means you can vote, but that vote will be overridden by the board, then it is. If participatory means anything beyond this, then NFRC is a sham and it’s time to call it so.

The participatory illusion is being created in an attempt to make other groups—most notably architects—believe that the CMA was developed with input from the commercial glass industry and, the story would go, since the glass industry was involved with its development, shouldn’t architects embrace it as well? The individuals and groups from the glass industry involved in NFRC form a very well respected list. But they are attempting to hold back an NFRC locomotive called the Railroad Express and that is an impossible task. 

Reality is not perception. These pages have continued to monitor NFRC and have seen instances in which input has been ignored and votes overridden. If the NFRC board does not begin to follow the wishes of its committees, then those committees are meaningless and those who serve on them merely shills in a public relations war.

If our industry’s voices cannot be heard within the Council, then our industry should recognize the Council as flawed and move on to a better form of governance. It should not allow itself to be used as pawn in a game of public relations.

The words above ring as true today with regard to the NFRC as they did the day Thomas Jefferson wrote them in the Declaration of Independence. When government, or regulators, ignore the will of the governed, or regulated, it is time for independence from the oppressor. NFRC members in the commercial glass industry will want to evaluate whether or not being part of the Council really serves a purpose. As Jefferson wrote:

“… when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”


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