Volume 43, Issue 9 - September 2008

issue @ Hand

How to Fix the NFRC

Our report on the most recent meeting of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) begins on page 33. The decision-making process continues to be the source of major frustration for most in the know in the glass industry. In fact, some leading members of the glass industry are considering boycotting the next meeting. And Greg Carney of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and Marg Webb of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) have already withheld their votes in protest at a previous meeting.

Those in the contract glazing industry who got involved early have long since seen their input ignored. Contract glaziers are among our industry’s busiest segment and most are happy to provide their input when they feel it will be considered as part of the democratic process. But they will not be part of a charade that does not have an open and fair process. And anyone who thinks that there is democracy going on in the NFRC’s process has either drunk the kool-aid or been fed a great line—or maybe dinner—by NFRC officials.

Yet, there is a way to fix this. There is a way to make sure the process is open and democratic and that all parties involved from every industry segment or any “stakeholder group” (as NFRC calls them) feels the same way. There is a way to ensure that participants have no quarrel with the process and no market segment feels cheated. Here’s how: NFRC should develop its programs in accordance with the ASTM or ANSI methods for consensus standards development.

These methods provide a sound, proven method for developing documents. The procedures have been properly vetted for fairness and balance. Since NFRC professes a commitment to openness, the adoption of such procedures should only be welcome by the group’s board of directors. And the development of all procedures, policies, approaches, certifications or other items would no longer be suspect.

If an effort such as this is not made, the commercial glass industry buy-in will never occur. At a recent GANA meeting one participant was so upset by the NFRC’s antics that he said he plans to add a separate line on all his estimates and invoices called “NFRC compliance fees.” “I want the architects—and everyone else who sees this estimates—to know right away how much this is costing them,” he said. NFRC’s use of a proven consensus-building process might also help advance the acceptance of its work without such measures.

Thanks to everyone who called, wrote or e-mailed about this topic. Such a fix just might work.

I also received a good number of calls, letters and e-mails about my last column an overwhelming number, in fact. Thanks for affirming that the industry wants and needs a magazine that covers the architectural glass industry exclusively I and our staff greatly appreciated all your kind comments and feedback.
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January may be the first month in the calendar, but September really starts a whole new season. Children return to school in a higher grade, TV shows start their new season and football returns. September also starts a new trade show season as our industy prepares for the biggest one of all: glasstec in Düsseldorf. USGlass will be there, in Hall 13, Stand C73. Come and visit us if you are there as well. If not, don’t fret, because we will bring all the news back to you.


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