Codes and standards
Mar. 10, 2016 - The National Glass Association (NGA) has published the newly revised Guide to the Glass and Glazing Requirements of the Model Building Codes—5th Edition, a valuable reference to federal glazing laws, local glazing regulations and how they are related to the model building codes. 
Feb. 11, 2016 - The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has updated and released a document laying out the process for determining the thermal performance characteristics of fenestration systems, specifically in commercial buildings. This document was last updated in 2012.
Architects and engineers are upping the game on building envelope design: unusual aesthetics, improved thermal performance and taking into account the human factor using daylighting controls.  The fenestration industry has felt the impact of these new designs and has risen to the challenge with complex products such as dynamic glazing and insulating glass configurations not seen before.
The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) since it’s beginning has provided technical documents that support the glass design, specifications, energy efficiency, glazing procedures, performance data, testing, certification, quality assurance, field studies along with other guides relating to the manufacture, fabrication, design, and end use of insulating glass units.
If you haven’t already heard about accreditation programs in the glass industry, it’s clear you’re going to be hearing a lot more soon.One is the North American Contractor Certification (NACC) program, announced by the Architectural Glass Institute (AGI) in January 2015. In July, the names of the first NACC-certified companies were released – three U.S. firms, as well as Ferguson Neudorf Glass of Beamsville, Ont. Twelve more architectural glass & metal contractors are currently going through the certification process.The NACC program was created to provide baseline recognition for competency, business practices, and adherence to industry-accepted guidelines. The program “provides confidence to building owners as well as the design and construction community with defined processes, controls and procedures to help drive a higher-quality end product.” The NACC Board of Directors includes contractors, consultants, construction specialists and manufacturers. Administrative Management Systems (AMS) is the third-party certifier that administers the program. It has been doing this sort of work since 1997, for U.S. national associations such as the Safety Glazing Certification Council, Insulating Glass Manufacturer’s Alliance and the National Fenestration Rating Council. AMS President John Kent says NACC provides a differentiation that helps contractors, building owners, architects and the specification community to select competent companies and increase the likelihood of a successful project with lower re-work.Kent describes industry awareness of NACC in the U.S. and Canada as “likely minimal at present,” but points out that “the program is still very new. Eighteen months ago, it was just a concept.” Outreach to architects, builders and the specification community is underway through things like mailings and presentations, and an ongoing promotional plan was developed at the first NACC annual meeting in mid-September (in Atlanta, piggy-backed with GlassBuild). Additionally, as of August, Kent notes, “We were thrilled that through some really hard work by many people, the NACC program is now under ISO/IEC 17065 Accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (which has an agreement with the Safety Council of Canada).” Alberta glazing contractor Jim Brady shares his personal views on the program. “While I think that the idea has merit, it also has some underlying issues,” he says. “In Canada, construction processes are very regionalized...as a result, the architects and consultants for projects may or may not be onboard with NACC.” He adds that while he’s “all for” programs that recognize industry leaders, he fears that a program such as NACC might be a detriment to fair competition. “Just because one company doesn’t have NACC Accreditation doesn’t mean that they can’t give a good quality installation, and if not having that accreditation disqualifies them from quoting on the project, then it limits competition,” Brady observes, “thereby increasing prices to the end user (building owner). My guess is, most companies in Alberta would likely not participate in this program and they would only do so when backed into a corner.”Brady also wonders if the NACC board members include representation from smaller more regionalized companies. We asked AMS, and found out that of the five glazing contractors on the ten-person NACC accreditation board (the others being end-user companies such as building contractors), two companies are larger and three are smaller, with a good diversity of size always the aim. Other accreditation programsBrady notes that in Alberta, the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training is used to educate tradespeople, but that the glazier trade in that province is not compulsory certified and apprenticeship is not mandatory. “Personally, I think this is wrong,” he says. “It is mandatory for someone to get training on hairdressing, but not for someone to change a sealed unit into a four-sided structural silicone curtainwall ten storeys off the ground.” Currently in Canada, Brady notes, the provinces of B.C., Alberta and Ontario have glazier apprenticeship training with in class instruction. “I am unsure about Quebec,” he says. “The Maritimes, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Territories do not. Some companies in Saskatchewan and Manitoba use the Alberta program. Nationally, the Red Seal program is in place, but…an individual merely has to prove they have a certain amount of hours in the trade, write an exam, and if they pass, they are recognized as a Red Seal Journeyman.”Glazier has been a Red Seal trade since 1986, and the related standards and exams have been updated several times. Julia Sullivan at the Red Seal Secretariat says “Earning a Red Seal endorsement provides good job prospects and allows individuals to work anywhere in Canada. Completing an apprenticeship in a Red Seal trade also gives access to many of the benefits available from the government.”  Brady would be strongly in favour of getting curriculum delivered to tradespeople in jurisdictions where there is no program, and processes to measure skills with both written and practical exams. “In my years as a champion for education, I have heard many people say ‘I can’t afford to send my people to school, we’re too busy, others may steal them away from me, etc.’ and my only response to them is ‘You can’t afford to not educate your people.’ ” Although he had not heard of NACC, Brady did point out Green Advantage (GA), an organization based in Maryland that’s now working to launch a ‘Curtainwall Installer Certification’ (GACIC) program. It will include written as well as performance exams with standards created by the International Glazier Certification Board, a broad array of industry experts from the U.S. and Canada. Tough standards?As Brady has noted, accreditation carries concerns. It can be a controversial issue because large companies can afford to put their people on the boards of the associated groups and certification bodies, thereby driving tougher and tougher accreditation standards, which may squeeze out competition from smaller companies. On the other hand, good accreditation programs can help buyers avoid fly-by-nighters without having to embark on time-consuming due-diligence searches. In addition, these programs can help prevent governments from having to step in to protect the public from shoddy workmanship. In one firm’s view, accreditation also helps companies take their reputation to the next level. “Raising the bar and being an industry leader is something that Ferguson Neudorf strives for every day, so [going for NACC accreditation] was natural for us,” says Peter Neudorf Junior, director of field operations at Ferguson Neudorf Glass (FNG) in Beamsville, Ontario. “We want to be above the norm.” FNG (founded in 1986, and now one of Canada’s largest curtainwall contractors) became NACC accredited in July. Neudorf says he and other leaders at the firm started talking about third-party accreditation a couple of years ago. “I sit on the Ontario and American Boards of the Architectural Glass and Metal Contractors Association and there have been many discussions about a certification specific to our trade,” he explains. “There are certainly issues with quality and standards within our industry and not all companies are committed to improving these standards. The general thought was that it’s time for some kind of accreditation and it’s time for architects and consultants to put their support behind this concept. My brothers and I decided to look into it, and I joined the advisory committee that got the necessary information to AMS to develop the NACC.” When asked about the most onerous or challenging of the NACC criteria, Neudorf says it was improving overall production flow and communication between departments. “We needed improvement in how sales, purchasing, engineering, fabrication and installation connected with one another,” he notes. “It was a challenge to make changes. Some of our people were resistant to change and didn’t recognize the benefits of adding the extra paperwork required to be a little more organized. Our team just kept pushing to have the necessary changes made to our standard procedures and added some new ones, making sure our management team were committed to getting things done in the way that best suited each department. It’s about more accountability, in the end.” Those at Ferguson Neudorf consider the NACC cost to be very fair. Neudorf says they’ve paid at least the same amount for other third party services in the past, “and this time it really helped us streamline our business.”  Kent says the total NACC cost is currently a little under $4,000 per year, but notes that there will likely also be internal costs for a firm to change things so that they comply with program requirements. “We feel these costs are a fraction of the savings available from increased efficiency, greater recognition and lower rework,” he says. “In fact, the number one comment we have received from companies undergoing the process is that ‘this NACC process will make us a better company.’ ”  In terms of industry acceptance, Kent believes that while recognition of certification is never an overnight event, the value always becomes recognized by the user community. “Each of the [other programs we administer] has enjoyed steady increased recognition for over 30 years. We fully believe the NACC program will be a significant force both in the U.S. and Canada in the coming months and years.”  Neudorf agrees that awareness and industry acceptance is going to take time. “I’d say maybe half of our industry in Canada are moving towards certification at this point,” he says. “The other half either don’t see the value or think it’s not for them. But companies who are interested in being accountable will want this.” He adds, “We’ve found that it’s been very positive, an eye-opener and a learning opportunity. It’s not something to be afraid of – it is not an audit but rather an evaluation. You should welcome it if you want to become a better company.”North American certification programsHere are just some of the agencies offering to certify your company, your work or your people.CSA Fenestration Installation Techniciancsa.caThe certification addresses the need to ensure the knowledge, skills and abilities of individuals who install factory assembled windows, exterior doors and unit skylights in residential buildings three stories or less. To become certified, individuals will have demonstrated proficiency in understanding and applying manufacturer installation instructions, general building principles, the CSA A440.4 window installation standard and other industry standards and/or best practices.Green Advantagegreenadvantage.orgGreen Advantage offers the longest standing green building certification targeted specifically to construction field personnel across trades. North American Contractor Certificationtheagi.orgThe NACC Program was created to provide certification recognition as a means of creating a baseline for competency, business practices, and adherence to industry-accepted guidelines. The program provides confidence to building owners as well as the design and construction community with defined processes, controls and procedures to help drive a higher quality end product.Red Sealred-seal.caThe Red Seal Program is the Canadian standard of excellence for skilled trades. Formally known as the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program, it sets common standards to assess the skills of tradespersons across Canada. Tradespersons who meet the Red Seal standards receive a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial trade certificates.Window Wisewindowwise.caWindow Wise is a replacement window quality assurance program designed to give homeowners peace of mind that investing in window replacement will be a lasting one. We approve window replacement manufacturers and certify window installation contractors.Energy Starnrcan.gc.caThe Energy Star Initiative is a voluntary partnership between the government of Canada and industry to make high efficiency products readily available and visible to Canadians. NRCan formally enrolls manufacturers, retailers and other organizations as participants in the Energy Star Initiative. Participants help promote Energy Star and ensure Energy Star-certified products are prominent and readily available in the marketplace and to Canadian consumers.
Oct. 9, 2015 -  The Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z97 announces the release of the 2015 version of industry standard ANSI Z97.1 Safety glazing materials used in buildings - safety performance specifications and methods of test.
Oct. 8, 2015 -  The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) announces that its air-water-structural product certification program has been granted accreditation by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in accordance with ISO/IEC 17065-2012 “Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services." The scope of the accreditation includes Doors and Windows (91.050.60). Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17065 confirms that administration of the AAMA certification program conforms to the high procedural standards of these international requirements.
Sept. 28, 2015 - The Institute for Environmental Research and Education has published North America's first Product Category Rule for windows, enabling window fabricators to develop Environmental Product Declarations recognized by ISO and the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program. PCRs define the inputs into the window manufacturing process and lay out guidelines for how each input must be documented in a Life Cycle Impact Assessment that ultimately leads to an EPD describing the overall environmental impact of manufacturing the product. The PCR, titled Earthsure PCR Cradle-to-Gate 30171600:2015, covers window inputs from their source to the fabricator's gate, and is designed to inform the B-to-B market. Another PCR addressing the B-to-C vertical is due for release soon, according to a recent IGMA newsletter.
Aug. 27, 2015 - The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has updated and released a document specifying requirements for corrosion resistant coatings on carbon steels used for hardware components in window, door and skylight applications. The document previously was updated in 2012.
The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance has recently released its technical bulletin TB-2600-15 Vacuum Insulating Glass which is an informational document giving an extensive overview on the subject of vacuum insulating glass (VIG). This is one of the documents that the IGMA Emerging Technologies and Innovations Committee worked on for over a year, in which we believe readers will find an compilation of some very interesting and educational information along with data relative to VIG.
July 31, 2015 - The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has updated and released a document specifying test methods, specifications, and field checks used to evaluate the structural adequacy of wall systems and their ability to resist water penetration and air leakage. Other optional tests also are included. AAMA 501-15 is intended to be referenced in current laboratory and field testing methods for exterior wall systems comprised of curtain walls, storefronts and sloped glazing. It was previously updated in 2005.
July 15, 2015 - The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is renewing its commitment to providing the commercial fenestration industry with an energy performance certified rating program.
June 24, 2015 - The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has updated and released two documents specific to aluminum finishes: AAMA 612-15, Voluntary Specification, Performance Requirements, and Test Procedures for Combined Coatings of Anodic Oxide and Transparent Organic Coatings on Architectural Aluminum, and AAMA 2603-15, Voluntary Specification, Performance Requirements and Test Procedures for Pigmented Organic Coatings on Aluminum Extrusions and Panels (with Coil Coating Appendix).
The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) has announced the release of a new Vacuum Insulating Glass Technical Bulletin on its webstore. The bulletin is intended to assist residential or commercial insulating glass and window manufacturers on the topic of vacuum insulating glazing (VIG).
March 25, 2015, Schaumberg, Il. - The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has updated and released two documents specific to aluminum: the combined AAMA 609 & 610-15, “Cleaning and Maintenance Guide for Architecturally Finished Aluminum” and CW-10-15, "Care and Handling of Architectural Aluminum from Shop to Site."
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