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You Bet Your Glass: December 2014

Got certification?


December 17, 2014
By Frank Fulton

Topics

I recently received a communiqué from the Canadian Glass Association
(CGA) stating that a group from the United States named The Green
Advantage Environmental Certification Organization is in the process of
putting together the “Green Advantage International Glazier
Certification” program that they intend to promote throughout the U.S.
and Canada.

I recently received a communiqué from the Canadian Glass Association (CGA) stating that a group from the United States named The Green Advantage Environmental Certification Organization is in the process of putting together the “Green Advantage International Glazier Certification” program that they intend to promote throughout the U.S. and Canada.  I’d never heard of this organization before and any time I hear the word “certification” the hair stands up on the back of my neck.

The Green Advantage group appears to already be firmly established in certifying professionals involved in the construction of green buildings.  They state that “Green Advantage is committed to delivering exemplary green building certifications for and with construction personnel. The boards, staff, volunteers and interns, as well as the thousands of Green Advantage Certified Practitioners and Green Advantage Certified Associates, contribute to the organization’s continuing success.”

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The glaziers certification program is just in its infancy. Green Advantage is only at the stage where they are soliciting experts and stakeholders from the construction, design, specification, research, green building, health and safety, security, insurance, disaster preparedness, regulatory, financial, and academic sectors to attend a meeting in Washington, D.C., in early December, to form a new certification board.

In addition, they are asking the industry in general to send them “relevant sources of information to develop a curtainwall installer certification applicable in the U.S. and Canada, such as PDF documents, links to webpages with white papers or published articles, training and job manuals, and other documents related to curtainwall installation best practices, model processes, curtainwall installer job descriptions, etc.,” as well as names and contact information for additional experts who might provide inputs.  When starting with a blank page it helps to see how others have attacked the issue.

Now, the real question:  Does the glazing industry in Canada need another body looking over its shoulder?  It seems we already have no shortage of groups ensuring that our tradespeople are up to snuff.. The CSA administers the Fenestration Installation Technician (FIT) certification. Nationwide, there is the Red Seal Program. In Ontario, the Ontario College of Trades is “an industry-driven, professional regulatory body,” according to its website.

Jim Brady, president of the CGA, when asked his opinion on the need for another group involved in certifying window and curtainwall installers, offered, “While I personally think that education is a good thing, and that all of our tradespeople should be educated, I have to wonder what [Green Advantage’s] motive is.” In discussing the difference between the Green Advantage approach and what we already have in place, Brady noted that, “The difference between the Red Seal and the Green Advantage will be that the Green Advantage plans to have technical training with practical exams. The Red Seal is a 100- to 125-question multiple choice exam that is available to any candidate that can show they have X number of hours worked in the trade.”

When contacted for his comments, Grady O’Rear, president and CEO of Green Advantage, Inc. noted that “Green Advantage plans to pursue ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 accreditation for the Curtainwall Installer Certification. In compliance with ANSI requirements, Green Advantage will not offer training in preparation for its exams. Training will be provided by other professional or academic organizations, independent from Green Advantage.  The curtainwall installer certification will have both a written and performance exam.”

Considering the vast amount of work involved in getting an undertaking of this magnitude off the ground, I anticipate it will be a few years before the Green Advantage certification program takes effect.  If you want to have some input in how it will affect you and your business in the future, now would be the time to get involved.


Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting. He has been in the industry for 30 years and can be reached via email at fultech.fc@gmail.com


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