Nonresidential rating program tops NFRC agenda
About 100 industry representatives gathered in Denver July 23-26 for the Greenbelt, Md.-based National Fenestration Rating Council’s summer meeting. As with meetings for the past few years, the NFRC’s nonresidential rating program led group discussions.
Despite continued frustrations and disagreement over fees and the lack of participation from architects, building owners and specifiers, the group discussed one notable compromise.
Tom Culp, owner of Birch Point Consulting LLC in LaCrosse, Wis., presented a compromise between the NFRC board and industry manufacturing representatives regarding the role of the manufacturer approved calculation entity in the component modeling approach. Under the CMA, an ACE calculates product ratings on behalf of frame, spacer and glass manufacturers.
“This tries to give NFRC the protection they need, but also streamlines the process and reduces costs,” Culp said.
Under the proposal, both independent ACEs and manufacturer ACEs will be subject to 100 percent review from an inspection agency that will rate the quality of each product submission on an A to D scale. If independent ACEs submit five or six reviews with high ratings, they will move to a statistical auditing program where only 10 percent of submissions require approval. A manufacturer ACE would submit 15 products under 100 percent review and then move to the statistical auditing program.
The previous plan required 100 percent approval indefinitely for a manufacturer ACE.
The proposal is subject to board approval.
Another new topic brought to the floor addressed the reuse of the same systems. The group met a roadblock regarding whether one project could use a previously documented rating for an identical system.
Greg Carney, technical director for the Glass Association of North America in Topeka, Kan., recommended the CMA allow reuse for identical systems. “If an architect has a multiphase project that specifies identical systems, they shouldn’t have to recertify the systems,” Carney said.
Mike Thoman, director of simulations and thermal testing for Architectural Testing Inc. in York, Pa., agreed recertification might not be necessary when dealing with systems used in projects under one specifying authority. “If there are 7-Eleven stores across the country all using the same system, then I’m all for one ACE and one specifying authority working together to use the same certification,” Thoman said. “However, on different projects, how do I know it’s an identical product? … In the end, I don’t think you’re going to save any time, and you might open yourself up to errors.”
Thoman and others also questioned whether companies might try to reuse certifications from their competitors on identical products.
The issue was sent back to the task group level.
Several key components of the CMA remain unresolved or unfinished. Most importantly, the frame grouping rules have not been decided. The frame grouping task group expects to have something solidified by the next meeting, Nov. 5-8 in Tempe, Ariz. Once the frame grouping rules are in, the validation testing portion of the document can be completed.
Read last week's e-glass weekly article about the meeting here.
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter editor, e-glass weekly