Labeling, code updates at GlassWeek Fire-Rated Glazing Council meeting

Katy Devlin
February 13, 2009
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : CODES & STANDARDS

The Fire-Rated Glazing Council met Feb. 12, kicking off GlassWeek in Las Vegas. The program, hosted by the Glass Association of North America, Topeka, Kan., runs through Feb. 15, coinciding with the organization’s Building Envelope Contractors Conference that runs Feb. 15-17.

The group, consisting primarily of fire-rated glass and system manufacturers, discussed product labeling specifications, fire-rated education courses through the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C., fire-rated code updates and the development of a fire-rated product matrix. 

 Labeling

Jeff Griffiths, director of business development. Safti First, San Francisco, provided an update from the labeling task group. The group has been working to develop fire-rated labeling recommendations to bring to the Washington, D.C.-based International Code Council’s Code Technology Committee, a group that works to eliminate conflicts within the codes.

The labeling task group has worked to identify conflicts within the current labeling standards in the codes, outline current applications, and develop positive and negative system attributes of the standards. “We weren’t able to come to agreement on the merit of each issue, but we were able to come to a consensus that the current marking system needs improving,” Griffiths says.

The council voted to move the labeling task group’s documents to the CTC with the various points of view represented.

Code updates

Thom Zaremba, industry consultant and partner for Roetzel & Andress, Toledo, updated the council on fire-rated code developments in the 2009 ICC code cycle. While numerous fire-rated proposals were brought forward, none were adopted. Read a full length GlassMagazine.com article by Zaremba outlining the 2009 codes.

Zaremba also outlined several major changes instituted by the ICC board. The first move from the board responded to industries paying code officials to attend the meetings. “It was starting to look like a lottery, with code changes going to the highest bidder,” Zaremba said, referring to a situation during the 2009 code cycle when two industries on opposite sides of a residential sprinkler code proposal offered “scholarships” to building officials to come to the meeting and vote on the proposal.

The board outlined three directives to prevent similar behavior in the future: it developed a code of ethics for the industry participants; it banned private industry contributions to public officials; and it developed a code of ethics for the building code officials, prohibiting receipt of any funds tied to an outcome of an ICC proposal.

AIA education course

The council voted to submit GANA’s introductory fire-rated glass course to the AIA for approval as a continuing education course for architects. The group will pursue approval of the course as a face-to-face program and as an online course.

Product matrix

Kirk Ratzel, director of marketing and sales for Vetrotech Saint-Gobain International AG, Germany, gave a progress report on the fire-rated product matrix under development by the Americas Glass Association, Placerville, Calif., with possible collaboration with GANA. The matrix would provide product information, along with manufacturer details, fire-ratings, and coinciding system information, Ratzel said.

“Everything you can’t put on a label is in the matrix,” Ratzel said. “It would provide glass shops with information on how to ask the right questions and where to look for answers. … It could be a daily tool for anyone in the glass industry.”

The council discussed the merit of such a matrix and decided to restart discussions between GANA and AGA. The council will review the full matrix before deciding whether to move forward to finalize the matrix and disseminate it.