Market status, IG forum, CMA software highlight first day at NFRC Summer Meeting

By Sahely Mukerji
July 29, 2008
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION : MEETINGS AND EVENTS

During the opening session of the National Fenestration Rating Council’s Summer Meeting July 28, Michael Collins, vice president, Building Products Group, Jordan, Knauff & Co., Chicago, presented “Window & Door Industry Update.” He talked about: residential and commercial market overviews, Building Information Modeling, green building update, Chinese building products industry, and window and door industry benchmark survey.

Signs show that the current housing crisis might be coming to an end, Collins said. “McGraw Hill calculates that housing completions have overshot demands since 2004,” he said. “The sub-prime/foreclosure problem will likely peak in 2008.” The National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C., predicts a 25 percent decline in housing starts in 2008, he said. “The multifamily area will decline but fare better than single-family. S&P reports the average U.S. home declined in value by 8.9 percent in 2007, worst in 20 years.”

Four million new jobs have been created in the United States in the past four years, Collins said, a source of pent-up demand. “Household growth will continue to be strong,” he said. “McGraw-Hill predicts a demand for 19.5 million new housing units through 2014.”

Commercial market tends to lag the residential market by 12 to 18 months, Collin said. “The U.S. construction industry is the largest of any single country in the world, $1.16 trillion,” he said. “China, with its current building boom, has a $321 billion market.”

Nonresidential construction will grow at a slower rate in of 5 percent in 2008 followed by a 4 percent increase in 2009, Collins said.

IG Certification Forum

The Certification Policy Committee Chair Roland Temple, AZS Consulting Inc., Bradley, S.C., opened up the IG Certification Forum. He explained the set of criteria that a third-party IG certification program will include. According to the outline, NFRC will maintain a list of third party IG certification programs that have submitted a statement to NFRC stating they meet the requirements. This statement is to be provided to NFRC on an annual basis but will not be independently verified. The program participant will need to verify their use of an NFRC-listed certification program.

“I feel like a pendulum. You guys have swung from here to way over there,” said Rich Biscoe, vice president, Architectural Testing Inc., York, Pa. “The guy who takes care of water here can say that he wants to start an IG program. I was hoping that this would be a way to take the IG programs in the industry and take them a step further. Even the good programs out there today won’t need to be looked at.”

At the 2007 summer meeting, a list of criteria for IG certification programs was submitted to the NFRC board of directors. This was modified slightly to include all IGUs, even those not using argon or other inert gas and removed ASTM E 774 as one of the test standards.

At the March 2008 meeting in Nashville, the membership voted language for the CPC that noted "NFRC approved IG certification programs." About two months later, the controversial documents resulted in the submission of substantial negative comments, including those from the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, Ottawa, Ontario. In response to the negative comments, NFRC listed no requirements for the programs, opening it up to everyone.

At the meeting Monday, the industry members requested that they go back to the recommendations submitted by the IG Certification Task Group co-chaired by Tracy Rogers, technical director, Edgetech IG, Cambridge, Ohio, and Tina Jenkins, Simonton Windows, Pennsboro, W. Va., and slightly modified by the NFRC board of directors. NFRC Chair Joe Hayden, senior project engineer of certification for Pella Corp. of Pella, Iowa, suggested that CPC issue a revised draft program document by the end of next week to distribute to the membership for comment. Margaret Webb, executive, director, IGMA, and Rogers agreed to present a concept for CPC to bring to the board of directors Thursday.

“The NFRC board of directors responded positively to the industry’s overwhelming negative reaction to the IG Certification Accreditation Program,” Webb said. “If the accreditation program documents represent the far right, then what was proposed during today’s IG Forum would be represented by the far left. One extreme to another, or too many teeth to toothless. … In other words, we’ve gone a long way to go a short distance but hopefully we’re back on track now.”

Greg Carney, technical director, Glass Association of North America, Topeka, Kan., said: “Unfortunately, the recommendations from the insulating glass certification task group were apparently expanded by staff or counsel that resulted in complexity and numerous concerns. I anticipate that Margaret Webb and Tracy Rogers will come back with the original task group language in an effort to get the insulating glass certification requirement back on track.”

CMAST software demo

Charlie Curcija, president of Carli Inc., Amherst, Mass., gave a live demonstration of CMAST, the CMA software. Carli Inc. is developing the software. The application will have its own database that stores all of the client’s data. Glazing, framing and spacer are the main components of the software. The glazing components come from the International Glazing Database. NFRC will incorporate any updates to the IGDB database.

“My first impression of the software tool was positive, and I believe the resource will be of value to the commercial fenestration industry in the future if NFRC will allow the use of the software without rating and certification where it isn't required,” Carney said. “I still have concerns over the user ability to change sealant dimensions in the glazing assembly when simulators have told us that changes in these dimensions do not have a measurable impact on the overall performance calculation.”

Webb offered her opinion of CMAST. “It appears that it might be a good tool for design purposes, but as the technical procedures for frames and spacers have not been finalized, I think it’s too soon to pop the cork,” she said. “One concern I do have about the software is that it only works for square or rectangular systems. So, if you have a triangle, circle or other odd shape, CMAST is of no value, so this doesn’t help the highly customized industry at all.”