Nonresidential ratings program nears 2008 deadline

January 2, 2007
COMMERCIAL

Q&A with Jim Benney

Work on the National Fenestration Rating Council’s Component Modeling Approach for nonresidential systems is nearing completion, says Jim Benney, executive director of the Silver Spring, Md.-based organization. Read the exclusive e-glass weekly interview with Benney below to learn more about the CMA as well as NFRC’s investigation into an insulating glass certification program.

NFRC made its November deadline to complete the technical procedures of the CMA for the state of California. When is the deadline for the final program and what else needs to be done?
The next deadline is to have the program developed and up and running by 2008. I think it’s doable. We did a bid process, but the board decided to reformat the [request for proposal] and send it out again. We want to look for a wider group of software developers.

Some participants in the fall meeting expressed concern that the CMA pricing had not been determined. However, the board voted down proposals to complete a pricing study.
The board is still looking at pricing. Part of the problem with setting the price is that we have to find out how much it is going to cost us first. The bids that we got ranged from $60,000 to $1 million. We have to really come back with a good number to figure out, it’s going to cost us this, where are we going to get the money? Are we going to borrow it? And then we set that into the scheme of how we charge this. Really think you can look at our existing program to come up with an estimate. We are not going to set fees that are outrageous; we are definitely not going to price ourselves out of the market. But until we get a final bid, we can’t do a pricing study.

Some participants also noted the continued lack of involvement of architects, building owners and specifiers in the NFRC meetings. What is NFRC doing to educate and get input from those groups?
We have been working very closely with the building envelope division of the American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C. We’ve given presentations to them and have gone to their chapters as they build, talking to them about NFRC and getting input back. We’d really like to have them as members or even members of the board—we have general interest seats that would be perfect. But they’re pretty busy. You have to go to them. We also go to the AIA show and the show for the [Construction Specifications Institute of Alexandria, Va.].

Tell me about the insulating glass certification requirement that NFRC is considering.
The thought behind it is that we have a rating out there, but it’s a one time rating. Shouldn’t we provide consumers with info on how that product can perform over time? The IG people have done this. If we just require that manufacturers belong to an IG certification program, that would ensure some long-term benefits. It seemed an easy way of doing it, rather than developing a new testing regimen for the whole window. But, the board is still discussing whether this is the direction NFRC wants to go. We didn’t get to it at our last meeting, and there’s a task group that has been formed. If board says yes, that’s the direction we want to go, they will decide how this should be integrated into our program.