The NFRC freight train’s a comin’. Are you ready?

—By Katy Devlin, commercial glass and metals editor, Glass Magazine

In the next 18 months, the commercial rating program from the National Fenestration Rating Council, Greenbelt, Md., should be complete, according to NFRC’s technical services manager, Ray McGowan, who delivered a presentation about the program during the BEST Conference in Minneapolis.

Some industry leaders involved in the CMA development process say the program is a “freight train coming,” despite strong opposition from manufacturers, glaziers and industry organizations, including the NGA. They say not even the anti-NFRC group that has recently formed will be able to do much to block the program at this point, particularly since NFRC has a green light from the U.S. Department of Energy.

So, are you ready?

Sure the much-contested program, called the Component Modeling Approach, or CMA, could receive almost no market acceptance and follow a fate similar to NFRC’s Site-Built program, its first attempt at commercial system ratings. However, California and Seattle are poised to become early adopters of the program, and some industry representatives say other jurisdictions will likely follow suit, making CMA part of the codes.

For contract glaziers, this would mean you would likely be placed in the role of specifying authority, or responsible party, for executing the rating program on specific projects. (“It’s not definitive, but it’s more than likely [contract glaziers] probably will be the ones doing it,” McGowan said during his BEST presentation). Are you ready to sign the licensing agreement with NFRC, pay for licensing and the label certificate, and hold liable for the ratings?

For manufacturers, this would mean you will have to pay to have an approved calculation entity rate your products (although manufacturers do have an option to have their own ACEs) and cover the costs for an inspection agency to monitor those ratings. And, you would have to pay to place products in a database. Are you ready to cover those costs, and to incorporate those steps into your processes?

I won’t try to predict what’s going to happen in the next 18 months and beyond. However, I trust the industry experts who say it is coming whether the industry is ready for it or not, and companies should prepare. Learn more about CMA in a detailed October 2007 article from Glass Magazine. And it’s still not too late to get involved and get your voice heard. NFRC’s Summer Meeting takes place July 28-31 in Chicago.

Please feel free to email me with questions about the program. I’m not sure I have the answers, but I can certainly point you in the right direction.


KatyA tremendous piece here. Glaziers and manufacturers better wake up because if they don't soon, the train will run them over... and the time to complain will be long over.
Every one wants to slam the CMA. But no one has a better alternative. And very few even know what it is or what happens if it is abandoned. The AAMA version is certainly not a better way to go. Sit down and try doing the math at the back of that document.The main problem is that we just don’t want to certify our products! But local and national codes are demanding we certify. So let’s see who can invent a perfect system instead of just slamming an organization that’s trying to give us an easy computer tool to work with.So how about doing some real articles on the history of how we got here, what we have right now, how difficult is what we have right now to make work, what the alternatives are, and finally tell us exactly what the CMA will do?
Thanks for your comments.We ran a more major piece about the program in the Oct. 2007 issue of the magazine: This gives a bit more information about how the program has come to be--and how the program will work in the end. However, I'd love to talk (and learn) more about what we've missed in our coverage. So, please do feel free to Thanks again for reading and responding.
Wow that 2nd Anon is either an NFRC Board Member or one of handful of Mfg's (Arcadia, Traco) who have swallowed this line whole. Actually the 2nd Anon is probably Potomac Communications who is the PR firm for NFRC- especially since you play the "code" angles...Regardless of who it is- let's look at your "argument"1. We don't want to certify our products- How do you know? Especially since most already do some sort of certification, that has NEVER been the issue. The issue has been the way NFRC has gone about this... its sickening lack of inclusion and the desire to make this thing a profit stream for certain segments of their membership.2. "Slamming an organization thats trying to give us an easy tool to work with"- SPARE ME the sob story... believe me NFRC could care less if its easy- they just want it done, so they can keep their fingers all over the process. 3. "Real Articles"- oh you mean slanted press releases from NFRC? Katy Devlin has done a TREMENDOUS job on this issue and has been pretty darn fair. Did it ever dawn on you that the reason there's few to no "positive" NFRC articles is that they don't deserve any?4. What the alternatives are... anyone who knows the scenario... and given your writings you do.. know that the NFRC has spent time and effort to ensure there's NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE! Fighting AAMA in the codes, dominating the weaklings at DOE and so on. They have a MONOPOLY on this issue and its simply pathetic.Bottom line:The Industry would welcome a program like this- but it has to be fair, cost effective and workable and to date,NFRC is failing on every angle.But like was noted, its a "Freight Train" a comin, so does any of this rhetoric matter?