November 6, 2007
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News to know

Pleas for simplicity top discussion at NFRC

Software tool completed for non-residential rating program

The fall meeting for the National Fenestration Rating Council of Greenbelt, Md., got underway Nov. 5 in Tempe, Ariz., with an appeal  for more simplicity and cost-effectiveness in the nonresidential fenestration rating program, the Component Modeling Approach.

“When it comes to this program, its complexity adds cost,” said Greg Carney, technical director for the Glass Association of North America, Topeka, Kan., during the opening session. “If that cost is greater than benefit, we’re going to have a tough time getting it into the marketplace. We want it to be easy, user friendly and cost effective, but we’re not there yet.”

Marcia Falke, NFRC board chair and president of Keystone Certifications Inc. in Etters, Pa., recognized the need for a simplified CMA program during her opening session report. However, she said the NFRC needs to ensure the program has sufficient independent verification first.

Falke discussed a recent board decision to rule against a proposed plan that would have given manufacturers the ability to serve as an approved calculation entity without 100 percent review by an inspection agency. In the CMA, an ACE calculates product ratings on behalf of frame, spacer and glass manufacturers.

During the summer meeting in Denver, Tom Culp, owner of Birch Point Consulting LLC in LaCrosse, Wis., presented a compromise that would “give NFRC the protection they need but also streamlines the process and reduces costs.” Under the proposal, both independent ACEs and manufacturer ACEs would have been subject to 100 percent review from an IA that would rate the quality of each product submission on an A to D scale. If independent ACEs submitted five or six reviews with high ratings, they would move to a statistical auditing program where only 10 percent of submissions required approval. A manufacturer ACE would submit 15 products under 100 percent review and then move to the statistical auditing program.

Although the membership voted strongly in favor of Culp’s compromise, the board overturned the vote, continuing to require 100 percent approval indefinitely for a manufacturer ACE.

“We want something that is easy and user friendly … but we cannot sacrifice independence and integrity,” Falke said. “We don’t have enough information to determine whether random sampling offers enough of a safeguard.”

The board could reconsider its decision in the future, once a scaled program can be proven successful, Falke said.

“We like the idea of random sampling, but to allow it right now is just too big of a leap,” Falke said. “We need to kick the tires for a little while longer before we make another decision.”

The CMA could be completed as early as the NFRC Spring membership meeting, March 3-6 in Nashville. Read a full feature about the continued issues surrounding the CMA in the October issue of Glass Magazine here.

CMA software ready for review

Although the CMA software tool was not demonstrated during the opening session, as previously scheduled, Jim Benney, NFRC executive director, said the tool is available for anyone in the industry to review for a 30-day trial.

“We’re still developing licensing agreements, links to Web sites, and we’re determining [how to set up] webinars so people can learn how best to use the tool,” Benney said. “The availability of the software tool provides tangible evidence that CMA is going to work. It allows manufacturers suppliers, contractors to model fenestration systems.”

During the next month, NFRC will collect feedback from industry representatives testing out the software to determine how well the program works and whether any changes are required before the CMA is finalized.
Contact NFRC to learn more about testing the software tool.

Read more coverage of the NFRC meeting that runs through Nov. 8 in next week’s edition of e-glass weekly.

—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter Editor, e-glass weekly


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