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Frame grouping rules, board policies questioned at NFRC meeting

Post Time:Nov 12,2013Classify:Industry NewsView:47

NFRC Meeting Survival Guide: Don’t leave home without it.

"Why don’t more industry players attend NFRC meetings? Ever since the group starting work on a commercial window rating program five thousand years ago, NFRC members have been rallying to get everyone from architects to building owners, contract glaziers to manufacturers, celebrity stylists to American Idol finalists, to the meetings. Yet, attendance hasn’t really increased..." read more

Manufacturers and several test laboratory representatives butted heads over the use of default values in the nonresidential rating program under development by the National Fenestration Rating Council of Greenbelt, Md. The debate over the use of default values in the frame grouping rules—with test labs arguing against and manufacturers arguing for it—took place during the third day of the NFRC’s fall meeting, Nov. 5-8, in Tempe, Ariz. The Component Modeling Approach program calculates a whole-system rating by combining individual ratings of the frame, glass and spacer. The frame grouping rules would allow manufacturers to find a rating for their product by having it tested, or by using a default value set from other like products already in the system. Companies that use the default will be penalized by only receiving the worst-case value for a like system. “[Frame grouping] is a must have for frame manufacturers,” said Tom Culp, owner of Birch Point Consulting in La Crosse, Wis. “Small manufacturers might not be able to pay to have their products tested, and big manufacturers might not always have the time to calculate the rating. They would be willing to take the penalty by using the default.” Several representatives of test labs at the meeting argued that defaults had never been used in NFRC and might create problems in the future if more NFRC ratings start to rely on them. “It’s a dangerous slope,” said Randy Van Voorst, president of Quality Testing Inc. in Everett, Wash. “What if it’s extended to all sorts of things? It allows someone to do absolutely nothing to compete with someone who spent their money to [get their system tested].” Attendees voted 32-16 in favor of keeping the defaults and frame grouping rules in the CMA. Jeff Baker, president of WestLab Canada in West London, Ontario, questioned whether the board should approve the use of default values before more progress is made by membership, prompting another heated discussion about the board of directors’ ability to overturn membership decisions. “NFRC is membership driven,” Baker said. “If the membership deviates from the mission of the organization too far, the board will bring it back in.” Greg Carney, technical director for the Glass Association of North America, Topeka, Kan., argued, “If absolutely everything we do here has to be taken back to the board even when membership states a strong majority, then why are we here?” Several major membership decisions have not been approved by the board, including a recent decision about the role of the manufacturer as an approved calculation entity. Read more about the decision here.

—By Katy Devlin, e-newsletter editor, e-glass weekly

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