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May  2004

AAMA Analysis

A Step Ahead 
ASTM is in Front of the Building Envelope Technology Curve
by Carl Wagus and John Smith

For more than 100 years, ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials), while relatively invisible to the general public, has been the quiet but meticulous force behind many product performance standards and the test methods. AAMA members and staff have long provided significant standards development leadership at ASTM. 

In the fenestration arena, the key committee of interest is the E06 committee on Performance of Buildings, and its E06.51 subcommittee on Performance of Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls. AAMA has had strong representation on the E06.51 subcommittee for many years. Through this participation, AAMA has had a key role in developing and maintaining the 25 standards now under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction. 

The perennial challenge is keeping these important documents current with advancing technologies of both material science and laboratory testing capabilities. There has been considerable activity of this sort during the past year. Some key examples include:

New Standards Development
Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, and Doors by Rapid Pulsed Air Pressure Difference. This new test method, designated E 2268, involves rapid (two-second) cycling of positive and negative pressures during water penetration testing as a means of simulating wind gusting during storms. Consistent with test methods used in Europe and Asia, it is designed to complement the existing E 331, E 547 and E 1105 test methods, which have been in use for many years.

Temperature Cycling. This new standard, designated E 2264 and titled “Practice for Determining the Effects of Temperature Cycling of Fenestration Products,” provides a method of testing the ability of fenestration products to resist the sometimes deleterious effects of ambient temperature variations. 

Revisions to 
Existing Standards

E 283, Test Method for Determining the Rate of Air Leakage Through Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, and Doors Under Specified Pressure Differences Across the Specimen. This is the basis for product air infiltration specifications, and has been revised to include new calibration requirements based on orifice plates as developed by AAMA members and used by all 32 AAMA accredited laboratories. E 783, Test Method for Field Measurement of Air Leakage through Installed Exterior Windows and Doors and a new proposed standard for measuring air leakage through the perimeters of fenestration products will also be revised to use the new calibration method.

F 588, Test Methods for Resistance of Window Assemblies to Forced Entry Excluding Glazing and F 842, Test Methods Forced Entry Resistance of Horizontal Sliding Door Assemblies define the testing and rating of products to resist forced entry. They have been revised to merge the requirements of the 
former AAMA and California Association of Window Manufac- turers test methods into a single, national standard.

Work in Progress
A new standard, Determining Air Flow through the Face and Sides of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, and Doors Under Specified Air Pressure Differences Across the Specimen is being balloted. When complete, it will complement E 283 and E 783 and provide a means to better evaluate the energy performance of entire building 
assemblies.

Revisions to standards for acoustical testing of fenestration products are being considered that would bring U.S. standards in line with ISO standards and provide more useful information to specifiers of acoustical performance.
Already immensely successful, E 2112, Standard Practice for Installation of Exterior Windows, Doors and Skylights, is being revised to include more complete requirements for flashing materials as well as new materials not included in the original standard. Guidelines for pan and sill flashing are being expanded in order to address performance levels higher than those specified in the existing document.

E 1886, Standard Test Method for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors and Storm Shutters Impacted by Windborne Debris in Hurricanes, and E 1996, Standard Specification for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors and Storm Shutters Impacted by Windborne Debris in Hurricanes, continue to be revised to incorporate the impact resistance requirements of very severe hurricanes and more closely match the existing requirements of Florida’s Dade and Broward Counties. Once complete, the updated standards are likely to be referenced in the Florida Building Code and used in South Florida and elsewhere in lieu of existing requirements.

A new standard for determining forced-entry resistance is being balloted. The Standard Specification for Voluntary Security Performance of Window and Door Assemblies with and without Glazing Impact, will combine the requirements of F 588, F 842 and F 476, Test Methods for Security of Swinging Door Assemblies, with new provisions for evaluating the resistance of windows and doors to forced entry by attempts to break the glazing.

Work continues on developing a single standard for evaluating the durability, load-carrying capacity and composite performance of thermal barriers. It includes test methods developed by AAMA and by 
the European Committee for Standardization.

This is just a sample of the detailed work that provides a solid foundation for uniformly applicable, technologically responsive performance standards. Though political wrangling before state regulatory bodies and contentious debate at code hearings gather more attention, it is this kind of behind-the-scenes work through ASTM that usually ends up making the most impact on product performance issues.

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