Volume 38, Issue 12, December 2003

Codes&Regulations

Walker and Abel Take Their Case Against Wired Glass to Capitol Hill

Over the past three years Greg Abel, founder of Advocates for Safe Glass (AFSG), and Oregon state Sen. Vicki Walker have spoken out in an attempt to limit the use of wired glass in buildings both in the state of Oregon and nationally. In late October they took their case to Washington D.C. where they met with both federal regulators and members of Congress on the matter.

1,500 Installers Certified in AAMA’s InstallationMasters™ Program
The American Architectural Manufacturer’s Association (AAMA) has announced that 1,500 window installers have been certified through its InstallationMasters program. AAMA says it reached this number October 1 when a group of candidates earned certifications by Architectural Testing Inc., the program’s administrator.

To earn certification candidates must have at least 12 months of field experience as an installer, apprentice or helper involved in physically installing the windows.

The two met with each of Oregon’s Congressional delegation offices and are also working closely with Sen. Wyden, who Walker and Abel say was “supportive and instrumental in setting up a meeting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).” They briefed the delegation on Oregon’s leadership role in adopting the new International Building Code (IBC) safety regulations regarding wired glass.

In their meeting with the delegation, Walker and Abel talked about safety concerns they have about wired glass and its exemption from impact safety standards by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) since 1977. 

In addition, they met with the officials in CPSC’s Office of Compliance, as well as other CPSC staff, “to present evidence to substantiate a petition to remove the wired glass exemption, or request the CPSC to issue a safety advisory regarding the use of wired glass,” stated a press release issued by Sen. Walker’s office. Also favoring Walker and Abel’s proposal were Susan Winn of the Consumer Federation of America and Lloyd Potter of the Children’s Safety Network. Abel presented evidence of injury data, technical data from alternative products, industry test data and other data supporting AFSG’s claims for a standard change. “I’m very concerned the product being sold in the United States is not only unsafe in the first instance, but unsafe even by these poorly designed industry standards,” said Sen. Walker.
They next met with FTC officials to discuss consumer fraud relating to test data and issues relating to unfair trade practices. Abel has had wired glass products tested at independent labs on two different occasions, and says the product failed each time.

The FTC is reviewing issues regarding unfair trade practices “given the fact that wired glass so dominates the America market,” said Walker. She said the FTC will be examining whether wired glass has gone outside the exemption granted to it by the CPSC and whether it has engaged in other activities that are not permissible under American law.

“Just perusing any legal search engine, you can find a history of price fixing and anti-trust lawsuits dating back to 1984 and as recent as September 2003 involving some of the major wired glass manufacturers and their related entities,” said Walker. “I’m sure the FTC will have a field day on this one.”
Info www.afsgi.org.

New Skylight Standard on the Horizon 
Under a new NFRC standard, effective April 1, 2004, skylight manufacturers will begin simulating new products using the new 20-degree slope.

Because of the change from 90 to 20 degrees, it may seem as though the ratings will change, possibly implying that the skylight is less efficient. However, nothing will change about the product except the ratings, which will better reflect efficiencies in relation to the building envelope, reported the Window and Door Manufacturers Association in its newsletter.
 


USG

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