Volume 43, Issue 4 - April 2008

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CMA, Attachments and Air Leakage 
Under Discussion at NFRC Meeting
 

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) spring meeting, which took place in March at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., was relatively quiet until the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) Technical Subcommittee meeting. During the session several participants with strong ties to the commercial glazing industry spoke adamantly that, having expressed various concerns over the CMA’s development numerous times, the NFRC board continues to “not listen” to the industry’s concerns or its attempts to create a program more suitable to the commercial industry’s unique needs.

Declaring “a point at which frustration has set in,” neither Greg Carney, technical director for the Glass Association of North America (GANA) nor Margaret Webb, executive director for the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), responded to any ballots this round. Carney said on numerous occasions the commercial representatives have expressed concerns over various aspects of the CMA development process. Using the example of the “spacer system” terminology, Carney said membership has voted many times in agreement to remove the word “system,” however it has yet to be removed.

Mike Manteghi from TRACO, subcommittee chairperson, said he would arrange for a separate conference call to discuss the spacer terminology and finalize the issue.

Frame values ballot negatives were also discussed during the meeting. One debate centered on whether default values should be allowed. A ballot negative from ATI said it was not appropriate to include generic values in the documents and that it would be more feasible to assign a value to the overall product and not just the frame. Many in attendance spoke out for and against the ballot; a motion to find the issue non-persuasive passed. 

The CMA meeting continued with discussions over other ballots. The CMA frame grouping rules - NFRC 100 ballot and the generic CMA frame values - NFRC 200 were both sent back to task group for further work. A spacer grouping rules ballot was approved.

For once, the CMA development wasn’t the meeting’s only controversial topic; additional concerns grew out of the Attachments Subcommittee meeting. 

Dave DeBlock from ODL, chair of the Dynamic Attachments for Swing Doors Task Group, has been heading efforts to develop an attachments rating system. The system separates the way a consumer sees the window and the attachment, and provides a lettering scale rating (i.e., A products, B products, C products, etc.) for the attachment only; not the performance of the entire system. Designed as such, if a storm window, for example, was to be rated in the same fashion as a window, the performance values would be much lower than those of the windows alone. However, what a consumer might not understand is that such a rating on a storm window, once installed into the window system, will result in even greater performance numbers. 

Concerns arose over one ballot negative, which stated that having two separate rating systems rather than one uniform system wouldn’t fall under NFRC’s standard procedures. Since the negative was found persuasive the subcommittee will have to go back and re-create the system.

Discussions took place about the fact that the attachment rating system was developed precisely according to NFRC procedure, and DeBlock took the opportunity to express his concerns to the board of directors during its meeting.

“We’ve completed our task. We created a way to rate [attachment] products,” said DeBlock. He explained that the rating system would allow consumers to assess what they need to do—replace their windows or incorporate an attachment—given their own resources.

No board action was taken on the matter. Most believe that the intention to create a uniform system for rating attachments remains. Whether it’s the same system NFRC follows for rating doors and windows or something different is yet to be determined.

During the air leakage subcommittee meeting, members discussed whether or not NFRC 400, the procedure for determining fenestration product air leakage, should be removed from the group’s 2009 documents. Since determining air leakage performance is already covered by other programs, including those within AAMA and WDMA, members questioned whether there was a need for NFRC to also offer this program. Though a number of members spoke out against removing the document, as some codes require NFRC 400 testing, a motion was made requesting that the technical committee, to which the subcommittee reports, recommend to the board that NFRC 400 be withdrawn without replacement, effective January 1, 2009.

“Making a move like this could be good politically,” said ATI’s Rich Biscoe, “as it shows NFRC is yielding to what is already available.”

Once at the board level, opposition again arose, with members pointing out that NFRC 400 shouldn’t be removed due to the fact that it is referenced by certain codes.

The board unanimously approved a motion directing the Technical and Ratings Committees to revisit the issue.  The NFRC’s next meeting will take place July 28-31 in Chicago. 

CRL Purchase of Sommer & Maca Completed
Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence (CRL) has completed its purchase of Cicero, Ill.-based Sommer & Maca Industries Inc., according to announcements posted on both the companies’ websites. Sommer & Maca ceased to operate under its current name as of March 20. Since that date, Sommer & Maca’s website has pointed its former customers to CRL. The website notes, “CRL’s 19 North American warehouses will offer all Somaca products, and you can continue to use the Somaca Stock Numbers to place your orders with CRL.”

CRL’s site now includes an announcement, which reads, “On March 20, 2008, Sommer & Maca joined the CRL family of companies. CRL’s 19 North American warehouses now offer all Somaca Products …”

No word has been given as to how many employees have been hired by CRL as of Sommer & Maca’s official close. 

At press time officials at both CRL and Sommer & Maca were expected to release an announcement on the sale, but had not done so as yet. 


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