Volume 43, Issue 5 - May 2008

Dear USG             

Uniting the Industry
Dear USGlass:
Bless you for speaking out against the tyrannical imposition of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) (see March 2008 USGlass, page 6). Energy conserving requirements for design in all buildings became fundamental. The glazing trade immediately rose to the need. Certainly, the glass and metal trades met the challenge by developing products to preserve fenestration. The glass manufacturers have developed glass (in surprisingly short time) that has met or surpassed our greatest expectations in filling openings in buildings that convert heat/loss gain into outstanding benefits. They did this without NFRC.

In the beginning, a group saw a great opportunity in creating an agency that would test, qualify and label glazing that met energy requirements. They would name this new (and private) agency the National Fenestration Rating Council. They met with governmental energy departments and convinced them that their complicated layers of procedures would assure the consumer of compliance. Their crowning accomplishment was convincing an agency of the federal government, the Department of Energy (DOE), that NFRC should be the qualifying agency.

Armed with the blessing of their partner, the DOE, they corralled the window manufacturers (WM) and beat them into submission. The quality costs were horrendous. The WM objected, but felt they could survive since they would have to go through this rigorous and expensive program once for each new product. The WM were a small group compared to the contract glazing industry that was next in the sights of the NFRC.

The NFRC launched its “site built” qualifying program in mid-2000. The objections started immediately. Many felt they had no alternative. Many more strenuously sounded their objections. This program requires that all projects be modeled. Obviously, this was planned to be a superb profit generator. Remember that the glass manufacturers provide the U & R rating of each of their products, as do the aluminum manufacturers of broken products. Public domain programs had been developed to compute the applicability of the manufacturer’s numbers into energy design requirements. Why do we need testing through mock-up models?

Yes, there needs to be a method of verification by a third party that the energy consultants’ prescriptions have been met. Can this not be a filing of the computational results with a verifying body? Maybe this should be an agency like NFRC, not through the currently imposed layers. The expense and delay on projects is unwarranted.

It is time that the Glass Association of North America, the National Glass Association, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Americas Glass Association unite with the industry in a concerted effort to limit the aggressive exploitation of the American glazing industry without sacrificing energy conservation.

P.S. Thank you, Deb.

Donn Harter
President and Director of Technical Services
Americas Glass Association
Placerville, Calif. 

Doing It Right the First Time 
Dear USGlass:
I am presently the director of training for the Finishing Trades Institute of District Council #91 of the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades. We train painters, drywall finishers, hydroblasters and glaziers. Our glazier apprentices must work hard to finish our four-year program in order to achieve a journeyman status. Our glazier training topics cover math, sealants, blueprint reading, scaffolds, plastics, rigging, storefront construction, welding, Occupational Safety and Health Administration outreach classes and many more. Today’s construction industry is constantly becoming more complicated and requires more technical training as new products reach the consumer market.

If your article (see “U.S. Department of Labor Asks: Is Window Installation Apprenticeable?” in February 2008 USGlass, page 24) is referring to residential work then perhaps you should look at what happened in the southern regions of our country when external insulating finishing systems were applied. Homes started rotting from within because of improper installation that was capturing moisture inside the wall cavities. These failures not only created lawsuits but hurt that industry’s reputation as a whole. Please consider that apprenticeships help insure that our nation’s youth learn the proper way to work in any construction field. It is always less expensive to do it right the first time!

Sincerely, 
Cliff Shoulders 
Director of Training Finishing Trades Institute of DC 91 
Evansville, Ind. 

 


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