AGMT and IGMA Certification Programs Undergo Review and Accreditation
Two certification programs could soon make a difference for con-tract glaziers and manufacturers. Administrators of the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician (AGMT) Certification Program have begun beta-testing the knowledge-based portion of the certification process, with the first 55 candidates taking a written exam. Likewise, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) has begun the accreditation process for its own IGMAC Certification Program.
AGMT Beta Testing
The goal of beta-testing the knowledge-based portion of the AGMT Certification Program is to ensure that test candidates can understand and accurately answer questions that will be used in the final version of the written exam. It helps eliminate questions that do not trend well or appear to “trick” the candidate to answer incorrectly, according to the announcement.
This written exam is one component of the program being developed by third-party certification body Administrative Management Systems (AMS) with support and guidance from industry steering committees. It will assess the fundamental knowledge required to proficiently perform foundational and basic glazing tasks to identify glaziers who have the ability to perform work in a manner that will minimize defects and failures.
The beta-testing is the final step to ensure that the test is a well-written assessment.
“We are running the beta tests in multiple regions of North America to determine if there are any variations in comprehension of the exam based on geography,” says program manager Jeff Dalaba.
AGMT program coordinator Josh Morehouse has been administering the beta exam to technicians.
“We have been very impressed with the attention, support and knowledge the technicians have demonstrated during this beta-test process,” he says. “The feed-back we have gained will be invaluable for us in establishing the final exam.”
There are 30 glass- and glazing-related knowledge, skill and ability areas from which the written exam will draw.
IGMA has selected the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as the third-party accreditation body for its IGMAC Certification Program. ANSI will perform annual assessments of the IGMAC certification process to ensure it meets stringent international requirements (ISO 17065:2012). In addition to ANSI’s assessments, AMS will operate as the certification body.
Program accreditation is expected to be granted in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Manufacturer participants in the IGMAC program will notice little change to the certification process. IGMA will remain the program administrator and will still coordinate certification activities and conduct product reviews. Once accredited, the IGMAC certificates will bear the AMS and ANSI logos.
The requirements placed on participant manufacturers’ products will remain unchanged as a result of this accreditation. Product testing will still be conducted by participant-selected, IGMAC-approved testing laboratories to the same IGMAC-recognized test methods and standards. Certified products will still be inspected by IGMAC-approved inspection agencies.
To realize the benefits of this new arrangement, manufacturer participants will need to re-execute an updated license agreement with IGMA and AMS. The new agreement is expected to be sent out to manufacturer participants in the third quarter of this year.
IGCC Conducts Pilot Studies for Faster Certification
The lnsulating Glass Certification TCouncil (IGCC) has conducted several pilot studies during the past five years to define a path to faster certification and better prediction of insulating glass (IG) unit performance.
The studies have utilized shortened ASTM E-2190-type exposure testing, along with additional quality assurance criteria, and the results compared to full E-2190 test results. In the most recent pilot program, additional units were tested in two other types of accelerated weathering chambers, as well as the E-2190 type chambers, and the results were compared to each other as well as E-2190.
According to the IGCC, there is known variability in E-2190 results, some of which is likely due to differences in the design, construction and interpretation of operation of existing E-219O chambers. Therefore, 100-percent correlation to E-2190 is probably not realistic. The goals of the PC program are to:
- Accelerate the path to certification;
- Produce conservative results (more false failures than false passes);
- Generate data so the program can be refined and improved;
- To be a benefit to the IG industry by providing a tool that can be used for research and development; and
- To create a tool to better define IG unit performance and provide metrics for specifying units.
The primary focus of lGCC’s efforts have been to define a path to Provisional Certification, which would better predict IG unit quality and allow a manufacturer to certify compliance of an IG product, pending the outcome of full ASTM retesting. Provisional Certification would only be applicable for designs and materials that already have a successful track record with tests.
The results of the pilot studies also led to the decision by the IGCC board to approve and fund a new research and development initiative to develop an economical accelerated weathering chamber. This will create cycles to stress the sealants, different from the current high- and low-temperature cycles in ASTM E2188, which are time consuming.
A prototype chamber is currently under construction. An initial research and development program is being developed to verify the capabilities of the chamber and to establish viable parameters for the environmental cycling. This program will use advanced capability sensors from FDR Design (iTig sensors) to continuously monitor the conditions inside the IG units during the process. IG test units with reduced desiccant and/or defined defects will be specially fabricated for this effort in order to accelerate results and to reduce or eliminate the tendency of the desiccant to mask or delay the detection of moisture inside the IG units.
If the research and development effort yields promising results, IGCC plans to build more chambers, place them in independent labs and conduct a new pilot study to test IG units in parallel with E-219O to compare results.
While exact correlation to E-2190 is unlikely, the IGCC hopes that a simpler, more economical weathering chamber will produce more reliable results in a shorter time, with less cost and effort than current methods. Another anticipated benefit of this simplified testing chamber is that it will allow the flexibility to test to much higher standards for applications such as structural or commercial/high-rise use where IG failures may result in much higher risk and cost than in the typical residential application.
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