How to Use Pre-Construction Mock-Ups to Verify Performance

In an effort to explain how to use AAMA 503 to verify installed performance for glazing products, the Fenestration & Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) held a webinar titled, “Using AAMA 502 and 503 to Verify Installed Performance.”

AAMA 503-14, Voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls and Sloped Glazing Systems, is the field-test for newly installed storefronts, curtainwall and sloped glazing. AAMA 503 defines “newly installed” as being installed prior to issuance of the occupancy permit, not to exceed six months after the permit’s issuance.

AAMA 511-08, Voluntary Guideline for Forensic Water Penetration Testing of Fenestration Products, is to be used after the building occupancy permit has been issued, if it has been more than six months since the product was installed or if the source of leakage cannot  be established using AAMA 503-14. All testing should be performed by an AAMA-accredited lab, according to Jason Seals, certification manager for fenestration at

These field-tests can first be performed on pre-construction mock-ups, which are a part of the overall quality control program for the installation of building envelopes, according to Seals. These are full-size representations of the proposed construction, used to evaluate proposed design and construction details or  to test for performance. Seals explained that most curtainwall, storefront and sloped glazing manufacturers are familiar with testing job-specific mock-ups.

“Mock-ups of walls with punched openings have been less common but are increasing in popularity,” he added.

Pre-construction mock-ups allow for the identification of any construction issues relative to the design so they can be addressed prior to the actual installation of the building envelope.

“At this point, details might need to be modified based on appearance, ease of construction or if they are able to identify cost savings,” said Seals.

Pre-construction mock-ups also allow:
• The glazing manufacturer, installer and building owner to confirm that the waterproofing details are correct before installation beings;
• Training for the glazing contractors and other trades; and
• The revision of the waterproofing details in the event of a failure without the need to remove products from the building.

After the use of pre-construction mock-ups, AAMA 503 recommends additional testing at 5%, 50% and 90% completion of installation.

“This creates an overall building envelope quality control program and can confirm details of installation using pre-construction mock-up,” said Seals.

Difference Between Lab and Field-Tests

Seals explained that the default pressures used for air and water penetration resistance tests conducted in the field are not the same as the laboratory test pressures.

“This is to allow for field conditions that vary from those of the laboratory. These conditions are primarily related to the ambient and environmental conditions and the product’s installation,” he said, adding that wind and temperature conditions in the field typically vary from those in the lab.

Installation conditions also influence product performance, as field installations are rarely perfectly plumb, level and square in a precision opening like those in the lab.

“Shipping, handling, acts of subsequent trades, aging and other environmental conditions all may have an adverse effect upon the performance of the installed specimen,” said Seals.

A one-third reduction of the test pressure for field water testing is recommended as a reasonable adjustment for the differences between a lab test environment and a field-test environment. The one-third reduction in pressure does not prohibit specifiers from selecting field-test pressures based on their project-specific conditions. However, it should be specified before the products are ordered or, at least, before testing begins at the jobsite.

“The same factors that affect the water penetration test also affect the air infiltration test: installation, cleanliness and abuse,” said Seals. “All have a huge influence on the results of an air leakage test.”

Three New Glazing Contractors Receive NACC Certification

The North American Contractor Certification (NACC) Program has certified three additional companies. All three companies join the ranks of independently assessed glazing contractors having satisfactorily completed a significant and time-intensive evaluation process establishing a baseline for competency, business practices, and adherence to industry-accepted guidelines.

The newly certified companies are:
• Architectural Glass & Metal of Clifton Park, N.Y.;
• Bell County Glass Company Inc. of Killeen, Texas; and
• Spring Glass and Mirror Ltd. of Spring, Texas.

“The program continues to gain widespread acceptance,” says Jeff Dalaba, the program’s general manager. “Even during the coronavirus pandemic interest has grown, as evidenced by these three companies who completed the process [in June].”

Program technical manager Ben Beeler noted that the NACC program is receiving added attention in Texas.

“Bell County Glass Company and Spring Glass and Mirror have now joined Anchor-Ventana Glass, which was the first Texas glazing contractor to attain NACC certification,” says Beeler.

He adds that there is a fourth contractor who has undergone the assessment process and is currently working on completing its final requirements.

“NACC certification has become synonymous with quality assurance,” says Beeler. “It’s a reason for building owners, architects and general contractors to have confidence in a glazing contractor’s ability to consistently provide high quality systems that stand the test of time.”

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