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 while AAMA 501-15, Methods of Test for Exterior Walls, and AAMA 501.1-17, the Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Windows, Curtain walls and Doors Using Dynamic Pressure, are the lab tests 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 FGIA.

The size and location of the specimen for AAMA 503 testing should be selected by the architect, specifier or owner’s representative. The default specimen is typically 100 square feet or larger and should include perimeter seals, typical splices, frames, intersections and, if applicable, at least two entire vision lites and two entire spandrel lites containing an intermediate vertical and an intermediate horizontal. Also, the test chamber should pressurize both the product and perimeter seals when possible.

“Field air leakage testing is not recommended for a portion of continuous curtainwall systems versus punched openings due to the complexity of compartmentalizing the system with air chambers. The area selected for testing can significantly affect the cost of testing. Selecting an area as small as 100 square feet of glazing may be insufficient to provide the information needed,” said Seals. “Both AAMA 502 and 503 define water leakage as penetration of uncontrolled water beyond a plane parallel to the glazing and intersecting the innermost projection of the test specimen not including interior trim and hardware. If uncontrolled water is observed and a source cannot be determined, then forensic evaluation using the procedures of AAMA 511 should be performed.”

The air infiltration test is conducted per ASTM E783. A minimum uniform static test pressure of 1.6 psf is required, or as specified for the project, but not to exceed 6.2 psf. The maximum allowable rates of air leakage for field testing shall not exceed 1.5 times the project specification rate, or 0.09 cfm/ft2, whichever is greater.

The water penetration test is conducted per ASTM E1105 at a static test pressure of two thirds of the specified project water penetration test pressure, but not less than 4.18 psf.

Unless otherwise specified, AAMA 503 specifies three failure modes for water leakage:

  • Water penetration attributable to the surrounding wall conditions, which includes uncontrolled water which did not originate from the fenestration product or the joint between the fenestration product specimen and the wall/roof;
  • Water penetration attributable to the fenestration product, which includes water not contained in an area with provisions to drain to the exterior; or
  • The collection of more than a 0.5 ounce of water in the 15-minute test period on top of an interior horizontal framing member surface.

Water penetration attributable to the perimeter joint is defined as uncontrolled water that originates at the joint indisputably.

For part two of this article, click here.