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.

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 Jason Seals, certification manager for fenestration at FGIA. 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 installation 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.”

For part one of this article, which explains how the field tests are performed, click here.