IGMA Discusses Equivalency, Education and Testing at Summer Conference

By Jordan Scott

Certification, safety and technology were some of the major topics at the Insulating Glass Manufactures Alliance (IGMA) Summer Conference 2018 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in August.

The conference, which took place at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, also gave members insight into solutions for bird collisions with glass and the proposed combination of IGMA with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).

IGCC Provisional Certification

The conference began when John Kent, president of Administrative Management Systems (AMS) and administrative manager of the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC), spoke about where the IGCC’s provisional certification is in the creation process.

The purpose of the testing is to create a less expensive and quicker rapid assessment chamber that correlates to the ASTM E 2190 standard so that manufacturers will know if an insulating glass unit (IGU) will fail before sending it out to a third-party lab for a lengthy certification process.

Kent said that although testing has been suspended, the testing team is currently seeking engineering assistance to design a proposed dual chamber system with cooling.

He is hoping to test IGUs to 130-de-gree temperatures with -1 psi and a 50-second pressure cycle. Unlike previous testing, cold temperatures will be added, and edge constraints will vary.

“The ASTM E 2190 standard test is not popular. People just don’t have the chambers,” said Kent. “Potentially it’s because they’re big and expensive. We feel if we can make this be less expensive, more people will have them at the end of their production lines. If they have one in the plant to place units into, they’ll have a fairly good idea if it will correlate with independent lab tests.”


The IGCC and IGMA certification program has established a voluntary fingerprint program for sealants, and has since moved onto desiccants. The team reached out to the ASTM D 32 committee on desiccants to discuss test procedures, but none currently exist.

According to Kent, desiccants are unregulated.

“The biggest recommendation we got from the committee was to specify precisely what we want in a desiccant,” he said.

IGMA executive director Margaret Webb said that IGMA is the right place to develop testing for desiccants be-cause nothing currently exists.

The fingerprinting program would be voluntary to give the program a starting point.

IGMAC Certification

The IGMAC Certification Program will baseline test to ASTM E 2189 on units identical to those fabricated for ASTM E 2188 testing. The testing will be done every four years. Companies can pick their worst case or highest volume product.

“We’re leaving the definition of worst case to the discretion of the fabricator,” said Kent.

Spacer equivalency is another focus of the IGMAC program. “Everything in equivalency was level until we hit category two and three spacers,” said Webb.

Category one spacers act as spacers and use one material. Category two acts as a spacer, but contains more than one material. Category three spacers have multiple materials and multiple functions.

“We need to have a sense of the geometry and materials to determine equivalency. If we can’t do this then the result will be that nothing is equivalent, and we’ll have to go through six months of testing to find out,” said Kent. “We need help from the spacer guys.”

IG Fabricator Workshop

Bill Briese, Education and Safety Task Group chair, informed attendees that the IG Fabricator Workshop could be extended into a double session in November in Plano, Texas. That lo-cation consistently has sold out and the group is hoping to continue that success.

The workshop gives hands-on education about the process of creating an insulating glass unit. IGMA gave its members a preview of the workshop at the summer conference, giving members access to units with defects and the tools to determine what caused each unit to fail.

Safety Awareness

Mike Burk of Sparklike dressed like a glass plant worker to drive home the message that safety is important.

“Everyone in our industry should go home every day. They shouldn’t die or have to go to the hospital,” he said. “We’re getting better. Safety programs are get-ting better and people are wearing more personal protective equipment.”

Burk informed attendees that incentive programs are not an effective safety method. Keeping track of the number of days without an accident can discourage employees from re-porting an accident or injury for fear of losing incentives for their coworkers.

He also recommended ways to avoid caught in/between incidents. Burk suggested making sure employees have a clear escape, don’t carry glass in tight spaces, clear any trip hazards and spills, work on level floors and not attempt to catch or stop falling glass.


The Technical Services Committee met on the final day of the conference and discussed polyisobutylene (PIB). According to Dave Cooper of Guardian, who is also on the IGMA board of directors, the PIB Primary Sealant document is close to being finished. It describes PIB and gives root cause in-formation of PIB migration and creep. Once it is completed it will be balloted.

The next IGMA meeting is set for February 4-7, 2019 at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown in Austin, Texas.

The IGMA/AAMA Combination Explained

The potential combination of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) was an important issue discussed during the summer conference, as members were given a first glimpse into what a unified organization could look like. The board of directors of both organizations announced the possibility in June following 12 months of discussions among a joint exploratory team.

During the conference, IGMA executive director Margaret Webb and AAMA executive vice president Janice Yglesias outlined a potential combination strategy and solicited IGMA member questions and comments.

A combined organization would have a new name and both a Canadian and American focus. The AAMA, IGMA and IGMAC branding would remain on existing documents.

Currently, the joint exploratory team is considering dividing the organization into three product groups: architectural (APG), residential (RPG) and glass (GPG). The GPG would en-compass existing IGMA committees. IGMA members would have the option to join only the GPG.

The goal is to merge the best practices from each organization to manage technical documents. Any new documents created by the new organization would be branded with the new organization’s name.

The board would include 13 members total under the proposed structure: four officers, three RPG members, three GPG members and two at-large members. The exploratory team is considering maintaining AAMA’s three conferences a year rather than IGMA’s two. One of those meetings would be in Canada.

Maintaining IGMA’s current level of involvement in Canada was a requirement for IGMA to consider negotiations.

Yglesias said that the access IGMA has to the Canadian market would be a great benefit to AAMA.

The joint IGMA/AAMA Summer Conference 2019 will be a trial run of the proposed unified organization. Members will be able to vote on the combination after the summer meeting next year. According to IGMA’s bylaws, only members in the manufacturer membership category can vote on this organization change. Manufacturers and suppliers in AAMA can vote on the issue.

IGMA’s staff would be retained. Webb plans to overlap with whoever fills her role for one year during the transition period, and expects to retire in three years.

“It’s challenging for us to do everything. We need more staff to provide the products and services that everyone wants,” said Webb. “We want to do more, especially in the Canadian codes arena.”

Webb cited IGMA’s “excellent working relationship” with AAMA as a reason for choosing this organization. Another option would be to hire a management team to take over once she retires.

One of the major concerns brought forth by members during the question and answer session was the end of IGMA’s autonomy under a unified organization. Yglesias assured members that AAMA works to give everyone a voice.

Both Webb and Yglesias asked for members to contact them with their concerns so that the exploratory team can create an effective strategy going forward.

Preventing Millions of Bird Deaths

Scientists estimate that up to 42 mil-lion birds are killed from collisions with glass in Canada every year. That estimate goes as high as nearly 1 billion in the U.S., according to Krista De Groot, land-bird biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service, who spoke at the IGMA summer conference.

The seminar, “Bird Collisions with Glass: An Opportunity for Conservation and Innovation” explained the causes of bird collisions with glass and offered several solutions.

De Groot said that glass has become a serious conservation threat to birds.“They collide with glass wherever it’s found in the built environment, including patio rails, noise barriers, wind breaks, greenhouses and buildings,” she said.

“Even if you look at the lowest end of the estimates, that’s around 365 million bird deaths in the U.S. each year. That’s equivalent to 445 deepwater horizon oil spills every year,” said De Groot.

She explained that when migrating birds reduce their altitude toward morning or during inclement weather they become exposed to city light and become vulnerable to structures in their air space. During the daytime when flying, birds‘ lack of frontal vision makes them susceptible to clear glass collisions. They will attempt to fly through it to get to vegetation on the other side.

De Groot said that reflective glass is also a major issue. because it can be a perfect mirror of vegetation and sky. College campuses are a major problem area because of the tendency for large windows to be in proximity to nature.

“Windows of any size can cause collisions,” she said. “The solution is to make the glass visible to birds with visual markers.”

Markers need to be on surface one ofthe glass for birds to see them clearly. High contrast markers allow birds to see them from far away. The gaps between markers shouldn’t be more than 4 inches horizontal and 2 inches vertical because birds can fly through small spaces.

“For decals to be effective they have to cover the whole window,” said De Groot. “You can’t just stick one decal on a window and expect it to be effective.”

Several cities offer incentives for bird-friendly practices and a growing number of jurisdictions have bird-friendly building guidelines.

“LEED has Pilot Credit 55 which encourages the reduction in use of glass or use of glass with bird-friendly patterns,” said De Groot. “There are many retrofit and aftermarket products available.”

There are a number of bird-friendly glazing options available such as Arnold Glas’ Ornilux Mikado, which includes a UV pattern on surface three; Walker Glass’ AviProtek, which includes acid etching and UV on surface one; and Glas-Pro’s Bird Safe, which includes UV ink on surface one.

“There’s an opportunity for innovation here. Taking action to mitigate bird collisions with glass is gaining momentum,” said De Groot. “There is a growing market for bird-friendly glass.”

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