It’s time for the glazing community to step up its game—or at least prove that its game is already there.

That was the general thinking in establishing the new North American Contractor Certification for Architectural Glass and Metal (NACC) program, which was developed through the sponsorship of the Finishing Contractors Association (FCA International) and the administration of Administrative Management Systems (AMS), the accredited body operating the program.

According to its website, the voluntary program provides “professionally administered third-party certification of [architectural glass and metal] contractors,” with areas of focus in the program including business practices, quality, competency and safety.

NACC began development a little over a year ago, and the program opened for enrollment in January.

Nick Carrillo, western region vice president of FCA International, says NACC was implemented primarily because of the desire of the contractor community “to raise the bar” in the industry. “They want to give the owners and end users value,” he says. “They want to be able to stand behind work they’re doing.”

Adds John Kent, president of AMS, “There was a general interest by the people involved early, a need to elevate the overall performance of architectural contract glazing.” He says that while no one likes added regulation, those involved in the program felt it was better to get ahead of the curve with self-policing rather than waiting for an outside influence to impose.

The program, according to its website, “is intended to provide building owners, general contractors, specifiers, architects, and other stakeholders, assurance that the [architectural glass and metal] fabrication and installation processes will be performed in conformance with the requirements laid out in the program.”

The “safety” aspect of NACC covers field and shop safety practices, as well as a company’s health and safety programs. The “quality and competency” aspect of certification looks at things like a company’s field and shop quality processes and quality management system, as well as “competency of key personnel.” Meanwhile, the “business practices” parameter focuses on a company’s code of ethics, experience, financial standing and professional references.

In addition to improving competency and helping level the playing field among contractors, Kent says a key goal of the program is to reduce the “significant” number of suit claims and re-works involving architectural glass and metal installations.

“There are big dollars involved in re-works and suits claims,” he says. “If we can chew away at even a small percentage of that, it can have a significant effect.”

Companies that apply for certification undergo evaluation of submitted documents and an on-site assessment, and they are required to correct deficiencies before gaining certification and listing in the program. Participating companies will have to meet annual requirements, including an audit, to maintain certification.

Last year, a procedural guide for the program was developed, fine-tuned and voted on by a balanced NACC governing board, which consists of equal representation from the contractor community and the user community—including architects, consultants, building owners, manufacturers and suppliers.

The procedural guide was completed in mid-December. In July, the first round of certified companies will be publicly announced. According to Kent, the program will continue to adapt and adjust over time, but the board thought it was important to get the process going this year. He says there will be an annual meeting held in the fall, where any requirement changes or additions for the following year can be discussed.

AMS is currently pursuing accreditation for the NACC program with ANSI.