Monday, July 28, 2008

CMA Software Demo Closes Day One

Closing out the day Monday, Charlie Curcija of Carli, Inc. gave a live demonstration of the CMA Software, CMAST.

Curcija, whose firm is developing CMAST, explained that the application on a user’s computer will have its own database that stores all of the client’s data. Components, certified products, and label certificates are then synchronized to the main server database for public view.

Users can also share data with their entire company. “The software allows you a flexible way of sharing different information on the server,” said Curcija.

During the hour-long demonstration, Curcija ran through a number of scenarios and explained in-depth how the software will function.

“This demonstration was extremely informative and gave everyone a real-time view of CMAST,” said NFRC Executive Director Jim Benney. “After all of the hard work that has been put into developing this – and other aspects of the CMA program – it’s really exciting to see the pieces come together.”

NFRC Holds IG Certification Forum

Certification Policy Committee Chair Roland Temple opened up the IG Certification Forum this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Temple began by explaining the set of criteria that a third-party IG Certification Program shall include.

According to the outline presented, NFRC will maintain a list of third party IG Certification Programs that have submitted a statement to NFRC stating they meet the requirements. This statement is to be provided to NFRC on an annual basis, but will not be independently verified. Rather, it is up to the program participant to verify they are in fact using an NFRC-listed certification program.

Temple opened the floor to debate and discussion ensued about this set of requirements versus the previously issued document.

Rich Biscoe of Architectural Testing, Inc., remarked that NFRC has “swung to the other side of the pendulum.” He added, “I was really hoping that this would be a way to take the IG Programs in the industry and take them a step further. Even the good programs out there today won’t need to be looked at.”

Others in the room were pleased with the new direction. “This is a major improvement,” said John McFee of the Window and Door Manufacturer’s Association. “It catches the original intent form the Board of Directors and membership.”

Moving forward, NFRC Chair Joe Hayden suggested that CPC issue a revised draft program document by the end of next week to distribute to the membership for comment.

Margaret Webb of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and Tracy Rodgers of Edgetech I.G. Inc. agreed to present a concept for CPC to bring to the Board of Directors on Thursday.

“Let us provide you with what was approved and what was accepted,” said Rodgers. “We certainly don’t want to go back to the task group level.”

The goal is to finalize the program language by the end of August.

Does the NFRC Label Expire?

The Certification Policy Committee handled a number of PCP interpretation requests during the committee meeting this afternoon.

Among the interpretation requests were two clarifications concerning the NFRC label.

Q) Does an NFRC label have an expiration date?
No, an NFRC label that is valid at the time of manufacture and application does not have an expiration date.
Q) Can NFRC’s permanent labeling requirements be met by placing a permanent label beneath a stop or glazing bead?
Yes, the permanent label shall be visible from the interior after product installation, or alternatively in a consistent location as identified by the manufacture in the NFRC Certified Products Directory.

CPC Chair Roland Temple of AZS Consulting, Inc. will report these interpretations to the Board on Thursday, July 31, and the next step will be to publish them in the PCP.

Housing Market Poised for Rebound

Pent-up demand and the need for improvements in the nation’s aging housing market portend a rebound in the U.S. housing market, according to Michael Collins, vice president of the Building Products Group at Jordan, Knauff & Company.

Collins, who spoke at the NFRC Summer Membership Meeting’s Opening Session in Chicago, told attendees that numerous signs suggest that the current housing crisis may be coming to an end.

“Four million net new jobs were created over the last four years and many renters are waiting on the sidelines” for the first sign that the economy is beginning to recover, Collins said. Combine that with aging homes and high energy prices, which will drive many homeowners to remodel with higher efficiency products – including doors and windows, and Collins said the stage is set for a recovery.

Conversely, the commercial market is beginning to soften, according to Collins, though unlike the residential market it will continue to grow – just more slowly than in the last several years.

“Commercial lags residential by about 18 months, so it’s coming into a bit of softness right now,” Collins said.

Collins also addressed Building Information Modeling, or BIM, saying that the technology will change the way that U.S. window and door manufacturers do business. Most prominently, Collins said, BIM will open up U.S markets to foreign companies and put pressure on U.S. companies to adopt BIM and compete.

“If you’re a commercial product manufacturer and you ever get spec’d by an architect, you’re going to want to be in there,” Collins said.

Collins also reported that the latest Jordan, Knauff survey of window and door manufacturers showed that NFRC was the most common certification, followed by ENERGY STAR(R).

Collins can be reached by e-mail at

NFRC Honors Founders

NFRC Executive Director Jim Benney honored the organization’s founding members and participants – or those who have belonged to or participated in NFRC for at least 15 years – today at the NFRC Summer Membership Meeting.

All together, NFRC honored 35 companies and roughly 10 were present in Chicago to receive their awards.

“We want to recognize those members who have been working to fulfill NFRC’s mission from the very beginning,” Benney said.

The founding members and participants are:

Alside Window Company
Amsco Windows
Andersen Corporation
Jeld-Wen, Inc.
Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., Inc.
Marvin Windows and Doors
Mercer Industries, Inc.
Metal Window Corporation
MI Windows and Doors, Inc.
Milgard Manufacturing, Inc.
ODL, Inc.
Pella Corporation
Simonton Windows
Valley Glass Corporation
VELUX - America, Inc.

ABC Window Company, Inc.
Alenco Windows
ATI Windows
Atmos Corporation dba Merzon Industries
Atrium Companies, Inc.
Empire Pacific Windows
Fleetwood Windows & Doors
General Aluminum Company
Hurd Windows & Doors, Inc.
Hy-Lite Products
International Window Corporation
Jordan Company
Loewen Windows
Peachtree Doors and Windows
SNE Enterprises, Inc.
Tashco Industries, Inc.
Thermal Line Windows
Weather Shield Mfg., Inc.
Weathervane Windows LLC
Westview Products, Inc.
Window Logic Corporation
Windsor Windows and Doors

By The Numbers

Chicago proved to be very popular among NFRC’s members. The Summer Membership Meeting has attracted:

-- 117 attendees representing 84 different companies

-- 12 first-time attendees

-- 3 new member companies: Glen Raven, Inc., the National Glass Association, and the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association

Welcome to everyone!

And We’re Off…

NFRC’s Summer Membership Meeting got underway this morning with a series of task group meetings along two parallel tracks.

One track included task groups on CMA and the other task groups on storm windows, dynamic attachments for swinging doors, interior attachments (shades, blinds, etc.), and exterior attachments such as screens and awnings.

With so much interest in attachment ratings, an expert panel held an Attachment Forum that drew close to 50 participants. The panel, which included Jim Benney, Tom Culp, Joe Hayden, and Fred Higgins, discussed:

-- The length of the process, which is necessary to reach consensus and protect the technical integrity of the NFRC rating and certification system.

-- How to move forward on exterior attachments through consultation between the task group and the Board.

-- How to balance a "top down" v. "bottom up" approach to attachment ratings in order to make sure that interested parties benefit both from guidance from the Board of Directors and the expertise present among the NFRC membership.

Also meeting Monday morning: the CMA Labeling Task Group, the CMA Validation Task Group, the CMA Technical Task Group, and the Garage/Rolling Door Task Group.