First Rating System to Certify Fenestration Products for Blast Hazard Mitigation Is Introduced by AAMA

A testing and certification program for windows, glass doors and curtainwalls exposed to blast conditions, has been introduced by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). This new program responds to the dangers of personal injury and fatalities resulting from blast events, according to the association. The program combines an approved process for testing blast-resistant fenestration products with a certification program that verifies the quality of ongoing production and installation practices.

"The challenge of getting an installed blast-resistant fenestration product that meets the required performance for protection has long been a concern for designers, engineers, building owners and suppliers and installers of the fenestration products," explained Ed Conrath, P.E. for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Protective Design Center, who was actively involved in the Blast Mitigation Task Force. "AAMA, through the development of their voluntary guide specification and subsequent certification program, has established a method by which products can be certified to be installed as intended. The speed with which the certification program documents were implemented is a testament to AAMA's comprehensive experience with fenestration products used in commercial, institutional and government buildings," he added.

The need for blast mitigation performance standards became a reality after terrorist attacks in the United States, according to Rich Walker, AAMA executive vice president. "Many government and private agencies began mandating that structures be designed to mitigate the severity of the explosive impact of a bomb or accidental blast -- but few testing procedures existed," he continued. "AAMA answered the need for a certification program to verify continued compliance by licensing the use of its AAMA 510-06 document (Voluntary Guide Specification for Blast Hazard Mitigation for Fenestration Systems) to Architectural Testing Inc."

The certification program allows for both product-specific and project-specific certifications so that specifiers can be assured that products they approve consistently meet the program requirements. According to Walker, a typical manufactured door or window can be certified for a period up to eight years, with ongoing quality control monitoring similar to that used for the AAMA Gold Label Certification Program. In the case of project-specific certification, verification is made by the program administrator at the manufacturing plant and the job site to validate the manufacturer's certification specific to one project.

Architectural Testing Inc. (ATI), of York, Pa., has been established by AAMA as the program administrator.

AAMA 510-06, The Voluntary Guide Specification for Blast Hazard Mitigation for Fenestration Systems, can be downloaded free from the AAMA website.

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