FGIA Analysis July/August 2020July 22nd, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
Same Name and Game: AAMA Certification Continues Under Original Nomenclature Through FGIA
By Jason Seals
As the original third-party door and window performance verification system, AAMA’s Certification Program provides a means for manufacturers to demonstrate product performance independently as required by industry standards. The unification of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) into the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) in no way affects this program, which is still identified by its AAMA name. Certification stands on three pillars:
Standards: All door and window certification programs are based on the industry consensus AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-17, North American Fenestration Standard/Specification (NAFS) for Windows, Doors, and Skylights, or one of its applicable predecessors, which offers a uniform, material neutral, performance-based and code-mandated platform.
Testing: A participating manufacturer sends a sample of the product(s) to be certified to an accredited testing laboratory capable of administering the requisite tests for NAFS conformance. If the product passes these tests, the manufacturer can apply appropriate labels to production line versions.
Production verification: The manufacturer certifies that production line units are built to the same specifications as the sample unit that was tested.
There are several door and window certification programs available—all serving the minimum function of acting as a passport to clear code compliance inspections, but not all are equal. When choosing among them, consider:
Is the test laboratory properly accredited and are test reports validated?
Under the FGIA/AAMA program, testing must be done at any of some 35 AAMA-accredited independent laboratories of the certifying manufacturer’s choosing. Test reports are sent from the lab directly to FGIA’s independent validator, Associated Laboratories Inc.
Note that any laboratory may be separately accredited to ISO/IEC 17025, General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories, and include in its accreditation scope the critical methods. However, the periodic accreditation body inspections that verify ISO/IEC 17025 compliance rarely require more than essentially an affidavit that the technicians have the correct testing equipment and know how to use it. By contrast, AAMA accreditation focuses on these key fenestration test methods and requires witnessing full performance of the test routine and verification of equipment calibration.
Do production line units continue to meet the standard?
Follow-up on-site inspections verify that actual production-line units continue to meet the requirements or are even still designed like the previously tested sample.
Under the FGIA/AAMA program, manufacturing plant production lines, component inventory and quality control records are checked twice annually through unannounced inspections.
Do components meet NAFS requirements?
Can components be changed at will, despite possible effects on the as-tested performance? The FGIA/AAMA Certification program requires that such components be tested by an accredited laboratory.
How will buying influences know about the product?
Approved products and their manufacturers are listed in the AAMA Certification Products Directory, an industry sourcebook for certified, quality products.
Certification adds value to a product by verifying conformance with code-required standards, increasing its marketability, facilitating the acceptance
of new products and managing exposure to legal liability.
Jason Seals is certification services manager, fenestration, for the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance.
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