Codes & Standards
WinDoor 2018 – Report from the technical committee
By Patrick Flannery
Fenestration Canada holds committee meetings in conjuction with WinDoor where important work is done to advance the industry and the association. Fenestration Review sat down with Technical Committee chair Robert Jutras of UL/CLEB to discuss the activities of this group, which informs members about upcoming changes to industry standards and sends representatives to standards-making bodies to provide industry input to their deliberations.
The committee heard that there is a public review of proposed changes to the 2020 National Building Code open now and closing Jan. 4. The committee will be reviewing the proposal for changes that may impact the fenestration business. One of these is likely to be new provisions for egress and fall protection, and Jutras felt the committee will want to propose changes. A positive change is the potential revision to PVC being listed as a flammable material, which would open up many new possibilities for using vinyl windows on high-rise building facades. This would be an exciting change for window fabricators, but Jutras cautions that negative comments on the measure in this public review could still derail it. “Our feeling at FenCan is that this process is going in the way that the process change request was written,” Jutras said.
The committee has formed a task group to create guidelines for window manufacturers wishing to take advantage of provisions in Part 5 of the NBC to use engineering reports to document products as code-compliant even when they have not been tested to the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS). Al Jaugelis of RDH Building Science will chair. When products can be qualified this way is not simple to determine, but if a manufacturer understands the requirements they can potentially avoid a lot of costly testing on rarely used or custom-made products.
The committee discussed proposals under the Natural Resources Canada Roadmap for tightening window energy-efficiency rules over time. Developing these standards will be in the hands of CSA, but the committee stands ready to provide technical assistance as necessary.
NAFS-17 is now published and CSA has also produced a user guide linking NAFS-11 to -17. These documents are important as they highlight the changes from one version to the next. A similar guide for the Canadian Supplement is close to publication as well. The committee heard that ongoing efforts to create a simplified version of NAFS have gone through a first ballott and AAMA, CSA and the WDMA are working to address the comments with a view to going to a second ballott early next year. NAFS is a 180-page document now and Jutras anticipates the new document will be much shorter. As a side benefit, some increased harmonization between the U.S. and Canadian rules will result.
We asked Jutras if the committee had been looking at the metrics NRCan proposes to use for measuring window energy efficiency and he said, “That belongs to CSA A440.2. ER [energy rating] is a part of A440.2. If you want to change it, you have to go to A440.2. It’s a CSA standard. It’s not for the user of the document to decide how it’s going to be changed. They can be helpful in defining how it’s going to be changed, but it still has to go through A440.2. NRC (the National Research Council) has told every standards development group that they have to look at their Canadian standards to determine how they are going to be impacted by climate change. So there’s going to be change, but what they are, I don’t know.”
Sounds like it will be pretty hard to dislodge ER as the official metric, but perhaps changes will come to how ER is calculated.