FGIA Analysis November/December 2022

October 25th, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

Consolidating Certification: Harmonizing Programs Brings Potential Benefits

By Amy Roberts

Insulating glass (IG) is an essential component of thermally-efficient fenestration. IG units (IGUs) appear simple enough at a glance, but, as we all know, they’re actually rather complex combinations. For components to work together reliably, IGUs used in certified products must be independently certified by an accredited program. These require accelerated
laboratory testing of product specimens under simulated environmental conditions per specified test methods, including gas concentration testing for IGUs with inert gas content and periodic plant audits that include verification of in-plant quality management systems.

Two often-referenced Canadian IG certification programs have existed in parallel for some time. Of these, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada’s (IGMAC) certification program verifies conformance of IG units to CAN/CGSB 12.8. The IGMAC certification program was instituted decades ago to serve manufacturers of IGUs produced and/or sold in Canada. An auditor from an approved inspection agency contacts the manufacturer to schedule an appointment to witness the fabrication of IG test samples. Then, the manufacturer can choose from two testing labs to conduct the required laboratory testing of the product samples.

The second program is the IGCC/IGMA Certification Program, which certifies products for conformance with ASTM E2190-19. This program is itself the result of a 2009 merger of certification programs operated by the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) and Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association (IGMA)—the latter of which merged, as of 2020, with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), to form FGIA.

Bringing the Two Together

Now, plans are afoot to partially merge both programs into something that allows manufacturers more flexibility in meeting the demands of their markets. The objective is to harmonize the IGCC/IGMA and IGMAC certification programs to maximize efficiencies in their administration, normalize requirements where possible and facilitate cross-certification to CAN/CGSB 12.8 and ASTM E2190. While IGCC/IGMA and IGMAC would remain separate programs, commonality will be maximized whenever and wherever possible to create a single procedural guide. The draft version of this harmonized procedural guide was sent to participating FGIA Glass Products Council members and IGMA certification voting members, as well as IGMAC participants, for a 28-day comment survey in August 2022. The goal is to have the new procedural guide implemented January 1, 2023.

The test frequency for both programs will be modified to require a prototype and first-year certified test, then testing every two years thereafter. Existing participants in the IGMAC program will be grandfathered to remain on the two-year testing cycle for existing product lines.

The ALI/AAMA Sealed IG Certification Program will continue to operate under its current arrangement. This program offers IG certification to ASTM E2190 through Dallas Laboratories Inc., a subsidiary of FGIA’s Gold Label administrator, Associated Laboratories Inc. (ALI).

The closer U.S. and Canadian requirements are, the more cross border acceptance, and the less confusion in the marketplace, which results in greater trust. Harmonization in oversight and administration will make it easier to control cost to the fabricator, as well as laboratory approval, and support can be better coordinated.

Amy Roberts is director of Canadian and Technical Glass Operations for the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA).

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