FGIA Explains How to Use AAMA Resources to Verify Installed Performance

April 30th, 2020 by Jordan Scott

In an effort to explain how to use AAMA 502 to verify installed performance for fenestration products and the differences between field and lab testing, the Fenestration & Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) held a webinar titled, “Using AAMA 502 and 503 to Verify Installed Performance.”

AAMA 502-12, Voluntary Specification for Field Testing of Newly Installed Fenestration Products, is the field test while AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-17, North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for Windows, Doors and Skylights (NAFS), is the lab test. AAMA 503 defines “newly installed” as being installed prior to issuance of the occupancy permit, not to exceed six months after the permit’s issuance.

AAMA 511-08, Voluntary Guideline for Forensic Water Penetration Testing of Fenestration Products, is to be used after the building occupancy permit has been issued, if it has been more than six months since the product was installed or if the source of leakage cannot be established using AAMA 502-12. All testing should be performed by an AAMA-accredited lab, according to Jason Seals, certification manager for fenestration at FGIA.


NAFS uses ASTM E283 for air leakage testing and ASTM E547 and/or E331 for water penetration resistance testing. Both tests are performed under controlled environmental conditions and prototype test samples are mounted perfectly plumb, level and square per manufacturers’ tolerances and installed strictly per the manufacturer’s instructions in a precise test buck opening.

AAMA 502

AAMA 502 references ASTM E783 for air leakage testing and ASTM E1105 for water penetration by uniform or cyclic static air pressure difference. While ASTM defines the test method, Seals explained that AAMA 502 defines the measurements and test conditions as well as providing the pass/fail criteria.

One of the most important steps in a successful field test is pre-test planning, said Seals. Project specs should identify the requirement to test per AAMA 502, including number and types of products to be tested, milestones at which testing should begin, test pressures and pass/fail criteria. For larger projects, AAMA 502 recommends testing at regular intervals as part of an overall building envelope quality control program. It suggests testing a 5%, 50% and 90% completion.

Unless otherwise specified, the default allowable air leakage rate for field testing is 1.5 times the applicable laboratory standard for the product type and performance class. Considerations should be given for changes in the pressure differential of the building, which depends on wind levels during the air leakage test.

When it comes to determining water test pressure (WTP), ideally, the WTP has been determined before the test agency arrives at the test site using the AAMA 502 Short Form Specification Template. Two factors should be considered when determining the WTP: the design pressure of the building, found in the project specification, and the certified rating of the fenestration product.

“If the short form is not available, test to the default water test pressure, which, unless otherwise specified, shall be two-thirds of the laboratory test pressure for the product type and performance class found in the NAFS,” said Seals, adding that special attention must be given to the design pressure requirements of the building.

Seals explained that if the WTP is higher than the product’s rating is virtually guarantees leaks. Testing at a higher WTP tan the building is designed to experience during its normal service life can create leakage paths through perimeter joints that would never have occurred under typical conditions.

Check back with [DWM] next week for part two of this article.

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