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"It starts with knowledge..." is more than a motto to us- it's how we do business. Our first goal is to share some of what we have learned about our trade with you.
Testing & Certification
Incorporating Testing, Certification and Labelling
If you're in the window and door manufacturing business, getting to know the requirements and process of product testing and certification is important to both developing and protecting your business investments. Many municipalities have clear specification, testing and product labeling requirements on windows and doors in their building codes. Missing out on developing a properly tested and labeled product is a significant risk, as the product may be rejected on the final job site, causing delay, liability and financial hardships. Properly labeled products give inspectors and purchasers the opportunity to select your products with confidence.
There are readily available testing and certification programs for windows and doors, and a lot of publicly posted information can be found easily online. Some tests are commonly required while others are optional for very specific applications or jurisdictions. Taking the time to investigate the required programs and the associated resources will become a business plan.
To get started, keep a specific product you have in mind as you investigate what needs to be done for it. Go through the available resources to understand basic terminologies and procedures. Check with the building code and ask the builder’s specific requirements. To be less overwhelming, focus on your specific product type and application during your research until you become comfortable to look into other product types and requirements.
Testing, Certification & Labeling Programs
The National Fenestration Rating Council® (NFRC®) has a list of available qualified testing laboratories and inspection agencies which administer third-party testing and certification procedures conforming to these established standards. Recently the NFRC® has launched a new website with great knowledge-based videos and window facts.
Recently, some may have heard of NAFS, the North American Fenestration Standard, which certifies products in Performance Grade categories. This includes performance testing for air leakage, water penetration and uniform loads. These certifications are for windows, doors and skylights, and are sponsored by the AAMA®, WDMA and CSA Group. There is also a Canadian Supplement to NAFS to accommodate driving rain, snow and exfiltration. These organizations have been around for decades; NAFS 08 has been put into effect by various jurisdictions.
In certain jurisdictions with more extreme climate zones, a higher level of testing and certifications is required, like Miami-Dade County’s renowned “hurricane testing” requirements. Tested and certified windows are listed on Miami-Dade County website. There are readily available professional engineers and companies to help optimize the products and options to prepare for testing by accredited test facilities and labeling by qualified representatives.
There are also few other relatively newer but increasingly popular voluntary (and sometimes required) programs such as EPA’s Energy Star® Program, Passive House Institute (Germany)’s Component Certification and Passive House Institute U.S.’s Certified Data for Window Performance Program. These programs focus on energy conservation and condensation prevention and are designed to increase the accessibility of higher and proven energy performing products to the building designers and end users. Any window and door manufacturer can participate in these programs.
Each program is established to provide conformity on its own merits. Building officials decide which one is the most appropriate for its climate and jurisdiction. All the information you need- Building codes, bylaws, testing procedures, certification and labeling processes- are all public information and open to anyone and usually available online.
When you are ready to investigate the financial matter for testing and product labeling, get in touch with the list of accredited testing laboratories and agencies. Working with the accredited companies, you can validate your knowledge, your marketplace’s requirements and certification process. Obtain a scope of work and costs for your specific products and marketplace. Prepare your design in CAD format and with a list of material and glazing options so that they guide you further with an optimized test and labeling plan. Once a scope of work is reviewed and agreed, you are well on your way to getting your product made, tested, certified and labeled.
"It starts with knowledge..."
While Rangate is not a testing laboratory or certification organization, much of our work includes knowledge sharing on specifications and processes. This includes performing window design and thermal performance simulations for our clients besides supplying a set of window tooling and machinery to our clients. Our values and what we do are based on the fact that we know having a successful business goes beyond joinery skills- while they're equally important, our goal is to assist our clients in overall business success. Check out the Quick Start section to consider other factors in setting up a production shop. We can help you kick-start and follow through your business plans with proper knowledge, training, equipment and referrals based on technical and service merits.