Written by Terry Adamson as featured in Glass Canada Magazine
British Columbia seems to be leading the pack (well, we like to think so) with the implementation of the B.C. Building Code 2012. It was implemented on Dec. 20, 2012, along with the NAFS-08/Canadian Supplement governing windows, doors and skylights. To say there has been some activity would be a huge understatement. Fenestration BC has been working hard to get the word out, via numerous webinars and seminars. We have also seen industry experts providing in-depth information to building officials during their province-wide tour of code update seminars.
Of great interest is how NAFS differs from A440 and the implications for manufacturers of windows and doors. Even with over four years of preparation time and the large amount of information provided by Fenestration Canada as well as Fenestration BC the readiness of many window manufacturers and most door manufacturers is far from where it needs to be. Although it appears the window folks are making progress with the labs getting busier, the door industry seems to be playing catch-up. There are some door manufacturers that have been preparing, and are seeing success in the labs, but many are still at the gate looking in.
We do not expect to see projects built under BCBC 2012 in need of doors and windows for a few months yet, but already I am hearing some wavering from building officials where we may possibly see a delay of implementation of NAFS with respect to swing doors only. Although nothing is official today, the concern is that, should the standard be enforced, there may not be sufficient rated and tested product to supply the demand. This is disappointing considering the amount of warning and information provided over the last few years by the various associations.
Of course, this may provide some relief for those who are not ready if they can jump-start their programs and are able to produce rated products to meet any possible delayed implementation date. There is no question that the challenge and frustration for door manufacturers is significant. But the frustration to those that took heed a few years ago and have already produced and tested is just as intense.
We can all agree that to develop products for testing is a lengthy and costly endeavor. Once you have succeeded, you want to begin to sell your products to recover these costs. This may be a challenge if they need to compete against untested products for long periods.
So here we go in B.C. NAFS is with us and it looks like 2013 will be interesting as it rolls out in new projects later this year. If you are not ready, you might see a short reprieve, but the time to take it seriously has passed and you need to make your plans and get busy on solutions. Contact your local association or Fenestration Canada – they are your best resources for information and members that can assist you. You do not want to be left in the dust by your competition.
Fenestration Canada offers members support and information on technical issues. The association’s technical consultant reports regularly on the latest issues and initiatives and represents the association on key committees and at national and international meetings where programs that impact fenestration products are being formulated or are evolving. Whether it is Energy Star, standards, and building codes or incentive programs, members are kept informed on important issues.
One way Fenestration Canada keeps members up to date is through seminars and webinars hosted by our technical consultants. Last year, the association hosted two webinars titled “Building Codes in Canada – Are You Ready?” where Jeff Baker and J.F. Kogovsek gave listeners the inside scoop on the national trend toward putting energy efficiency requirements into building codes. The presentation was recorded in English and French and is available to Fenestration Canada members any time through the member’s portal on the website.
Terry Adamson is technical director at Westeck Windows in Chilliwack, B.C., and sits on the Fenestration Canada board as an affiliate association member. He is former president of WDMA-BC and is now a director on the board of FenBC and vice-chair to the residential division.