Keeping up with Window Performance Standards

07:46:34 AM on 07/08/2009

WOW…. Keeping up with the current performance standard for windows is like alphabet soup.  Let’s see… you’ve got AAMA 101, WDMA  I.S.2, CSA 440 all rolled up into something now called NAFS.  Not to mention the various versions like -97, -01, -05 and now NAFS-08.  Then throw in what used to be C and HC and change that to CW with a little AW sprinkled on for extra flavor.  Let’s see if we can put some clarity around just a little of this.

Early on, the Architectural Aluminum Manufactures Association (AAMA) produced a performance standard for the “Voluntary Specifications for Aluminum Prime Windows”.  (Key words- Aluminum Windows)  Later on the vinyl folks felt left out and AAMA became the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (still AAMA though).  If that wasn’t enough,  in 1997, the wood window people wanted a piece of the action too.  So for years  now AAMA 101 has represented the performance standard for our industry in the good old US of A.

But now let’s don’t forget our neighbors to the north, the Canadian Standards Association or better known as CSA – International.  Just think, we can become one big happy North American family called oddly enough the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) and get all the bases covered.  Believe it or not this could actually be a good thing as Canada is expected to fully adapt NAFS in 2010.

As far as the window classifications go just try to remember that what used to be “C” for Commercial and “HC” for Heavy Commercial is now combined into “CW” for Commercial Window.  The performance bar was raised a little for Commercial and lowered a little for Heavy Commercial but no real harm done.  The higher performing  Architectural Window or “AW” class is still here so don’t get your hopes up.  Clear as mud huh!  Is this as confusing for you as it is for me? I'd love to hear from you.

So…. God bless us all.  Let’s eat soup!



How about trying to understand the Florida Building Code and Miami-Dade regulations?



Author's reply
Great question and perfect timing. With the hurricane season upon us, our Product Manager for Protective Glazing Products is our next month’s blog author and he will discuss code changes and other related topics, so be sure to check back. In the meantime, please see Hurricane Resistance Information located in the Resources section of our Web site.



I understand that there are some changes coming up to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08, NAFS. How are they going to be affecting window products?



Author's reply
Glad to see the interest in windows!

There are a number of changes but the most important one I think is the combining of the old “C” and “HC” performance class into a single “CW” class. In doing so, the performance bar was raised a bit for “C” (Commercial) and lowered a bit for “HC” (Heavy Commercial). This is likely going to create some confusion on project specifications where the window suppliers have not re-tested to the new standard. In some cases the window selected may be over designed for the application.


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