NAFS Foundations

Products Outside the Scope of NAFS

Al Jaugelis
By Al Jaugelis, Senior Fenestration Specialist at RDH
April 24, 2015

Canadian building codes make a clear distinction between products that are within the scope of NAFS, which can demonstrate compliance with air-water-structural requirements on the basis of NAFS testing, and products that are outside the scope of NAFS. What are the products outside the scope of NAFS, and what does the Code expect us to do with them?

In Part 9 of the National Building Code we see an explicit distinction between two types of fenestration products.  “Manufactured and Pre-Assembled” products have their performance evaluated by testing to NAFS and the Canadian Supplement (Subsection 9.7.4). “Site-Built” products have their performance evaluated under Part 5 (Subsection 9.7.5).

Products Outside Scope of NAFS

None of the products in this photo are in the scope of NAFS.

Subsection 9.7.4 limits the application of NAFS and the Canadian Supplement exclusively to “manufactured” fenestration products within the scope of NAFS. (So does Part 5, see Clause 5.10.2.3.(1)(b).) The use of the term “manufactured” in 9.7.4 suggests that these products are fully assembled, including the installation of glass, and require no additional work to complete the manufacturing at the jobsite.

NAFS however does not make an explicit distinction between “manufactured” and “site-built”, and most AW class products are typically site glazed. The distinction is made by the Code in Subsection 9.7.5, which identifies products outside the scope of NAFS as “site-built” products.

Why is this distinction important? Because the Code expects products within the scope of NAFS to be tested to NAFS and the Canadian Supplement. It requires products outside the scope of NAFS to “conform to Part 5”.

In this article, all references to NAFS are to to the 2008 edition, also indicated as NAFS-08.

So What are the Products Outside the Scope of NAFS?

The list of products that are outside the scope of NAFS-08 is presented at the end of Clause 1 of the standard. Since many readers of this blog may not have access to the standard, the list is reproduced below:

“Fenestration products not intended to be tested to this Standard/Specification include:

(a)   Interior windows and doors;

(b)   Vehicular-access doors (garage doors) (see ANSI/DASMA 105, ANSI/DASMA 108, ANSI/DASMA 109, ANSI/DASMA 115, or other applicable DASMA Specifications);

(c)    Sloped glazing (other than unit skylights or roof windows) (see AAMA TIR A7);

(d)   Curtain wall and storefront (see AAMA MCWM-1);

(e)   Storm windows and doors (except when incorporated in dual windows and dual doors) (see AAMA 1002.10, AAMA 1003, and AAMA 1102.7);

(f)    Commercial entrance systems (see AAMA SFM-1);

(g)   Sunrooms (see AAMA/NPEA/NSA 2100);

(h)   Revolving doors;

(i)     Site-built door systems; and

(j)    Commercial steel doors rated per SDI A250.8.”

Note that with only a few exceptions (interior windows and doors, revolving doors, and site-built door systems), products outside the scope of NAFS are excluded with reference to other standards, technical guides or design manuals that pertain specifically to those products. To the extent the provisions of these American documents are applicable to Canada, they could be utilized by registered professionals to design products for conformance to Part 5 fenestration requirements.

(NAFS-11 adds one more item to the list of excluded products: folding door systems. However a number of Canadian folding door manufacturers have tested and certified their products to NAFS-08, and efforts are underway to amend NAFS-11 to remove folding door systems from the list of excluded products. For more information, see the blog article titled NAFS and Folding Doors.)

What Products are Inside the Scope of NAFS?

Is there a similar complete list of products that are within the scope of NAFS? Not exactly.

NAFS Clause 1, titled Scope, says “This fenestration Standard/Specification applies to both operating and fixed, prime and replacement windows, doors, TDDs, and unit skylights installed into exterior building envelopes.” As such NAFS is inclusive of all fenestration products except those explicitly identified as being outside its scope.

Of all the products within the scope of NAFS, the thirty most common have Performance Class definitions in NAFS-08. These products are listed in Clause 4.4.2, Table 5, titled Product Types, and are summarized in list form below:

 Window Products (17)

AP              Awning, hopper, or projected window

BW             Basement window

C                 Casement window

DAW           Dual-action window

FW              Fixed window

GH              Greenhouse window

H                 Hung window

HE              Hinged rescue window

HP              Horizontally pivoted window

HS              Horizontal sliding window

J                  Jalousie window

JA                Jal-awning window

SHW           Side-hinged (inswinging) window

TA               Tropical awning window

TH               Top-hinged window

VP               Vertically pivoted window

VS               Vertical sliding window

Door Products (9)

ATD                 Architectural terrace door

DASHD           Dual-action side-hinged door

FD                    Fixed door

LW DASHD    Limited water dual-action side-hinged door

LW SHD          Limited water side-hinged door

SD                   Sliding door

SHD                Side-hinged door

SLT                  Side lite

TR                    Transom

Skylight Products (4)

RW              Roof window

SKG             Unit skylight — glass glazed

SKP             Unit skylight — plastic glazed

TDD            Tubular daylighting device

Other Products

SP               Specialty product

NAFS is inclusive of all fenestration products except those explicitly identified as being outside its scope.

What are Specialty Products?

Specialty products are products that are legitimately within the scope of NAFS but are not listed by name in Table 5 of NAFS-08 (summarized in the list above). Specialty Products can be tested for Performance Grade but cannot be assigned to a Performance Class because NAFS does not provide product-specific Class requirements for them. On product labels, they are designated with the abbreviation SP.

NAFS Clause 8.4.1 defines Specialty products in this way:

“Specialty products are defined as primary windows, doors, or unit skylights of a type not [listed in Table 5]. . . . Specialty products shall comply with all applicable material, component, and hardware requirements of this Standard/Specification . . .”

“Specialty products . . . shall not be assigned a performance class designation. For example, the primary designator for a specialty product with a tested size of 1016 × 762 mm (40 × 30 in) that qualifies for performance grade (PG) 40 shall be “SP – PG40 1016 × 762” or any allowable variation thereof as described in Clause 4.4.2.”

The Specialty product category is intended to allow for newly developed products as well as products that are not used widely enough to have Performance Class definitions in the Standard. It requires such products to conform to NAFS in all applicable respects, and allows them to be tested and labeled with Performance Grades in the same way as products that do have defined Performance Class requirements.

NAFS Curtain Wall

Example of Window Wall. Photo: Al Jaugelis

Common Products Not Named in NAFS-08

There are several products widely used in Canada that are not specifically named in NAFS, such as window wall, a type of factory glazed window most commonly used in mid and high rise multifamily buildings, and folding doors (also called bi-folding or accordion doors).

Window wall products, while not named in NAFS-08, are factory glazed windows typically spanning from slab to slab. In NAFS-11 they are mentioned as a type of mulled window. Several BC window wall manufacturers have tested their products as windows under NAFS-08.

Folding doors have features in common with side hinged doors as well as sliding doors. As folding doors by their nature and large size require some amount of site assembly, some argue they are “site-built door systems” that are outside the scope of NAFS. However since NAFS does not explicitly exclude them, nor does it exclude site-built products in general, they can legitimately be considered within the scope of NAFS. Several Canadian manufacturers of folding doors have tested their folding door products as Specialty Products under NAFS. Some of these manufacturers are located in BC.

From a Code compliance standpoint both of these products could be considered as products within the scope of NAFS and qualified on the basis of NAFS testing and labeling. As they are not named within NAFS, I can see why some people would conclude they are outside the scope of NAFS, and why those people would maintain they are “site-built” products that have to demonstrate compliance with Part 5 requirements on the basis of professional design and field review.

With respect to disputes over whether products are subject to comply with the Code on the basis of NAFS testing and labeling, or on the basis of professional design to Part 5, there are good reasons to allow both options.

Handling Disputes over Products Outside the Scope of NAFS

With respect to disputes over whether products should comply with the Code on the basis of NAFS testing and labeling, or on the basis of professional design to Part 5, there are good reasons to allow both options.

Those manufacturers who have in good faith elected to test their products to NAFS have done so to eliminate obstacles to acceptance by building officials and by the market. In the case of Window Wall, by considering the product to be a type of Fixed or Composite Unit mulled window product recognized within NAFS, and in the case of Folding Doors, as a Specialty Product.

There are also manufacturers who have, in good faith, elected to consider their products to be site-built. This does not exempt them from having to demonstrate compliance with the air-water-structural requirements of Part 5. Indeed, choosing the Part 5 route requires costly engineering and often jobsite testing of installed products for air and water-tightness. Part 5 design is always an option in the Code, and should be accepted when the manufacturer can present evidence of professional design and review.

Then there are those who consider the term “curtain wall” to be a product application and not a product type. Such folks argue that a punched opening window framed from curtain wall material is still a window and should be NAFS tested and labeled. I would direct these individuals to carefully consider the language of NAFS: it deals with product types, not product applications. Both the list of “products not intended to be tested to this Standard/Specification”, and the list of “Product Types” in NAFS-08 Table 5 are clear: the standard is dealing with product types, and not their specific application on a particular building.

Whenever there is dispute as to whether a particular product by its very nature or its size and particular installation conditions should be subject to NAFS, building officials should be prepared to accept Part 5 design by registered professionals as an equally valid way to demonstrate air-water-structural code compliance.

And how does Part 5 design differ from NAFS testing? Stay tuned, we’ll take a close look at that in an upcoming post.

NAFS Consultation

 

AUTHOR

Al Jaugelis

Al Jaugelis, Senior Fenestration Specialist at RDH

Al is an industry leader on the application of the NAFS standard in Canada, its use in construction specifications, and the optimization of test programs for manufacturers.

  • Ron North

    Hi Al,
    Just read your latest blog regarding site built windows. I
    need to challenge you on one aspect of the article. You indicate that “Site-Built” products have their performance evaluated under Part 5 (Subsection 9.7.5).
    I would argue that while conformance to Part 5 for Part 9 installations is an option, it is not a requirement.

    My interpretation of 9.7.5. is that site built windows must conform to the clauses and sub-clauses listed OR to Part 5. Part 5 compliance, (using
    an architect or engineer) is an option, but not a requirement. Further, if the windows comply with the relevant subsections of 9.7.5. and 9.7.6 as stated in sentence 1) and the glass complies with sentence 2), then they would be acceptable without an architects approval.

    Your thoughts?

    ( The blog is great, it helps to get issues like this out so that they can be addressed.)

    • Ron, see my reply to your message further down. For some reason it appears at the bottom of the list, instead of immediately below your question.

  • Thanks for your comment, Ron. Technically you are correct:
    Part 9 ALLOWS the use of Part 5, it does not REQUIRE the use of Part 5. But it
    is important to realize that site-specific design under Part 5 is the only
    practical way to demonstrate air-water-structural performance for site-built
    products (products outside the scope of NAFS). The design professional(s)
    involved may or may not rely on pre-existing lab testing, but they typically
    rely on Part 4 engineering to address structural performance, and may use
    additional measures such as jobsite testing and field review to verify
    installed product performance.

    I do have concern with your assertion that “if windows
    [site-built products] comply with the relevant subsections of 9.7.5 and 9.7.6
    as stated in sentence (1) and the glass complies with sentence (2), they would
    be acceptable without an architect’s [design professional’s] approval”. While
    the code appears to allow this, consider whether it makes any sense: if you
    leave out Part 5 the “relevant sections” do not address the need for any verification
    of air-water-structural performance at all. So you will insist on nothing less
    than a NAFS label for a factory glazed window, but be satisfied with checking
    glass thickness on a curtain wall?

  • Dimitri Koubatis

    Hello Al,
    Would an operable window within a curtain wall system have to comply with NAFS? My intuition tells me – YES – since the window would be a pre-manufactured component. I also may have read elsewhere on your blog that this was indeed the case, but can no longer find the source.

    • Hi Dimitri. Yes, you could require operable vents as well as certain types of doors in curtain walls to be qualified on the basis of NAFS testing, especially if you are going to rely on the Performance Class attribute to define the durability aspect of the product. However if you are doing preconstruction mockup testing you could qualify the air-water-structural performance of the vents at the same time as the curtainwall.
      If you use NAFS to specify door performance you should keep in mind whether they are of a type that is within or outside the scope of NAFS.
      For example, NAFS has Product Class gateway testing requirements for Sliding Doors (SD) and Architectural Terrace Doors (ATD), but not for commercial entrance or storefront doors which are outside the scope of the standard. ATDs are side hinged doors designed for use on balconies or terraces, and are expected to have a high degree of water and air leakage resistance in addition to wind load resistance. They may or may not have accessible door sills. Commercial entrance and storefront doors are designed for extremely heavy and frequent use and have accessible sills, but do not have the weather resistance of architectural terrace doors.

  • This comes as total news to me! I thought all products were within the scope of NAFS.