Certification in the spotlight at the FGIA Meeting
The final day of the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) Hybrid Fall 2021 Conference provided an update on AAMA’s fenestration certification programs and how they have adapted to pandemic conditions. and what future plans look like.
Jason Seals, FGIA Window Certification Services Manager, moderated the session. Seals manages the AAMA product certification, component verification and laboratory accreditation programs used by FGIA members and licensees.
He addressed the issue of when the organization plans to resume inspections.
“It’s something we think about all the time. Every time the curve goes up we are worried, and every time the curve goes down we are optimistic. And then we start this whole cycle over again. “
The situations seemed positive this year, until the Delta variant became more and more important. Since then, Seals has said there have been delays in when the FGIA can expect to continue with the inspections.
According to Seals, a survey was sent out in July to all certification program participants.
“And we ask these questions: do you allow suppliers to have on-site access to your factories? Would you allow our auditors to come and perform audits for the certification programs? Do you need an appointment to visit your facilities? What safety precautions or documents are needed to visit and will visitors need to be vaccinated before they can enter the property? “
He said the answers to these questions varied.
“We got about 75 responses to this survey, or about 19%. I think we sent out about 400 surveys… the results were very encouraging for the people who responded. Sixty-nine of the 75 responses said they allow visitors to their facilities and then, even more, said they would let us in for audits.
Of the 75 responses, 59 said they would need an appointment to visit the facility. “If we were to start the inspections again, we would probably have to suspend some of our requirements for an unannounced visit and, instead, make an appointment. “
There were also contrasts in responses regarding safety precautions or documents required for visits.
Thirty-five said there were no precautions other than temperature checks and signing a waiver of entry. Another 21 said it was mandatory to wear masks on site. Seals also mentioned that 18 of the 75 responses said visitors needed to be vaccinated.
“Again, these are mixed results. It’s a good little glimpse into what can be going on in the industry and, keep in mind, that was July 2021. ”However, after the survey was released, the Delta variant emerged and COVID cases and hospitalizations have increased.
“Based on these survey results, the Delta variant, the increase in cases and the ever-changing landscape of national and local regulations, FGIA and [Associated Laboratories Inc. (ALI)] decided that we will go ahead and suspend on-site inspections until the end of 2022. However, we are hopeful, based on even more recent data with cases to come… that we will be able to restart in the future. first half of 2022… If we have learned anything in the last 18 months, there is really nothing we can do about it yet.
Seals said it was unfortunate but necessary.
“This is not the best service for our licensees. Having those third eyes on products and doing those audits is meant to help licensees create a better product, he said.
“Being there is essential. And we intend to get there as quickly as possible, ”Seals said.