Design/construction professionals can minimize their difficulties with onsite, or ‘in-situ,’ testing of fenestration components by adhering to certain well-established quality control (QC) principles that can reduce the chances of costly failures. However, there is little doubt onsite testing can be a complex undertaking.
The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) recently launched its Bird-Smart Glass program, which includes a list of tested products available to help stop avian casualties from hitting windows. For the past six years, ABC has been scientifically testing products that are affordable and esthetically suitable for architects and homeowners to use to eliminate bird deaths.
In many large, urban areas of Canada, most of the population lives in apartment buildings. In the downtown core of cities like Toronto, the proportion is up to 70 per cent. With the current trend to intensify urban areas to limit sprawl into surrounding valuable farmland, the proportion of high-rise multi-family dwellers is expected to increase.
Useful standards for testing the physical performance of windows have been developed over many years, culminating in the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS). This standard was first published in 2005, with new editions available in 2008 and 2011.
Accessibility and barrier-free design notwithstanding, the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), referenced in the 2010 National Building Code of Canada (NBC), sets different operating force limits for standard CW and AW Performance Class windows. There are inherent differences between window types.
Accessibility to fresh air and a connection to the outdoors for those with physical disabilities are especially important in skilled nursing and personal care facilities, multi-family dwellings, and hotels, along with classrooms and dormitories. To help ensure this access, windows capable of meeting operating force and motion requirements of International Code Council/American National Standards Institute (ICC/ANSI) A117.1, Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities, are being more commonly specified in the United States. This trend can be expected to expand into Canada.
The trend to maximize the harnessing of natural daylight combined with environmentally responsible artificial lighting is increasing use of glass within interior spaces since it allows light to spread throughout the building. Glass also has the added benefit of providing clear vision between spaces, creating a sense of openness, connectivity, and security. However, what about separations or partitions that must meet fire-rated requirements?
Ask most facility managers about birds and they probably think about pigeons nesting on air-conditioning units or Canada geese fouling walkways. However, most species also contribute to insect control, habitat-regenerating seed dispersal, as well as spring song and bright colours.