QA, QC and QF: An Alphabet Soup of Standards is not Enough
Global procurement is often relied upon for curtain wall, window wall and other fenestration systems and components. Global procurement has its opportunities and risks. Opportunities include reduced product cost and fabrication capabilities that are not available, or have only limited availability in North America such as jumbo-size low-emissivity coated glass and insulating glass units. Risks include language and cultural differences and long distance communication across many time zones causing confusion in design, ordering, delays in delivery, and problems with product quality. Nevertheless, the fiscal advantages can be considerable.
Ensuring acceptable quality off-shore products is not just a matter of writing into a specification a requirement to comply with applicable building codes, standards and industry practice documents. These technical documents contain surprising limitations and omissions so that despite best efforts, a Quality Assurance (QA) plan and Quality Control (QC) program may not achieve the desired quality outcome. Even if initial product quality samples and production are correct, quality may diminish over time, an effect known as Quality Fade (QF). Whether or not fenestration systems are globally or locally procured, the building owners, the design team and the construction team should be aware of omissions and limitations of industry practices and standards to avoid unexpected surprises too late in the construction process to make changes.
George Torok, C.E.T., BSS
George brings a unique breadth and depth of experience to every project, with over 30 years of experience in building enclosure design, construction, performance assessment, failure investigation and rehabilitation for public and private sector buildings of all types across North America. George is a member of MH’s Façade Engineering Team, working with building owners and design teams to achieve balanced, practical and innovative solutions, and providing peer support and mentoring within MH. His focus is fenestration technology, including low-rise residential windows, doors and skylights, high-rise residential window wall, commercial curtain wall and custom, one-of-a-kind glazed architectural structures.