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You may not Need NAFS Labels on a Part 9 Townhome

Architects Engineers

A couple of weeks ago on #TwoCentsTuesday, the Window Geeks asked… Do you need a NAFS label if you’re building a Part 9 townhome that has engineered shop drawings? 75% of our LinkedIn readers said yes.
We didn’t mean to trick you, but the answer is actually no! Engineered shop drawings follow the Part 5 path, eliminating the need for a city inspector’s review of labels. As it often does, this all comes down to specific language in the building code that allows us to choose which compliance path to follow. Leaving things open to interpretation sure doesn’t make things simple. It depends on how you’ve been educated and informed on how to interpret code… But this is also where we Window Geeks have the most fun!

The history behind the language: 

Before 2012 we used to operate under the CSA A440, which was the Canadian standard for windows, doors, & skylights – then in 2013, there came a desire to harmonize the Canadian and American versions to operate under a single standard. The intention was obviously to simplify things... but good intentions don’t always make for good consequences.

This merging of standards led to the introduction of NAFS in 2012. However, window manufacturers were not ready for this change. Everything needed to be re-certified and tested to the new standard – it meant starting from scratch for literally all window manufacturers. The ministry of housing realized this couldn’t be achieved in only a year, so it was extended to 2013.

By December 19, 2013, NAFS-rated products had to be installed in projects – ready or not. The problem with NAFS 2013 was that a lot of the language was up for interpretation. So in 2014 and 2015, a task force was put in place that combined FENBC and the Building Safety and Standards Branch to review code language and clean it up, aiming for there to be less room for interpretation.

2015 - Designed and constructed in accordance with NAFS OR Part 5. The OR is very important because it allows for any project we undertake with engineered shop drawings, letters of assurance, and stamps of approval. A Part 9 townhome can follow the Part 5 compliance path that includes engineered shop drawings.  

Why the Window Geeks chose to follow Part 5 over NAFS:

NAFS labels are great for providing assurance on the product – but this has limitations. It excludes the real-world performance of an installed product because it excludes installation from its scope. Whereas, having an engineered stamp of approval following Part 5 – an engineer is putting their professional designation on the line to ensure the integrity and performance of the building.

We Are Your Certified Window Geeks

We love to talk windows! We’re here to help, so if you have a question about your window project all you have to do is reach out. Contact us early in the process so that our experts can make sure everything is correct from the get-go.

For more information on this topic (and many more!) contact our local Employee Owners at 1-888-534-3333 or drop us an email at Join the club and become a Window Geek yourself by signing up for our biweekly newsletter, which provides news, advice, and tips about the window industry and upcoming events, and test your window knowledge by following us on LinkedIn.

Written by: Les Ferris , August 4, 2022
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