The Case of the Missing NFRC Labels

By George Wolodzko and Ashley McDuffee

A trend regarding fenestration has emerged recently at construction sites across the country. With increasing frequency, individual windows and sliding glass doors delivered for installation lack National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels, which can contain critical performance data, such as Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, U-factor, Visible Transmittance, Air Leakage, and Condensation Resistance.

And while this isn’t a case for Sherlock Holmes, it is concerning for project stakeholders who, in the absence of required labels, cannot verify that window units delivered meet performance criteria delineated in project specifications, submittals, and contract documents.

Fortunately, an explanation for the case of the missing labels doesn’t require much sluething. Thanks to a new NFRC program, qualifying commercial buildings are now eligible to receive an NFRC label certificate covering the entire project, rather than labeling individual units.

This approach is relatively new. In the past, the traditional Product Certification Program (PCP) would require temporary labels on all windows. Under the new Component Modeling Approach (CMA) program, however, a commercial building today requires only a single label for the entire project. (For residential projects, individual labels are still required.) Per NFRC 705-2015 Section 1.3, commercial buildings are defined as “…all buildings other than detached one and two-family houses, multi-family residential structures not more than three stories above-grade in height, and manufactured houses (mobile or modular homes).”

But what do you do if your project does not qualify as commercial by NFRC standards, but your windows nevertheless arrive without labels? Under these circumstances, the NFRC identifies and recommends the following recourse: “…to assist in the situations where copies of labels are needed…a provision [has been created] that allows a manufacturer to reprint the temporary label in individual product situations or use a Fenestration Manufacturers Certificate (FMC).” This certificate will state the original performance of the product and glazing, and confirm that fenestration products were properly labeled with NFRC labels by the manufacturer according to the PCP.

The next time window units are delivered naked of labels, you might not need to raise an red flag after all. Instead, a valid NFRC label certificate for your project might already have been provided, and a simple search for an NFRC label certificate, certified products or approved glazing, frame and spacer components, at could confirm compliance.

Beyond your search results, however, it is also generally good practice to consult the project team and manufacturer regarding any question concerning the quality and performance of delivered construction products and their ability to meet project requirements.


Project Highlights


Over 10 stories of mixed-use space, including residential and commercial uses, Elevate is in Lincoln Park in Chicago, near DePaul University. It will have almost 200 units by the end of construction.


A residential complex consisting of 18 buildings for residential use in Louisville, Colorado, Kestrel will set aside over 70 units for senior citizens. Surrounded by market-rate housing and retail, this previously unused site was developed for local and affordable dwelling units, filling a need for the area. A park will also enhance the surrounding development.

Five 88 Apartments

Five 88, another mixed-use building, is located in the Mission Bay Redevelopment area of San Francisco. The 5-story building will contain 200 dwelling units, a parking garage, amenity spaces, and six retail spaces. Five 88 features attractive residential amenities, including a bocce court and barbecue at the courtyard, and a lounge, fitness room, common laundry room, and a common room with kitchenette at the separate community building.


New Team Member

We are happy to announce a new addition to the GTG family in the Chicago office!

Tony Ayala, SE, is our newest professional team member. He earned his Master’s degree in Engineering in 2012 at MIT, and brings a strong background in project management and structural engineering to GTG.

Welcome, Tony!


2017 Active Project Map