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NAFS: The More You Know

Performance requirements in NAFS go beyond air, water and structural performance certification

Labels carry many meanings in the legal world. Some inform. Some caution. Some warn. All are communications from a manufacturer that can either create or deflect liability.

A key component of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/1.S.2/A440-17, North American Fenestration Standard/Specifications for windows, doors and skylights (“NAFS”) is labeling. Ask anyone to explain the purpose of the NAFS program and most responses would undoubtedly focus on certification for air, water and structural performance. That is absolutely true. But, they are not the only performance requirements in the standard.

In addition to detailing the air, water, structural and forced entry requirements needed for certification, there are a host of other requirements found in the 237-page document. On top of that, there are 12 pages of other incorporated standards in Clause 2 that play a role in the NAFS certification process.

Labels defined in Clause 1.5 guide the reader to the type of performance requirement addressed in a particular clause. AWS (air, water, structural) is one label, but there are also labels for performance requirements relating to DL (durability and longevity), CPM (component parts and materials) and HS (health and safety).

Even when applying the usual Gold Label, NAFS includes requirements for the many individual components of a window. Clause 10 details material tolerances, as well as requirements for glazing, frame, sash, panel and leaf materials. Clause 11 provides requirements for components such as hardware, weatherstripping, insect screens, sealants and fasteners, to name a few. And each of these components has its own standards detailing performance requirements. Each time a label is applied, there is an embedded representation that a manufacturer has tried to ensure compliance with these other clauses as well.

Component manufacturers generally procure a spot on the Verified Components List, taking much of the responsibility out of the hands of the fenestration manufacturer. However, a prudent fenestration manufacturer should ensure that the component manufacturer’s product is on the VCL and that the verifications are kept up to date. Additionally, the fenestration manufacturer may be responsible for ensuring compliance with relevant standards for specialty items such as painted or laminated frames.

NAFS labels carry more than just Performance Grade representations. If that surprises you, consider taking a careful look at the standard to confirm whether your products and their components meet all the requirements, and be sure you can prove it. 


Susan MacKay

Susan MacKay

Susan MacKay is an attorney with The Gary Law Group, a law firm based in Portland, Ore., that focuses on legal issues facing manufacturers of windows and doors. She can be reached at 503/620-6615 or