It costs more to fix something than to do it right the first time. That’s the mantra behind the Architectural Metal and Glass Certification Council’s (AGMCC) push to certify glazing contractors and glaziers throughout North America. The council met this week in Memphis to highlight the progress of the North American Contractor Certification (NACC) and Architectural Glass and Metal Technician Certification Program (AGMT). Council members also probed for ideas to improve reach and procedures.
The overall goal of these programs isn’t to get work for contractors, but to help them save money, says Terry Schaefer, quality manager at Administrative Management Systems Inc. The NACC program and AGMT tests ensure companies and glaziers take on projects with the necessary competency to do things right throughout the project’s lifespan.
Pat McIntyre, of Synergy Glass & Door Service, which became NACC-certified in 2016, says the program has “helped open my eyes to what a good company can be. I’ve learned that most glazing companies are going through the same hardships. It’s nice to get together and solve problems.”
Throughout the two-day event at the Big Cypress Lodge, council members discussed a wide range of topics impacting NACC and AGMT. The main topics included:
- AGMT and NACC updates;
- Strategies to enforce certification and recertification; and
- Ways to overcome AGMT’s Performance-Based Test (PBT) costs.
AGMT and NACC Updates
An analysis of AGMT data from June 2022 to June 2023 by Dainis and Company Inc. shows the Knowledge-Based Test (KBT) pass rate was 73.6%. The PBT pass rate for the curtainwall portion of the test was 77%, the storefront pass rate was 75.5%, and the sealant pass rate was 79%.
Dainis concluded its analysis by confirming the AGMT remains fair, valid and reliable. Dainis officials said no cheating was found, and the tests were administered consistently despite various testing locations.
The overall AGMT pass rate (67%) between October 2022 and October 2023 varied based on experience. Glaziers with more than 20,000 hours had a pass rate of 78%. Those with 7,000-7,600 hours had a pass rate of 67%. The number of tested glaziers with 7,000-7,600 hours of experience jumped from just 38 in 2021-22 to 147 in 2022-23.
The key takeaways from the data indicated candidates are getting younger and lowering the hours required to sit for testing has helped AGMCC get around 100 new candidates.
Furthermore, council members approved AGMT cost adjustments beginning Jan. 1, 2024. Officials say KBT costs will increase from $165 to $250. The cost of the PBT will go down to $1,150 from $1,182; however, the PBT business account fee will increase by $40 to $150. The recertification fee will increase to $600 from $385 and the KBT no-show fee will increase to $64 from $55. These adjustments allow AGMCC to have a more solid foundation financially, says Schaefer.
As for NACC, council members dove into the reasons why contractors get certified. AGMCC data shows that many contractors seek certification because general contractors require it in specifications. Schaefer says since NACC’s start in 2015, 267 applicants have registered to be certified. Of that 267, 100 completed at least one assessment, and 76 became certified.
The majority of contractors said in a phone survey conducted by AGMCC that NACC has made them better through the implementation of procedures and management systems. In fact, 85% have seen a reduction in callbacks and warranty claims.
Schaefer says eight contractors have bowed out of the program. A phone survey discovered contractors left the program because general contractors were not enforcing NACC specifications. The contractors were unwilling to sour relationships with general contractors to challenge the need for NACC. However, some contractors who left stated they would come back when enforcement was the norm.
Strategies to Enforce Certification and Recertification
According to Mike Laughlin, of Glaziers Local Union 252, enforcing certification and recertification has been tough. He explains that most glaziers get certified or recertified because of managerial demands. If a job is secure, why get recertified? Veteran glaziers who forgo recertification can influence younger workers who wonder why they need it if the veteran still gets work.
Jeff Dalaba, NACC and AGMT program development director, says Rhode Island’s new legislation mandating NACC contractors and AGMT glaziers on certain public works renovation and new construction projects has helped improve certification numbers. California’s apprenticeship graduation requirements are also driving participation.
Ways to Overcome AGMT’s PBT Costs
Dalaba says AGMCC’s new Prometric partnership is vital to cut costs. Prometric’s secure online scheduling system allows candidates to book a test center at their preferred time and location. This helps AGMCC manage more first-time testing candidates and KBT recertification.
AGMCC is also training new proctors across the U.S. to administer AGMT PBT tests. AGMT trained 22 proctors in June 2023. The second training event is planned for Nov. 7-8, 2023. The program is targeting 40-45 proctors in total. This allows AGMCC to get more glaziers tested, especially throughout rural areas, says Scott Kennett, AGMCC’s program manager.
AGMCC is also looking for ways to install permanent test rigs in strategic locations throughout North America. Kennett says test rigs are expensive to ship. It also takes nearly a day to set up the rigs, which wastes time and money.