The North American Contractor Certification (NACC) program has experienced quite a bit of growth this year, with the first certified contractors in Louisiana, New Hampshire, and on Long Island, N.Y. In addition, Rhode Island House Bill 5074 will go into effect on July 1, 2024, as the first state law mandating requirements to hire NACC glazing contractors on public projects over $1 million in value.

NACC is an ANAB (formerly ANSI) accredited, third-party credential that recognizes architectural glass and metal contractors who adhere to best practices for quality, safety, and business operations. To earn the NACC credential, a glazing contractor undergoes a rigorous series of assessments of both business and jobsite glazing processes and must document and implement written procedures in a required Quality Management System (QMS). Because there is no licensing for glazing contractors, NACC establishes guidelines and best practices; it remains North America’s only credential for glazing contractors.

The NACC program earned the International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI) Horizon Award for commitment to construction risk management. Certified contractors report improved and better controlled processes, reduced waste, fewer mistakes, lower costs, and more engaged staff. The industry benefits from improved glass and glazing installation quality and improved building envelope performance.

Itasca, Illinois-based Glass Solutions, Inc. (GSI) became the Chicago area’s first certified contractor in August 2023. GSI CEO Andy Hill joined the board overseeing the NACC program in early 2024 and recently spoke about the value of the program.

“NACC brought to light a number of areas that we didn’t track as a company – from equipment maintenance to safety,” said Hill. GSI established a committee representing each of the company’s demographics – field foremen, project managers, and fabricators – who collaborated to develop a QMS and put standard procedures into action. The group also spearheaded a way to advance NACC best practices using software tools already in place.

“NACC touches on nonconformance reports in manufacturing and in the field,” Hill explained. GSI embellished on this idea and collaborated with AutoDesk® Build to create a custom program of nonconformance tracking. Reports are shared within the GSI office, fabrication, and field teams, as well as with the entire project team – from general contractor and architect to owner and other specialty subcontractors.

When a fabricated glass or metal unit has a defect, a GSI team member fills out a report that gets sent to everyone. AutoDesk Build keeps a living record of that issue for the life of the project. “The nonconformant item gets tagged on the floor plan and stays there forever, even after it gets fixed,” Hill described. “So, if an issue arises down the road, you can see if maybe it originated with the nonconformant item. It provides accountability to us and for all of our trade partners.”

“The NACC program drives contractors to track defects and perform root-cause analysis, and to observe process trends and create improvements rather than randomly fixing problems as they arise without resolving the cause,” explained NACC Program Director Jeff Dalaba.

GSI has been piloting the software tool on Advocate Aurora Healthcare Network’s Illinois Masonic Hospital. Turner Construction is managing the addition of a bed tower atop an existing three-story building. GSI has a comprehensive exterior and interior glazing scope, with construction scheduled for completion in 2025.

“The construction industry has evolved to today’s delegated design process in which the engineering and performance of building envelopes falls within the subcontractor’s purview,” said Turner Construction Company Project Executive Tina Donnelly who sits with Hill on the board overseeing the NACC program. “Because of that shift, glazing subcontractors especially must broaden their knowledge, technical expertise, and installation abilities to ensure quality,” she added.

Hill described the certification process as humbling and also inspiring. “NACC makes you hold yourself accountable. It’s touching everyone at GSI,” he said. The inspiration from becoming certified and developing custom nonconformance software has continued. The company is working on a similar tracking system for every piece of equipment used in manufacturing and the field.

“NACC gives you the groundwork, but the amount of building you can put on that foundation is endless,” Hill added.