Glazier Certification One Step Closer to Reality

The AGMT Certification Program physical based test group discusses the logistics of the physical exam at the AGMT Item Writing Workshop in Hanover, Md., on February 13.

Creating a certification isn’t easy, but the industry experts behind the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician (AGMT) Certification Program, are going the extra mile to bring a new level of professionalism to the glazing industry.

The AGMT Certification Program Item Writing Workshop concludes today at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) international office in Hanover, Md. Participants of the third-party, personnel certification initiative being developed by Administrative Management Systems Inc. (AMS), have spent two days writing potential certification test questions and specifying physical test parameters.

The workshop was the third of four phases needed to create the potentially American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certification.

Phase four, set to be completed in the second half of 2018, will focus on process development, beta testing, achieving ANSI accreditation, testing logistics and registration logistics.

ANSI involvement in the process means that the program cannot offer both testing and training; the operations must exist under separate umbrellas.

“There has to be a firewall so that there is no bias. It protects the candidate. They won’t have to take one specific training program to pass the certification. They can do their apprenticeship anywhere and it won’t matter. It’s more fair,” said Amanda Dainis, CEO and lead psychometrician of Dainis and Company.

The three rigs built for the physical portion of the certification exam would allow glaziers to demonstrate their hands-on skills.

The certification test as it stands now will be split into seven sections: glazing theory, quality control, tools of the trade, construction documents and layout, sealants and gaskets, systems and water management. The physical test will focus on proper methods of installing curtainwall, storefront and sealants. Three testing rigs have already been created for the process. Once beta testing is initiated, there will be six to eight sets of rigs at locations around North America, with dividers between each set for test privacy. The current time estimate is 45 minutes to one hour for each test rig, for a total of three hours. Safety will be peppered into the test.

“We’ve been part of the conversation about how we can raise the bar in the glazing industry to prevent failures in façade systems. Certification raises the bar further and our membership would be in a great spot to take the test,” said Tim Stricker, glazing industry liaison for the IUPAT.

Stricker hopes to roll the certification program curriculum into the IUPAT’s apprenticeship program in the future.

“This would be great for the entire industry,” he says. “We want to make our guys the most employable they can be and we can be more employable with a certification like this. It brings a legitimacy to glazing already available to other licensed crafts.”

According to John Kent, president of AMS, this certification is the Holy Grail because it connects glass fabricators with the installation in an effort to reduce defects.

“Fabricators can use their voice to influence installation and achieve the end goal of a better product with better longevity,” said Kent.

He also explained that creating a credential system should make it easier for the industry to recruit and retain workers.

“This will only work with a broad industry consensus,” said Kent. “That’s why we tried to draw everyone in so that anyone could voice their opinion about the process.”

Terry Webb, president of Eureka Glass in Philadelphia, said the certification is important because it better ensures that the owner gets the building they paid for.

One challenge he identified is getting contractors to agree that this certification is necessary for their employees. That’s why the industry experts behind the AGMT Certification Program turned to ANSI.

“The ANSI process is arduous, expensive and time consuming, but it will make this certification better trusted and viable,” said Webb. “It will be fair and open to all. That’s what makes this unique. Those qualified or those willing to become qualified will see this certification as an opportunity. Those who aren’t qualified or willing to become qualified could see this as a threat,” he said. “This certification will give contractors a better marketing and competitive advantage.”

He sees the certification as the first step in a longer process.

“The initial certification will focus on the most prevalent practices in the industry,” said Webb. “Once proven, it’s likely to be expanded to other areas, including those that don’t exist yet.”

Jon Kimberlain, senior application specialist at Dow Corning, said the certification could help identify professionals in an industry that doesn’t have a certification.

“It will reward people who have taken the time to learn the industry and can demonstrate their skills and knowledge. It takes several years to develop expertise. Glaziers with that experience should have enhanced opportunities and better pay.”