Certification of Architectural Glass and Metal Technicians Arrives in North America

Ben Beeler
Photo source
NACC/AGMT
Behind the scenes of this incredibly important industry program- AGMT

Recently it was announced that the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician (AGMT) Certification Program completed its final steps of development and is now live. 

In development since early 2017, the certification program was created with the help of numerous professionals (subject matter experts) from within the glass and glazing community, including: glazing technicians & contractors, architects, engineers, general contractors, construction managers, industry consultants, manufacturers, suppliers, and professional exam developers to produce an impartial, effective test.

One of the key drivers within the AGMT effort was Ben Beeler, Program Manager at Administrative Management Systems Inc., which is the administrative arm of the program. We caught up with Beeler to get further insight into what all went into getting this very important industry program off the ground.

Q: Can you give us a background on AGMT and how we have arrived at this point?

Ben Beeler: About 2 years ago a group of more than 50 industry stakeholders, that included glazing contractors and glaziers, architects and spec writers, manufacturers and suppliers met at BEC to discuss the need for, and feasibility of a certification program for glazing technicians. They were looking for a way to identify those glaziers who possessed the fundamental knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully install today’s complex glazing systems. They were unanimous in their desire that such a program focus on elements that would reduce defects and failures and meet customer expectations; have written and physical testing components; be ANSI accredited; and administered by an independent, third-party certification body. 

Q: Now that we are here and AGMT is “live” and ready- why is it so important for the industry to have it?

BB: Business is very good, and labor is tight, and right now there are more glazing technicians in the workplace than ever before. At the same time it is even more critical that glazing systems be installed properly to meet the needs of the industry at a pace consistent with construction demands. A mechanism to objectively assess the abilities of today’s workforce is a critical tool in both hiring and managing the labor needed to keep up. And at some point in the future, when business levels off of perhaps declines, knowing the abilities of one’s workforce will be a vital management tool, as well as a great differentiator. Equally important is the message that certification holds for employers, customers, suppliers, and the industry as a whole. It says that the glazing technician and the contractor who employs the certified technician is committed to an elevated quality standard. When a workforce has been fully evaluated and certified to have the required skills and abilities to perform work properly, the first time, it will have a positive effect on the bottom line of all involved in the construction chain. 

Q: How do interested glaziers get in the process for certification?

BB:  It’s easy. The program maintains a website that provides all the information necessary to answer a glazing technician’s questions. The website provides links to an online application portal as well as candidate handbook and study guides. This can be found at www.agmtprogram.com. 

Q: What should the glaziers that do apply for certification expect in the ways of testing?

BB:  The test process is a lengthy and rigorous one, meant for glazing technicians with no less than 7,500 hours of glazing experience and OSHA 10 certification, or the Canadian equivalent. It is divided into a written test and three physical tests. The candidate will undergo a 2 hour, 125 question multiple choice test that covers items about glazing theory, glazing tools and equipment, construction documents and layout, glass and panels, glazing systems, sealants and gaskets, and quality control and failure prevention. They will then undergo a 6 hour physical test that evaluates their ability to properly erect a curtain wall, install a storefront and entrance, and perform structural and weather sealing.

Q: Can any glazier participate in the program?

BB:  Yes. As a program designed for ANSI accreditation, and administered by an independent, third-party certification body, it is open to any North America glazing technician who meets the program’s work experience and OSHA prerequisites. 

Q: How does AGMT differ from the North American Contractor Certification (NACC) Program and why are both needed?

BB:  Very simply, the NACC Certification Program is to a glazing contractor what the AGMT program is to the glazing technician. Through NACC a glazing contractor voluntarily submits to an independent, third-party evaluation of their business that includes safety, business systems and practices, quality management systems, contract administration, and glazing processes. Combining an NACC Certified glazing contractor with an AGMT Certified workforce offers any construction project stakeholder with the best possibility for reducing failures and meeting expectations. There is no better qualification mechanism. 

For more information about the program please visit www.agmtprogram.com

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