Volume 34, Number 6, June 1999

 

Industry News

 

Independent Glass Installers Sue AAA and Harmon
    Forty-eight independent glass installers in Michigan have filed a lawsuit against Harmon Glass, based in Minneapolis, MN, and the American Automobile Association (AAA) of Michigan for allegedly steering customers to Harmon Autoglass.
    According to the lawsuit, Harmon Autoglass signed a contract with AAA to operate a call center for processing glass damage claims. The suit alleges that when customers call AAA with a glass claim they are referred to Harmon Autoglass. Allegedly, the Harmon workers identify themselves as AAA representatives, attempt to steer the customer to one of Harmon’s facilities and discourage the customer from using other shops.
    Nancy Cain, AAA Michigan public relations manager, says when customers call the 1-800 number, they are prompted through the menu and are routed to Harmon Autoglass who answers, "AAA Glass, may I help you?," a common practice among insurance companies.
    Harmon denies allegations of the suit, particularly the steering claims. "We don’t feel like we’re steering anyone," Cain said. "If they [the customer] have somewhere they want to go that’s fine." According to Cain, the first question consumers are asked is, "Do you have a specific place where you would like your vehicle repaired?" AAA suggests several shops, including Harmon and independent shops.
    "We believe this is a great service that will save our customers money and time. Our goal is to give them the best quality service," said Cain. "We view this as a win-win situation for everyone–if we didn’t we wouldn’t have embraced the program."
    Since Harmon has not yet read the lawsuit, Bob Baumgartner, company president, said he does not want to comment on the case, but did say, "We always observe right of choice laws."
    "We’re very optimistic that if this program is challenged in court it will be ruled in our favor," said Cain.

Sale of Carolina Mirror Imminent
    The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, owners of Carolina Mirror Company, based in North Wilkesboro, NC, signed a letter of intent to sell the company to Sun Capital Partners Inc., a private investment firm of Boca Raton, FL.
    Sun Capital is affiliated with Bain Capital of Boston, which is prominent in leveraged and managed buyouts, said Tom Mahoney, vice chairman of Carolina Mirror. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians announced its intent to sell the company in April 1998.
    Mahoney said Sun Capital indicated it wants Mahoney and other Carolina Mirror executives to share in ownership of the company. "Management will be unchanged as far as we know," he said. "Factory jobs should be secure as well."
    While details are not yet known, a representative from Sun Capital said the company would like to expand the decorative mirror and framed art business of Carolina Mirror, which Mahoney agreed "would make a lot of sense."
    Mahoney expects the sale to be final in the next 60 days.


ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS

Abrasive Technology Acquires Johnson City Hytech Abrasives
    Abrasive Technology of Westerville, OH, has acquired the manufacturing assets of Johnson City Hytech Abrasives, LLC of Johnson City, TN. This is the eleventh acquisition in 13 years by Abrasive. Hytech specializes in the development and sale of resin- bonded and electroplated superabrasive products for the cutting tool and general industrial markets. Abrasive is a manufacturer of diamond wheels and edging machines for glass fabrication.
    Glenn Rosier, former president of Hytech, will assume management responsibilities for the Johnson facility as director of Johnson City operations.


ASSOCIATIONS

IWFA to Offer Accreditation Program
    The International Window Film Association (IWFA) will soon offer an accreditation program available to members and non-members. According to the IWFA, completion of the program will provide window film dealers and industry professionals with the necessary technical knowledge and expertise needed in their field. IWFA education committee member L. Mike Smith feels the program would establish film dealers as viable market players. "The training and testing of the accreditation program will enhance the technical knowledge, credentials and confidence of window film businesses," he said. "The program also provides a medium for window film dealers to establish their credibility with the worldwide industry association."
    The IWFA committee is currently developing the curriculum and test questioning. The test will be administered at various locations around the country. Program fees are set at $100 for IWFA members and $250 for non-members, which will cover the cost of required study materials, the test and an accreditation certificate.

Addendum to New AGC 650/655 Model Subcontracts Available
    The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) has published the Addendum to Standard Form of Agreement Between Contractor and Subcontractor AGC 650/655 (1998), which glazing contractors can use in contract negotiations using the Associated General Contractors of America’s (AGC) Form 655. The AGC Form 655, which contains a pay-if-paid clause, threatens glazing contractors with the prospect of not being paid if they are asked to sign it. The addendum negates provisions in the AGC forms, such as the pay-if-paid clause, that ASA has warned are "perilous for subcontractors." AGC’s board of directors approved AGC 650 and 655 in November despite concerns with the documents expressed by glazing contractors nationwide.
    ASA members will receive copies of the addendum in the mail.


CODES AND REGULATIONS

NFPA 80 Appoints Task Group
    NFPA 80 has appointed a task group on glazing materials with code consultant Bill Koffel as the chair. The group’s objectives include summarizing the requirements of the International Building Code and NFPA 101 related to the use of fire-rated glazing materials, identifying the current listing categories and test methods used by testing laboratories and developing installation criteria for fire-rated glazing.

Changes to NBC Proposed
The following changes/revisions were made to the National Building Code as interpreted by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association:

Section 711.4.5 FS116—Adds language to regulate floor fire doors, which protect through openings in fire rated floors. References ASTM D119, requiring resistance of the passage of heat and flame. Subjects doors to the same criteria as the fire rated door.

Section 714.2 FS128—Changes compliance requirements for fire door and shutter assemblies from NFPA 252 to UL10C. Adds side hinged or pivoted swinging fire doors to UL10C compliance. UL10C has positive pressure provisions, NFPA does not. IBC staff— UL10C is not a consensus document which has non-mandatory language.

Section 714.2 FS129—Clarifies the construction and installation of fire door and shutter assemblies by adding a reference to NFPA 80.

Section T714.2 FS131—Since no fire protection rating is specified for openings in exterior walls, this adds opening ratings of 1 , and 3/4 hour to exterior wall assembly ratings of 3, 2 and 1 hour respectively.

Section 714.2.2 FS135—Reverses last change to the test standard and rating requirements for glazing in 20 minute transom and sidelight assemblies. These changes conflict with other sections and NFPA 80, create confusion and ban 20 minute glazing materials currently listed. Suggests that the hose stream test for thermal shock is not justified for 20 minute corridor doors and favors foreign made wired glass.

Section 714.2.3.1 FS140—Requires glazing panels in fire doors that must have a maximum temperature rise of 450 degrees Fahrenheit to be tested as a component of the door and not as glass lites. Glazing in fire doors should meet the same temperature rise requirements as the door (ASTM E119).

Section T714.2.5.3 FS144—Adds an exception to fire protection rating glazing labeling: labeled wired glass tested for 45 minutes fire protection shall not be required to be marked with the fire protection rating. Only glass that exceeds the 45 minute rating needs to be marked. Glass rated for 45 minutes shall be marked with the identification of the approved agency.

Section 714.2.6.3 FS146, FS147, FS148—These three deal with fire rated doors held open by smoke detector-activated devices. Add fire partitions and fire walls to the list of allowed locations to avoid enforcement problems and continue past practice of the three model codes.

AAMA Announces Publication of Five New Standards
    Five new standards have been published by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. The standards were released through the technical information center. The 2600 series (2603, 2604 and 2605) addresses various applications of organic coatings on aluminum extrusions and panels. The 501.5-98 standard which deals with the test method for thermal cycling of exterior walls and the Specification for Friction Based Sash Balances (AAMA 908-98) are also new.


COMPANIES

C.H.M.I Completes Expansion
    Custom Hardware Manufacturing Inc. (C.H.M.I.) has recently completed a 15,000-square-foot expansion of its Keokuk, IA, facility. The expansion was needed to house new bending equipment, automated polishing machines and CNC-related equipment, according to Tony Lambros, president.

Wausau Metals Announces Name Change
    Wausau Metals of Wausau, WI, has announced that its new name is Wausau Window and Wall Systems. The company has also redesigned its trademark to increase its national brand awareness among commercial architects, building owners and contractors.
    "Our new name and trademark will help us draw more attention on our familiar first name and will help strengthen our brand identity," said Alan Verploegh, president. "We believe our new name more accurately reflects who Wausau is and where we are going in the future."

Hillman Affiliate to Buy PPG Place
    PPG Industries of Pittsburgh, plans to sell its Pittsburgh headquarters complex, PPG Place, to Market Associates, an affiliate of the Hillman Co., this summer. According to Raymond W. LeBoeuf, PPG chairman and chief executive, the company will remain headquartered at the six-building, 5.5-acre complex under a long-term lease. PPG occupies about half of One PPG Place, the facility’s 40-story office tower, and part of the adjacent low-rise Two PPG Place.
    "It was never our intention to own PPG Place in perpetuity," Le Boeuf said. "We are not in the real estate business, and the respected Hillman organization can better realize the complex’s commercial potential. Divestment of PPG Place would free capital that we, as a manufacturer, can invest more effectively for expansion of our global coatings, fiber glass, glass and chemicals businesses."
    Grubb & Ellis Co., which has managed the facility since its 1983 opening, is expected to continue in that capacity. The complex will continue to be identified as PPG Place.

Seven Year Partnership Ends
    Myles Fisher and Erwin Penniman have gone their separate ways after seven years of working together. The previous owners of Florida Block Windows, Specialty Windows of Florida and Vinyl Windows of Florida have split the companies over a disagreement regarding the direction the companies should take. Fisher is now running Florida Block Windows and its subsidiary Arizona Block Windows and Penniman is running Specialty Windows of Florida and Vinyl Windows of Florida.
    In an article in the Pensacola News, Fisher claims Penniman wanted to sell his shares of two of the companies to a competitor although Penniman denies the charge. In August 1998 Penniman sued Fisher over the dispute and Fisher countersued. Fisher was fired from all three companies in September 1998 and in late September a court-ordered settlement splitting the companies was agreed upon by both parties.


KUDOS

Nominations Open for the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame™
    Nominations are now open for the industry’s highest honor–induction into the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame™. Begun in 1994, the Hall of Fame honors those individuals who have made a difference both personally in the lives of others and who, through their actions, have raised the level of professionalism in the glass and metal industry. Inductees go through a nomination and rigorous selection process before being chosen for the award. The Hall of Fame is sponsored by USGlass magazine.
    Those wishing to nominate an industry colleague can obtain a nomination packet by downloading the information from www.usglassmag.com. The deadline for nominations is July 1, 1999 and winners will be announced in August. The gala dinner and awards presentation will take place in conjunction with Glass Expo Midwest ’99, on October 22, 1999 at the Cleveland Marriott in Cleveland, OH.

Adhesives Research Wins Award
    Adhesives Research Inc. of Glen Rock, PA, has been named 1999 Technology Company of the Year by the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania. The award recognizes a company who demonstrates excellence in innovative development of technology. Adhesives Research was honored for its innovation in creating new PSA technologies and for the way the company differentiates itself from competitors by specializing in the development of customized solutions for specific bonding challenges.

Winners Announced for 40th Annual Craftsmanship Awards
    The Construction Association of South Florida (CASF) has announced the winners of the fortieth annual Craftsmanship Awards. The awards honor exceptional craftsmanship in commercial buildings and custom homes from the Florida Keys through Palm Beach County. At the awards banquet individual craftsmen were recognized in 33 categories. A total of 168 nominations were reviewed by the judges’ panel. The judging panel followed a rigorous review process, with teams composed of an architect, engineer and general contractor visiting each nominated project to assess craftsmanship.
    A 30,000-square-foot Worldwide Sportsman store in Islamorada won the 1998 Best Overall Craftsmanship Performed on a Commercial Project. Seven different individuals won awards for the store. A custom home in Pompano Beach, built by JWR Construction Service Inc., was named Best Overall Craftsmanship Performed on a Residential Project.


INTERNATIONAL

Glass Industry Should Expect Increase in International Shipping Costs
    A 30 percent increase in the shipping costs for all cargo shipped from Asia to the United States went into effect May 1, according to the Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators (SGCD). The Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) group believes the price hikes will be at least $900 for a 40-foot container to a United States West Coast port and at least $1,000 per container to other coasts, according to the SGCD.
    The Ocean Shipping Reform Act will allow customers to negotiate confidential contracts with individual carriers. Fred Edelstein of Ceramic Development International said "smaller importers will not have the pricing leverage of huge importers such as Wal-Mart that import 40,000 containers per year."


MANUFACTURING, DISTRIBUTION AND PRODUCTION

Petersen Aluminum to Open Plant in Georgia
    Petersen Aluminum Corporation of Elk Grove, IL, has announced the opening of a new production facility in Kennisaw, GA, which will service Atlanta and the Southeastern United States. Included in the 60,000-square-foot facility are complete roll-forming capabilities and a Red Bud 72-inch wide blanking line.


EXPANSIONS

ETC Laboratories Expands Facility
    ETC Laboratories of Rochester, NY, moved into a new building that is three times the size of its original facility. Included in the new facility is a larger structural test wall capable of handling commercial and architectural grade windows and doors for certification testing and code compliance, an expanded materials testing laboratory, new personnel for NFRC simulations and thermal testing and a workshop area for the design and fabrication of fenestration test equipment.

Correction
The photo that was published with the Traco story, (USGlass, May, page 23), should have been placed with the article below as it was Security Lock’s new warehouse.


FINANCIAL

Standard & Poor’s Lowers Saint-Gobain’s Rating
    Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has lowered its long-term corporate credit and senior unsecured debt ratings on Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A., reflecting an increase in debt along with ongoing company growth, according to PRNewswire. The rating was lowered from double-A minus to single-A plus. The senior unsecured debt rating on Saint-Gobain Nederland B.V., was also lowered from double-A minus to single-A plus. Additionally, the short-term corporate credit and commercial paper ratings on Saint-Gobain were lowered to A-1 from A-1 plus. Despite the reduced ratings, S&P cites the company’s outlook as stable.
    Saint Gobain’s 1998 net sales were $20 billion, while net debt coverage by funds from operations dropped to 51 percent from 65 percent in 1997. The ratio is not expected to increase in the near future due to Saint Gobain’s continuation of its growth strategy.
    According to S&P, tightened capital spending should generate a steady improvement in the group’s free cash flow generation. The company’s financial position, however, is not expected to increase substantially in the near future. Net debt coverage by funds from operations is expected to remain above 40 percent.


USG

Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.