Volume 39, Issue 6, June  2004

NewsNow

IBC Code Change Approved to Remove Wired Glass Exemption
During the International Code Council’s code hearings that took place last month in Overland Park, Kan., the council approved code change S85-03/04, which limits the use of wired glass in all building structures in areas subject to human impact. The passage of the code change ends the temporary wired glass exemption from federal regulation that has been in place since 1977. The code change will be a part of the addendum to the 2003 International Building Code (IBC).

The code change, however, is not without controversy, as several statements from both wired glass proponents and opponents were made to USGlass after the announcement of the approval. First, Thom Zaremba, representing wired glass manufacturers, made the following statement:

“The vote is a disappointment and was made without any new technical information or other data to support further restrictions on the use of wired glass beyond those already existing in the 2003 edition of the [IBC]. However, I believe this change will be temporary. This same issue has been raised many times before by corporate interests that compete with wired glass in the marketplace and each time it has been defeated. This time, we believe the proponents of this proposal interjected fatal flaws into the decision-making process, which we intend to bring before the ICC board of directors within the next 30 days.”

Wired glass opponent Oregon State Sen. Vicki Walker responded:

“Contrary to Mr. Zaremba’s characterization, the only fatal flaw in that decision-making process is that it took so long in the making … as one code official told me privately: ‘the wired glass industry should have been made to come before us every code cycle to justify the continued existence of the “temporary exemption” they got in 1977 ...’”

Walker continued, “I am not surprised the wired glass manufacturers plan on filing some complaint objecting to the vote; it would be out of character if they did not. They have continuously shown a total disregard for the health and safety of the citizens of this country and abroad …”

Zaremba followed Sen. Walker’s comments with a statement as well.

“ … Contrary to what proponents of the proposal would have the general public believe, and consistent with the best body of data available, the wired glass product that is subject to S85-03/04 represents the best product presently available for the intended application—i.e., fire-related assemblies not found in hazardous educational occupancy locations or athletic facilities. There are alternative products available, but objective evaluations reveal that each presents its own set of issues, including risks to the health and safety of the general public …” 
(Editor’s note: Statements from Walker and Zaremba in their entirety can be read online at www.usgnn.com.)
Info www.iccsafe.org or call 703/931-4533. 

Future of Interpane’s North American Operations Questionable
Interpane’s North American operations in Clinton, N.C., and Deerfield, Wis., are no longer accepting new orders. While rumors have been circulating that the company will be ceasing its operations in the States, president Thomas Koehler says it’s premature to say the company is shutting down here, and that right now it is still operating, but no longer taking new orders due to the “level of uncertainty” surrounding the company’s future in the States. According to Joern Hesselbach, chief executive officer, Interpane is currently in discussions with two possible suitors—one in the United States and one in Mexico—over a possible joint venture in the future. 

“Overall, the company is healthy,” said Hesselbach referring to Interpane’s global operations. “It is just in North America [that we’re having problems].”

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