Volume 41, Issue 9 - September 2006

DearUSG

“Taxation Without Representation” Raises Questions

Dear USG:
As I read the letter from Alana Sunness Griffith, FCSI, CCPR in the July 2006 USGlass (see page 6) about the upcoming National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) “challenges,” I had a few questions.

Who will organize the commercial glazing contractors and where do they go to unite? What should they do once they are organized and united? 

I had similar concerns as I read Max Perilstein’s comments in his July 2006 column (see page 18).

Would you believe that right here in Des Moines, Iowa, there sits $4 to $5 million worth of aluminum that skins a couple of buildings? On one of the buildings the extrusions were imported from Asia. On the other, the extrusions were imported from Asia and the material was finished/fabricated in other overseas operations. How did an architectural firm let this happen on a major job? Long story short, it was easy: the glazing contractor had his own company listed as an approved manufacturer.

There are many jobs around the country going in this, or a similar, route. I recently heard of a multi-story building using a unitized curtainwall where the metal was imported from Mexico. The system failed because units disengaged from the system. In the end it appeared that the anchors were extruded from the wrong alloy. Will we be seeing this on the typical, everyday storefront job? Not for years, but it is happening on the big jobs, and has been going on for at least five years.

What can be done? I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a starting point. It would help if our specifications required products to be extruded in the United States. It would also help if the United States-based extruders would change their standard downloadable specifications in the same way.

This is not a solution, but it is a start. I have personal knowledge that manufacturers from Canada and Western Europe have fine products with which I am pleased to compete. Most of those companies are selling whole systems and not raw materials.
Finally, I would like to note that this industry is facing several “market conditions” that encourage the importation of material from government subsidized and other low-cost, foreign producers. I will not address them here, since it would take much more than a note to the editor to do so. In the end it is up to us as members of this industry to come together and work toward improvement of our industry—be it regulation problems or quality issues. Where do we go and what do we do when we get there?

J. Darrell Jones, CSI, CCPR
Jones Window Systems Inc.
Des Moines, Iowa

Overruling Specified Requirements

Dear USG:
Over the years we have experienced excellent support from the sales representatives and technical service departments of sealant manufacturers. However, we have recently discovered that local sales representatives consistently overrule their specified requirements. Needless to say, this puts the owner, subcontractor and general contractor in a very precarious position. Ultimately the guarantee of the final installation is borne by the general contractor directly to the owner, and the subcontractor will be caught between the two. The owner will be stuck with a project that, if properly designed and installed, should last 40-plus years, but once the sealant fails, they will ultimately suffer a loss after the general contractor warranty expires.

Peter M. Muller
Curtainwall Consultant
Peter M. Muller Inc.
Houston

USG
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