Volume 43, Issue 4 - April 2008
by Megan Headley and Debra Levy
This year’s Glass Association of North America (GANA) sponsored Glass Week took place February 13-17 at the Rio in Las Vegas—and hot on its heels was the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference, which lasted through February 17-19. While the week began with hard-at-work GANA members discussing new business initiatives, it closed with a swelling tide of glazing contractors eager to sit back and take in detailed informational presentations. Too much for one week? Not so for the more than 800 glass industry professionals—from manufacturers and fabricators to distributors and suppliers to glazing contractors—who came to Vegas to learn. And whether it was the name of a critical contact or an installation tip, these attendees went home with lots of new knowledge.
G is for Green
Carney suggested that the Tempering Division begin to consider ways to bring “green” up to its agenda. He added, “If we don’t begin to look at it and try to find opportunities, we’ll never see them.”
The BEC Division likewise opened its meeting with green talk. “Daylighting is one of the biggest things out there and a lot of people don’t have a clue,” commented BEC Division chairperson Max Perilstein of Arch Aluminum & Glass. The group tossed around such ideas as developing a green construction task group and creating a white paper on green construction.
The Decorative Division heard the call in its meeting as well and is creating a task group to focus on contributing to green efforts. The Flat Glass Manufacturing Division took a different tack. As part of the division’s new business, Henry Gorry of Guardian Industries Corp. requested the division “create an ad hoc committee on climate change.” Per Gorry, the committee would identify the industry’s objectives in legislation or regulatory activities and aim to get its objectives incorporated in any legislation or regulatory activities.
Some division members questioned whether a committee specific to climate change would be too narrow of a focus and if it would not be better to broaden the scope to cover all things green in the overall context of the association’s green initiative. Others, however, felt that such a broad scope would be charging one committee with too much.
Among other concerns were time and money.
As Gorry noted, “This is going to require, in the nation’s capital, some eyes and ears, some lobbying.”
William Yanek, GANA’s incoming executive director, pointed out that if the division would be aiming to lobby Washington, this would be the year to start organizing efforts. “You’re going to have new administration, new Congress, new legislation,” he said. “If you don’t act soon you’re going to leave the playing field and you might have to live with what comes out of Washington.”
A six-to-one vote in favor created this committee on climate change. Also under the umbrella of green, Yanek gave a presentation during that division’s meeting on adding to points for the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED program through such efforts as using recycled cullet during the manufacturing process. The GANA staff noted that ideas such as this were needed so that manufacturers might start to look at this green issue and be on the same page as their customers.
“[We] think it’s logical to begin in the beginning with the flat glass manufacturing,” said Carney. As he’d pointed out earlier, “I’ve seen a lot of cullet go out headed for the landfill.” Recycling during the manufacturing process was one suggestion made. The division members were asked for additional suggestions and activities being done at their facilities. “If you have public documents that address the issues and opportunities, please send them to staff,” Carney said.
The staff suggested collecting documents to identify potential areas or inconsistencies among companies and ways in which to address them as an industry. Tempering Division Cleans Up The Tempering Division’s Construction Subcommittee addressed the issue of glass cleaning, an issue that has seen much debate between the glass association’s members and the window cleaning industry (see January 2008 USGlass, page 18).In particular, GANA has urged window cleaners not to use metal scrapers to clean glass, as it can result in scratches.
The International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) and other window cleaners place the blame for these scratches on the alleged presence of fabricating debris on tempered and heat-strengthened glass that is pulled along the surface of the glass. The subcommittee members stressed that it is important to get the word out about the damage caused by metal scrapers. “GANA has taken the position that we are here to educate and will continue to educate the window cleaners,” said Brian Pitman, director of marketing and communications for GANA.
It was suggested that a static-cling applied sticker on certain glass products might help in this education process. The subcommittee expressed interest in the idea, noting that a GANA-supplied decal would carry more weight than individual company-supplied stickers. Some individuals suggested having these stickers applied by the glazing contractor, although there was concern about liability should the contractor neglect to use the sticker. One listener added that there likely would be pushback from the commercial glazing industry should stickers be required on the exterior of the glass. Should this practice be followed, Carney pointed out that the sticker would be most useful in the initial cleaning, when cement and other new construction debris are most problematic for glass.
The Laminated Division Hears a Proposal John Kent of the Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC) presented the Laminating Division with an update of that group’s certification activities. Kent summarized for the division a proposal for new guidelines for the certification of laminated glass. Historically, laminated glass has been certified per nominal thickness per ASTM C1036. However, Kent said, there are products that don’t fall into those nominal thicknesses. He explained that the SGCC proposal would initially test for nominal thickness to satisfy C1036, but ongoing certification would be by range of thicknesses.
He explained that initial testing would be performed on each nominal thickness, per C1036, of at least one brand of each generic category of interlayer material that the company is aiming to certify. Ongoing certification would be by two thickness classes (standard or heavy) and per generic category of interlayer. SGCC will maintain a list of accepted interlayer brands per generic category, and certification to one brand within the generic category will allow switching to other brands within the generic category on the list. According to Kent, this new method would mean that, on an ongoing basis, there will be fewer tests for a wider range of products.
FRGC Takes Charge of Labels
However, Jeff Griffiths of SAFTI FIRST was one to voice concern that the presentation was on the wrong side of a line between easy-to-understand and overly simplistic. To address those concerns, committee members took another afternoon to go through the presentation slide-by-slide, ensuring that the final product would be fit for a wide audience. The Laminating Division’s Marketing Committee reviewed the latest draft of its Laminated Glass 101 presentation. The goal is to provide an AIA-accredited presentation as well. The group presently is waiting on more photos and a script, being prepared by Valerie Block of DuPont, to accompany the presentation. “It’s something the committee has been working on for quite some time,” Pitman commented. “It’ll go through one more review but everyone seems to be pretty happy with it.” That same committee also discussed an initiative to create a video on the resin process of laminating glass; a video already exists on laminating with PVB.
Meanwhile, the Tempering Division is in the process of developing its video about tempering, as one of several ways to help the uninitiated understand what tempering is. These videos would join the association’s already available videos on float glass manufacturing, making laminated glass with PVB and the fabrication of flat glass mirrors.
Upcoming Documents Under Review
The Protective Glazing Committee’s draft of a Blast Mitigating Glazing GIB is still in its review state, but with no new changes or comments the group voted to send the document out to be balloted by the committee. Meanwhile, the committee sent a new GIB on detention facility glazing out to its members for review.
Two draft GIBS, one on protective glazing earthquakes and one on how glazing can prevent melanoma, also were readied to go out for comments from the committee.
The Mirror Division’s Technical Committee reviewed the results of a board ballot on the draft Proper Fabrication of Flat Glass Mirrors GIB. The document had two disapprovals at the board level, which both will require some tidying up from the committee before resending. The committee also now has a draft outline of its GIB on Installation Techniques Designed to Prolong the Life of Mirror. During the meeting the group touched on concerns about offering actual installation guidelines, which the group typically does not provide. This GIB gets close, the members worried. As the association’s members are primarily manufacturers, rather than installers, the group felt that creating guidelines on installation could prove to be a liability. The Decorative Division’s Technical Committee heard reports on several task group GIBs.
The Product Handling and Cleaning Task Group’s GIB had gone out to the Technical Committee following the last meeting. One comment had been made and the group had since resolved it, leaving it to prepare the document to send to the full division for approval. The Types of Decorative Glass Task Group is looking for additional input for its glossary of terms so that an updated document can be passed to the task group and technical committee. That committee’s Product Color and Durability Task Group expects to produce a GIB about color in the future, and perhaps one on durability as well. For now, though, the group continues to identify and list properties of each category (for example, properties of color include lightness and darkness, hue, chromaticity, etc.), add to definitions and compile related standards.
The Tempering Division’s Optical Distortion Subcommittee continued its review of the ASTM standard C14.11. The manual on which the group has been working is almost ready for publication with only 15 items left to complete.
Association ReportsGANA lawyer Kim Mann captured his audience’s attention right away at the Glass Week membership meeting. Mann addressed the recent filing of price-fixing lawsuits against a number of primary manufacturers (see February 2008 USGlass, page 30). “There are seven such lawsuits that I am aware of,” said Mann, “and a good number more are expected. They target the primary glass manufacturers.”
Mann spoke to an audience that had his undivided attention. He added that the glass industry, by its very nature, has caught the attention of class action suit lawyers. He cited the small number of primary manufacturers as the main reason for the legal focus. “It’s easy to allege price-fixing in an industry of few players. It’s harder to do in industries with more players,” he said.
Mann believes two main events led to the filing of these lawsuits. The first was the implementation of fines by the European Union (EU) against four major primary manufacturers for alleged price fixing in Europe (see December 2007 USGlass, page 36). The second was the success of lawsuits in the trucking industry in Europe that became a precursor for a number of other price-fixing lawsuits. Mann reminded the group that GANA always has had a strong anti-trust policy. “Trade associations are where competitors gather and it’s important to avoid any kinds of appearance of discussion of pricing, warranties and surcharges. Surcharges are the hot topic today,” he said. “Primaries are not the only ones who assess surcharges. Many do. I am not suggesting they are illegal, but you must be careful in how they are created.”
Mann also believes additional fines will be assessed by the EU regarding alleged auto glass price-fixing and that those fines “may be five, six even seven times higher than those for flat glass.”
Carney then reported on the activities of his department. He introduced Urmilla Sowell as the new assistant technical director. Carney, who is involved in a staggering number of projects for GANA, gave an overview of a few of those efforts. He mentioned that he had, for the first time, prepared a complete summary of all the technical projects upon which his department had worked this past year. “I did a technical report for the year and it was 424 pages,” Carney joked. He said that, luckily, it was able to be summarized in 12 pages and is now available in the members-only area of the GANA website.
Carney then discussed what many believe to be the single, biggest problem area in glass industry: the lack of responsiveness by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). “You have heard me rant and rave and occasionally cuss about NFRC. You’ve also heard me be the voice for our industry at NFRC,” Carney said.
He added that he and IGMA executive Margaret Webb were considering not responding to votes because of the role of the NFRC board in overruling the committee (see page 18). “Once they [proposals the NFRC group works on] go to the NFRC board they come back very different than what was agreed to by the committee. It’s very frustrating,” he said.
Next up is GANA’s Fall Conference, scheduled for September 8-10 at the Wyndham DFW Airport North in Dallas.
GANA Staff Passes Torch During Glass Week
Ren Bartoe of Vesuvius treated Smith to a subdued “roast” that brought chuckles from his audience. In addition, Debra Levy, publisher of USGlass magazine presented Smith with a personalized cover in recognition of his frequent contributions to both the industry and the publication.
During the dinner, as well as throughout the week, Glass Week attendees and GANA members were introduced to incoming executive director William Yanek (see September 2007 USGlass, page 22), who has worked closely with Smith for the past six months.
The GANA members next turned their attention to honoring an industry legend. William Coddington of W.S. Coddington Consulting was brought to the stage where he was formally presented with a GANA Honorary Membership due to his valuable work over the course of 40 years in the industry (see September 2007 USGlass, page 124).
BEC Crowds Come to Las Vegas
Hyken created “moments of magic” for the audience during his talk on creating such moments for customers. As he told his audience, studies have shown that more than “40 percent of satisfied customers don’t come back.” He explained that those customers are met with satisfactory services, but aren’t wowed by exceptional care. Hyken stressed the importance of creating a powerful and positive interaction between the customer and every representative of a company to create an impression that will build not just satisfaction, but loyalty. Hyken also noted that, “People want to do business with people they know, they like and they trust.” Those words seemed to be exemplified by the networking opportunities for which the BEC conference is known.
Hyken’s magic tricks and advice gave way to more technical sessions later in the morning. Joseph Solinski, president of Stone & Glazing Consulting, presented the audience with a thought-provoking case study during his presentation, “Structural Glazing Survey and Repair.” He walked the audience through the examination of a building with a 500,000-square-foot unitized curtainwall system—and a history of loose glass and leaks. A survey of the building revealed structural sealant concerns. “What percent [of glass] is ok to fall out?’
Solinski jokingly asked his audience. For this building, the answer seemed to be “far too many.” However, Solinski was all seriousness as he recounted the inspection process that required doing a “suction cup pull test” on each of the 26,000 lites on the building. A test apparatus was used to essentially pull six times on each lite to discover if sealant defects existed.
The search turned up 16 lites that could be pulled out by hand. As additional resources for his audience, Solinski pointed to ASTM standards C1184-05, Specification for Structural Silicone Sealants; C1392-00 (05) Guide for Evaluating Failure of Structure Sealant Glazing; C1394-03 03 Guide for In-Situ Structural Silicone Glazing Evaluation; C1401-02 Guide for Structural Sealant Glazing; and C1487-02 Guide for Remedying Structural Silicone Glazing. Later, Bruce Werner of Curtain Wall Design and Consulting Inc. and Peter Poirier of Tremco Inc. formed a panel about four-sided structural silicone glazing. As Werner pointed out, the talk in Las Vegas was apropos as the City Center project on the Strip is the largest structural silicone glazed (SSG) construction project in the world. Since the first SSG building was constructed in 1971, it has become “a mature technology,” Werner said. Ted Derby of Pohl Inc. of America touched on a newer technology: rainscreens.
During “The Application of the Rainscreen Principle with Current Construction Practices,” Pohl made a case for the use of vented walls, or walls that allow air to move around but still manage water, thereby preventing problems such as mold. He said that with open joint systems designers can create a façade with enough vents that the pressure on the veneer equals the pressure on wall cavity, so water drains right down.
One question that comes up is whether energy efficiency can be maintained with vented walls. According to Pohl, continuity in installation is the key to improved energy efficiency.
He also noted that rainscreens can be incorporated into unitized curtainwall systems. “A lot of pre-engineering is done with these systems,” he says, adding that this can help maintain top-notch quality control.
Richard Green, P.E., and Stanley Yee of The Façade Group also discussed new technology. The duo went through the design, development and implementation of a 300,000-square-foot point-supported glass wall at the new Bangkok International Airport. One of the ten largest airports in the world, its curtainwall system incorporates a number of new technologies, including point-fixed, heat-strengthened laminated glass and intricate stainless steel components. Green and Yee walked their listeners through the development of the tension truss support system and the stainless steel components—and the challenges they faced in testing the holes drilled into the glass for these components.
Patrick Muessig of Azon USA focused on the topic of energy, specifically, energy modeling. Muessig introduced his audience to some of the tools available for this topic, from the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Component Modeling Approach (CMA) and AAMA 507, Standard Practice for Determining the Thermal Performance Characteristics of Fenestration Systems Installed in Commercial Buildings, as well as an overview of some of the federal legislation pointing toward requirements for energy-efficient buildings, including the recently passed Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (see March 2008 USGlass, page 46).He also suggested looking at COMFEN—a software tool coming from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to be used for calculating heating and cooling energy use of fenestration products in commercial buildings—as the next generation of energy modeling. “I think it’s going to be a very nice product for our industry,” he said.
Raj Goyal of Graham Architectural Products presented information about designing for blasts per the new UFC-DOD standard. “We all have dealt with disasters like water infiltration,” Goyal said, “but in these cases we are designing for life safety.”His videos of flying glass shards following test explosions impressed upon his audience the importance of following the 2007 document and thoroughly understanding its requirements. During his presentation “Protecting Exterior Fenestration & Glazing Surfaces with Applied Protective Coatings,” Mike Burk of Edgetech IG touched on the topic of window cleaning, which had been discussed earlier during Glass Week.
He called today’s high-performance glass products and metal scrapers used by window cleaners “a disastrous combination.” “You know that if you scrape this with a metal scraper you’re going to see damage to the glass,” Burk said. “We’ve got people out there saying it’s the glass that’s at fault … and we all know better than that.”
He suggested plastic films that protect glass during the construction process as one way to avoid problems. Jim Fairley of Colonial Glass Solutions presented “Systems and Glass … Which System Fits Your Business.”
“I’m not here to tell you which system to use,” Fairley commented. “The systems that works is the system that works for your company.”
However, he did offer some suggestions. For lean manufacturing—which he summarized as a focus on waste removal to increase throughput—he suggested each member of management write something they considered wasteful on a post-it note. After everyone had put three or more post-its on the wall, the overlap could be considered items to look at cutting right away. Fairley explained that following Six Sigma means focusing on reducing variation and reworks to increase throughput. He pointed out one area where there’s typically lots of variation and reworking. “Think about how much time is wasted on the bidding process,” he said.
He recommended marking off how much time is spent with each bid to take note of the time lost and how that could be changed. The theory of constraints, Fairley explained, can be summed up as “one hour lost at a bottleneck is an hour lost for the whole process.” Finding the bottleneck is the starting point, whether it’s a machine in the facility or an idle group on the jobsite. Then it’s necessary to explore the constraints of the bottleneck to find a solution. Fairley also recommended that, if there are problem on the jobsite, it’s necessary to fix the problem first, and then continue to move product through, otherwise you’ll just be creating additional problems.
Richard Kalson and David White of Thorp Reed & Armstrong LLP focused on different industry problems. The two talked about a “new hot clause” showing up in subcontracts during their presentation on “Construction Law Developments in 2007.” The pay-when-paid clause has a big difference from the pay-if-paid clause, the pair noted during their talk. White explained that a pay-if-paid clause more or less says that a subcontractor will only be paid if a general contractor is paid by the owner, implying that if the general contractor is not paid the subcontractor suffers that fate as well. “Don’t agree to this,” White insisted. “It’s important because once that risk of payment shifts from the general contractor being paid by the owner to you, the subcontractor, then you are completely at the mercy of the payment by owner and you don’t ever want to get into that situation,” he said. “That should always be a deal breaker.”
As White noted, “Some states have actually enacted legislation that these clauses are unenforceable.” While the “pay-if-paid clause can result in your never ever ever being paid by the general,” White explained, the pay-when-paid clause “sets a reasonable amount of time, say a year,” after which point the court will usually make a decision that the subcontractor must be paid. In response to a question from the audience, White agreed that there can be an advantage to striking a pay-when-paid contract clause so that it simply says the general contractor shall pay the subcontractor. “To the extent that you can get rid of that, try that, absolutely,” White agreed. Following the almost overwhelming technical knowledge presented, a highlight for many attendees was the keynote speech from Mike Eruzione, who was the team captain of the 1980 Olympic Gold Medal hockey team. Unlike other sports heroes on the speaking circuit, Eruzione did not dwell on his own accomplishments (like making the winning goal in the U.S. vs. Russia game) but rather talked of team efforts and advancements.
When asked to name his proudest achievement he chose two: when the movie “Miracle” premiered and getting to light the torch at the Salt Lake City games. “I was proud of the movie, because it means that people who were there can relive it and people who weren’t alive, or who aren’t yet alive will get to see it. It was very exciting for me.
“The only thing that tops it is lighting the torch to open the Olympics,” he added. “They didn’t tell us until very late the night before that we were going to do it. It was a very big secret. We had to rehearse at midnight to keep it a secret. I came back to the condo I was staying in at 3 a.m. and told my wife, to which she replied ‘Yeah, right, what bar were you guys drinking at?’
“It was just that kind of humor and self-deprecation that endeared the star, who never played professional hockey, to the crowd. “I liked him because he was a regular guy,” said one attendee, “you could really relate to him.”
Despite the success of the packed seminars, many attendees were most interested in “relating to” their colleagues at the conference. Either way, there was something for everyone at the conference. “BEC continues to be the ultimate networking and educational event for the contract glazier. We had great feedback from the attendees and I am confident that we will continue to work to make that event the best one around,” commented Perilstein. “All in all, our industry benefits from the technical and education process of Glass Week and BEC and I believe everyone who attended was able to get something tangible out of it.”
Dates for next year’s BEC Conference will be announced later this year.
Megan Headley and Debra Levy are the editor and publisher of USGlass, respectively.