• Field Notes 31.08.2011 1 Comment

    The warranty on this blog is seven days. That’s standard (see the small print). When did the warranty period start? From the moment the blog was submitted for posting, or from the time you read it? If this is written on Monday, and you’re reading this on Wednesday, the warranty’s already 31 percent expired if we pick the “from when it was ready to ship” date. Want a longer period? There will be a charge. All kidding aside, this is an issue the glazing industry wrestles with all too frequently.

    Most glazing manufacturers and suppliers offer standard warranties for their products. Inevitably, specifications call for periods longer than the standard warranty. A typical fall back is to charge more for an extension. Is what’s being sold a bit more peace of mind to the end-user, the building owner? Probably that’s a large part of it. It’s the reason many in the industry offer extended warranties when asked, or will build them into initial proposals.

    Recently, one of our suppliers wanted their warranty to start when it shipped from their plant. It was a pass-through warranty to the owner, who wanted it to start at project substantial completion. Problem: there was a 14-month difference in the two dates, and therefore, in the warranty end date, as well. We eventually resolved this issue to the owner’s satisfaction, but only after a lot of effort on the part of all parties concerned.

    When should warranty periods start? As a manufacturer ourselves, we do everything in our power to control the quality of our goods up until they ship. After that, if/when the goods arrive in decent shape on the project, they are out of our control. Other companies install them, hopefully per the installation instructions we provide.

    The industry as a whole seems divided on this, and individual companies sometimes compare their warranties to “the industry standard” – what Company A or B might offer for similar products. That’s one thing. I don’t know the answer to this, and feedback would be most welcome. Does the industry need to educate architects to change the specifications? On the surface, that’s not an easy task or one that’s likely to meet with success. Any suggestions?

    Hurricane Commentary

    Irene’s passed through most of the East Coast as I write this on Monday morning. Having family in that neck of the woods, one pays more attention to the weather. My brother and his family spent last week on the Outer Banks in N.C., and didn’t evacuate with the rest of the tourists (“I’ve been here all week, I’m not a tourist anymore!”) Thinking better of it, he packed it in on Thursday night before they ordered the permanent residents to leave on Friday. Only to drive home to Parkesburg, Pa., (between Harrisburg and Philadelphia), and was without power for about 12 hours on Sunday. Fortunately, it wasn’t any worse than that for most of the region struck by the hurricane. Thankfully, most people did the prudent thing. Now this morning, everybody’s asking whether or not Irene was “over-hyped.” Kudos to the folks in the industry who did do that, suspending ops early Thursday and giving people a chance to hunker down or get outta Dodge. Prudence (once again) being the better part of valor???

  • Other bloggers have taken their shot at the federal budget crisis the last couple of weeks; let me throw in my two cents.  The Sunday papers were all a-flitter about another hat being thrown in the Presidential contender ring, and this morning one hat was being pulled out.  Maybe the debt deal has settled down, moved to the back pages.  Maybe it shouldn’t be.  It seems like this might be at the root of the problem with the whole economy right now.

    If you or I had a credit problem, doesn’t it make sense we’d have to cut expenses, raise revenues or maybe a lot of both?  Perhaps take that second job as a greeter at you-know-where, cut out the trip to the Bahamas this year, no Christmas vacation at Vail, etc.  Meanwhile, the credit card bills still are due and payable every 30 days.  THAT payment won’t go away, no matter what else has to be cut from the “discretionary” budget.

    Can all of one without some of the other be possible?  Not raise taxes, just make deeper cuts?  Keep spending, but let’s not raise revenues, or figure out how we’re going to pay for all this?  That seemed to be what was missing during the debate in the OTHER Washington (that’s how it’s referred to here).  Some wanted all of one while not accepting any of the other – from both sides of the spectrum.  It appeared neither was going to be happy without taking all of their jacks out of the game and going home.  Was anything really fixed?

    We (yes, you and I, and all of us in the U.S.) have in the form of the Federal Gov’t been spending more money than we take in, and we keep electing people who continue to do that same thing over and over, and because we keep re-electing them, they think it’s ok.  THAT’s what has to change.  If you and I did that, we’d have to file for bankruptcy.  What’s the old saw:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is not intelligent, to say the least.

    Meanwhile, will it take an Act of Congress to raise my personal debt ceiling?  Probably, but one thing’s for sure:  No one’s going to let me borrow money like the government does.  Shudder to think if we ever come to the point of defaulting on the loans we already have out there.

    So what’s the plan for starting to pay down that debt?  What’s going to have to cut to be able to afford those costs?  We take 30 years to pay off our personal mortgages; I have nothing against borrowing money.  Except with the national debt, we’re just making interest payments, none of the principle’s being paid off.

    There has to be a plan in place to pay the debt off, too, and no one’s addressing that.  And some things will have to be put aside to be able to make that happen.  That’s the debate, how to change the way we’ve been doing things, not more of the same.  It won’t be easy, and there are some tough choices out there.  But in the end, can it be done?

    And now on a lighter note …

    We’re less than three weeks into the football PRE-(not the regular) season, and talk about the Eagles winning the Super Bowl has started. Please stop such talk IMMEDIATELY, I’m begging you!  Talk to me at Thanksgiving; we’ll see how they’re looking then.  It’s a known fact that Lombardi trophies don’t get handed out in August.  Talk to me at New Years.  I’m not putting my jersey or hat on until then, since I’m afraid I’ll jinx the whole deal.  Talk to me around Valentine’s Day.  Not before, please.  Let’s talk about the Phillies first.  They have the NL East locked down, I hope.  As for the World Series, talk to me at Halloween.  We’ll know by then…

USGlass Magazine

USGlass Magazine