• Field Notes 14.08.2014

    After a recent blog about architecture school and cutting architects some slack, a college classmate, Mike Kadow, principal at Somerville Inc. (Green Bay, Wisc.), dropped me a line asking if I’d heard about the architect who almost died eating a glazed doughnut. Can’t say that I had, Mike. But, next time, would you like a dozen powder coated? We can do that here at TGP. (Note to self: don’t quit day job for a career writing one liners).

    Out of curiosity, how many of you use white boards in your office? And what goes on them? Notes during meetings? To-do lists? I like them for being able to draw closer to scale than on paper, and that they’re much easier to erase and not as messy as chalkboards. I wonder if they still have kids clean the erasers in elementary schools, though.

    After a recent meeting ended, I left the typical clouded “Please Save” note with my initials below it. When I came back, someone had replaced my initials with “Knicker-doodles.” Good for a laugh, right? Thing is, I kind of liked it.

    Recently, one of our sales guys said he gets positive feedback from his customers all the time about this blog (obviously, much appreciated). His comment to our VP of sales was that there are “thousands of Knicker-bloggers out there.” Far be it from me to pin that sort of nickname on anyone without their permission, but if you want a T-shirt, see me…

    I wonder if I can trademark these knick-knacks, though.  If you have other suggestions, I’m open.

    Since this is a blog on a glass industry site, it’s time to get back to business. I recently read an article about a Vancouver, B.C., building that’s the first of 250-plus buildings owned by a single management company to use triple glazing. Several years ago, as the energy issues were starting to take on their growing predominance within the industry, it appeared every job was going to be detailed with 3-pane IGUs. And, it hasn’t happened that way, not even in areas that have severe tropical or winter climates. Maybe this is something we can take up at GANA Technical Committee.

    On a different topic, we sometimes get requests for operable vents to be included in fire-rated glazing applications. Hmmm… Unless the vent hardware can close the opening when a building’s alarm system activates, a vent left open by a building occupant isn’t going to do much to stop a fire.

    Thinking about that reminded me of operable vents in non-rated curtainwalls and windows. The ASCE 7 calculations have a stipulation for “enclosed” or “partially enclosed” buildings. This has to do primarily with residential buildings, where operable vents or sliding glass doors might be present. When considering the partially enclosed buildings, the resulting calculations could result in a 10-25 percent increase in the building wind load, depending on building height, configuration and the wind speed.

    The reason is, when the vent or door is left open, the wind can blow through that opening and create pressure on the interior of the wall opposite the vents, in addition to the normal, exterior wall pressure. Interior partitions might knock some of that down, but in a hurricane, they’re not likely to last very long, and eventually the opposite exterior wall will be doubly exposed to wind loading.

    Which brings up sliders in high-rise residences. If there’s a harder product type to make air- and water-tight, I don’t know what it is. Granted, typical entrance doors might be exposed to some moisture and vapor transmittance, but it’s generally accepted that main entrances aren’t held to the same standard as sliders are, especially on expensive apartments or condos.

    I’ve always preferred swing doors in these applications, as having bulb gaskets with multi-point locks helping to hold the door to the bulbs creates better seals at vulnerable perimeters. But, most architects are not fond of them for high-rise buildings, as most little old ladies (or so the fear expressed by one architect) would be flung off the balcony if they held onto the push/pull if the swing door leaf was ever caught in a wind gust.

    There are some higher performing operable vents, sliders and swing doors out there. Make sure you’re specifying door and vent systems that are suitable for the conditions on a given project. This is one area where you don’t want to undercut the performance specs. I’d call it “Knicker-moronic” if you did that, but that just doesn’t have the same ring as the others.

    And thank you, again, for being a Knickerblogger. I promise never call you that in person. Deal?

    Posted by Blogger @ 2:06 pm

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