• Field Notes 30.03.2010

    BEC is wrapping up as I start to make my notes for this blog. It’s pretty amazing how you can think you’re on an island, then come to one of these industry events and see that others are facing the same challenges and opportunities – not only of the economy, but also the code issues, legal stuff (we all like getting paid on time, etc.), how people are rethinking what they do, and new products. It’s definitely been worth the time and cost.  

    Some things of note from the conference:  

    • Reglaze / Retrofit / Remodel might be the basic three Rs for the industry for a while. If new construction suffers as it has, then owners may upgrade what they have.  That creates a whole different niche some will want to get into.
    • The presentation on PREVENTABLE Curtain Wall Failures. If you can access the GANA website, the presentation did an excellent job of covering those. It’s getting passed to the Engineering Department for their use when I get back to the office. 
    • Get your teams situated per the strategic direction of your company. That may mean trimming, but it may also mean training up with new skill sets for your present employees. And, raising the expectations of what they can do.
    • Energy issues are driving new products to the market, but are also the basis for most of the code issues currently being considered. I don’t think there was a single product discussed that wasn’t making reference to increased energy performance. Eventually, as all of these get integrated into single projects, it’s all gotta add up, right? 
    • I heard a comment about Russ Huffer’s presentation regarding Net Zero Buildings (look it up in GANA’s website, hopefully it will be there). His presentation was a good case for not balancing the whole of a building’s energy consumption on just the amount of glazing in it. The comment: “We need to get him in front of ASHRAE. SOON!” 
    • Code issues:  do these ever go away? Probably not. We haven’t seen the full impact of NFRC, but ASHRAE 90.1 is on the horizon now, too. It’s becoming apparent the typical glazing subs don’t have the resources to take on the code issues by themselves, and may not know where to start. Fortunately, some of the large manufacturers, both from the framing and glass houses, as well as GANA and other trade associations, are stepping in to help fend off some of these attacks. I’m grateful for their willingness to do so. And while I may not know exactly how to fight these issues, I hope we as an industry can lend a hand if they see fit to call on us directly to support their efforts. At least let them know you can and will do that should the need arise.    
      And if you don’t think they’re attacks, then take another look. Reducing the percentage of glass on projects by code is an attack in this one man’s view. 
    • Building Enclosure Councils, supported by the AIA, have sprouted up in some of the major metropolitan areas. These are great places to make contact with the architects in your area. I’m sure they’d welcome technical presentations or AIA-type credit lectures, etc. 
    Technical initiatives:  

    • BIM standards for the glass and glazing industry are now being integrated with what the general contractors and architects are already doing. Some of the larger glazing subs are in the process of implementing some of what BIM’s potential can/may bring to the table.   
    • Fenestration Manual is a pretty broad concept, and it may take several more years to generate and coalesce everyone’s efforts before this one makes it to print. But there’s got to be some reference manual for beginners, which there isn’t right now.
    New products: 

    • Tintable glass that changes as the sun changes. Be it a bright sunny day or cloudy, it adjusts without the use of secondary power.
    • Flexible flashings from window to surrounding conditions. 
    • Silicone and foam glass spacers that have the desiccant built right in. 

    And last, but not least: learning French expressions over the Muzak sound system while conducting business in the men’s room. Of all places … but only in Vegas, right?  



    Posted by Blogger @ 1:52 pm

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