As summer comes to a close, some random thoughts about what’s going on out there…
1– The GANA Fall Conference now is a mere six weeks off. If there are any technical subjects you think the BEC Tech Committee needs to start looking at, please let me know. We’re going to talk about glazing certification and about porcelain panels in glazing applications.
For that matter, if there are other subjects you think other parts of GANA ought to look at, please drop me a line or give me a buzz. There are a couple of on-going items in other GANA Divisions I’m interested in tracking, most notably the discussion about ceramic frit and glass strength (being tracked by the Insulating and Tempering GANA divisions), and of course, the handrail glass discussion, most notably how the glass should stay in place after it breaks, much like in a hurricane glazing application, to prevent fall-through.
2– Employer/employee rules are changing at the federal level, not only whether an “independent contractor” is really an employee, but also the rules about who is or is not an exempt and non-exempt employee, and whether or not they’re entitled to overtime pay. For the latter, methinks some of this is being handed down by the government looking to increase its income – if an employee works more than 40 hours a week and qualifies for overtime compensation, Uncle Sam’s cut increases.
Better minds than mine can explain the intricacies of these regulations, but it occurs to me that any employer better have these matters down cold when classifying its workers. As most of glazing subs are smaller organizations, I’m curious how you manage to stay on top of this when an organization’s size doesn’t support a full time HR department, which is where larger companies can put the responsibility for staying current on such issues. Or, are employee work rules just one of the many variables small-shop owners/managers have to juggle to run a successful business? Do you hire a third party, much like you hire an accounting firm to help with the financial side of the biz, who can consult regarding HR issues?
3– Ads for 3D printers from the big box retailers and specialty computer shops are out there, bringing that technology to the local level. I’m telling my kids now to pool their resources, as I’d like to get one for Christmas. While 3D printing is becoming the “next big thing,” one question is whether it will take over construction one day.
We might be one step closer in the glazing biz given what MIT researchers have accomplished with a ribbon of glass. Small steps now, and the MIT application might be better suited for decorative glass applications. But, is it too much of a leap to envision a robot putting up a continuous glass band say 2- to 3-feet wide for the full height of a building for 3-4 stories? Up to X-feet wide by 2030, or sooner? Perhaps the lessons learned in these early phases will move to more broadly based applications, including windows and curtainwalls.
4– Lastly, Deb Levy commented in one of her recent blogs about seeing The Pieta by Michelangelo through a silicone butt-joint glass display. I, too, saw the Pieta at the ’64 NY World’s Fair, which has stuck with me all these years. A year after, my parents had me watch the Charlton Heston/Rex Harrison movie “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” about Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. When I later learned that he was also an architect (the Dome at St. Peter’s is his design), I was hooked on all things Michelangelo.
So Deb, here’s my two cents/recommendations for fixing the problem: With the large lite capabilities that are out there now (remember the 45-foot-wide by 10-foot-high piece of laminated glass (two half-inch-thick pieces of glass) that was displayed at AIA a couple years back? I got a dollar that says those large lite manufacturers would chomp at the bit to be able to furnish the glass. Finding a glazing crew to make the change might be a trick. I’ll volunteer to be PM if you find a funding source. I’ll work gratis, but someone has to pay the travel bills an endeavor such as this will certainly entail.
But in the meantime, may I suggest you work any ties to European glazing outfits that you might have who might be willing to take that on?
The logistics of getting a single piece of glass into that space might be problematic. But, like the Liberty Bell being moved out of Independence Hall in Philly, due to the wear and tear and resultant damage it was doing to the hall, it might be time to create a dedicated building or room where the Pieta can be displayed – one that can then be designed to the demands of protecting the work behind a single piece of glass while still facilitating its public display.
Please ask that they use non-reflective, low-iron clear glass. Keep the glass as flat as possible, not tempered or heat strengthened. If there’s any outfits out there that can make it flatter than standard float glass, that would be a plus for minimizing distortion. But, lami’s going to be a must (for security reasons). Any design has to make the glass all but disappear. Those minimal qualifications will have my vote.
Enjoy the holiday weekend. Anybody know where the summer went?