• The BEC and GANA conferences are fast approaching (2/21 – 2/23 and 3/1 – 3/5, respectively). Two issues affecting glazing subcontractors are going to be discussed at length during the BEC Technical Committee Sunday afternoon. If you’re a glazing subcontractor and there’s any way you can be in Vegas early enough to attend, we’d love to have your input. The issues: converting the Blue Print Reading Estimating Course to an online offering, and how to implement what is now being referred to as a “Glazing Education Program” focusing on training new people coming into the glazing business.

    First, the Blueprint Reading and Estimating Course (which is getting a name change to Glass and Glazing Estimating Essentials) has been updated, and during reviews it was suggested that the manual be upgraded to an online learning tool instead of today’s hard-copy course. Doing it more interactively over the web makes perfect sense. Instantaneous grading on questions at the end of lessons is much more efficient than the current, “complete and submit the answer sheet before you get a grade” method. It seems like it’s a no-brainer to make these changes.

    But like all good upgrades, it comes with a cost (a quite substantial one), which is not currently budgeted within GANA. That’s what BEC has to discuss before presenting GANA with the proposal to go ahead with the modification or not. Any comments from people who have used the manual and would like to weigh in on that, please send me your thoughts.

    The other issue that’s coming more into focus is certification for glaziers, either as a company or individual basis. For companies, the “North American Contractor Certification Program for Architectural Glass and Metal Contractors (NACC) has been created with input and guidance from glazing and construction industry experts. It is intended to provide certification recognition as a means of creating a baseline for competency, business practices, and adherence to industry-accepted guidelines for glazing contractors participating in the program.”

    NACC also does certification for WDMA and IGMA member manufacturers, and some others. They’re looking at the glazing industry to establish baselines for financial stability, safety practices, reputation for quality, contract compliance and others.

    On a personal level, AAMA has recently established a “FenestrationMasters™” program, which “offers professional certification and education that covers the full breadth of the fenestration industry, including performance standards, products and materials, test methods and code requirements.” The online program is intended for the framing side of the fenestration industry, looking at codes, metal finishes, etc.

    And, GANA is endeavoring to establish an education program of its own for the glazing in windows and curtain walls. The plan is to include a review of existing GANA materials, such as the Glazing, Sealant, and Project Manager Manuals, and to include current GIBs and tribal knowledge – essentially, a way to disseminate information to the industry’s newcomers.  It’s conceivable the Glazing Estimating Essentials will be part of that program, as well.  The exact curriculum and course materials have yet to be established, so now’s a perfect time to add your thoughts regarding the course’s form and topics.

    If there’s a need within your company for these types of programs, we need to hear from you. Getting new people into the industry is always going to be one of many challenges any organization faces. How those people are trained, and how these GANA programs can make that a bit easier, we would like to hear from the end users if such undertakings are worth the effort. Please make your thoughts known. It is your industry; it’s how we all have chosen to make a living, but it’s also a chance to have an influence on how the industry heads into the future.

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  • There’s always so much to learn at GANA conferences. If you missed the Fall Conference, or didn’t make it to all the sessions you wanted to, here’s a recap of highlights to supplement my last two posts. Of course, for specific coverage, GANA’s website offers members the opportunity to access the meeting minutes from each of the divisions.

    In the Insulating Division, Jon Kimberlain reported about cold forming insulating glass units, and what possible stress the glass and/or the glass edge seal would be under if the glass were, for lack of a better term, warped when placed in the frame. They looked at a full size glass lite first in a computer-generated model called finite structural analysis, seeing if there were any flaws when loaded to 100 psf when bending the glass in 2-inch increments. They then physically tested a specimen to validate the finite model analysis. They took the physical testing to 8-inch deflection of one corner of the insulated glass without showing any stress in the edge seal under accelerated weather seal testing.

    GANA’s going to join up with Insulated Glass Manufacturers Association (IGMA) to work on any changes to glazing insulating glass units that are only supported on two edges. Presently, most of the fabricators require all four edges to be supported by framing. We’re seeing instances where architects and consultants are allowing construction without framing on two edges. This has implications for how that glass is supported for dead load (and where the setting blocks are located) when the architect wants the glass supported only on the vertical edges. The GANA Annual Meeting next spring will be in conjunction with IGMA, so there should be more developments to report on at that time.

    PIB (polyisobutylene) sealant migration is on-going issue. There was no consensus yet about the cause.  Is it a chemical failure of the primary seal of the spacer? Or, if it’s a squeeze-out issue, is the tried-and-true rule of 4-10 psi edge pressure to affect gasket sealing in captured glazing up for discussion, possibly fine tuning it if the pressure put on the edge of the glass is found to be the cause?

    The reflected energy issues, most notably those concerning building materials in close proximity to coated glass (think North Carolina’s recent restrictions on the use of Low-E glass) will lead to a GIB to address those issues.

    The Tempering Division continues to discuss how to measure wave distortion. Using the dioptric measuring system (it’s what ophthalmologists use to write prescriptions for glasses) may be a more accurate form of measurement than the one presently used. The amount of distortion that’s acceptable depends on the distance and angle of incidence – varying those factors changes the perceived distortion. Software now can filter or indicate the amount of distortion that might be visible, but the settings can lead to misleading projections of the predictable distortion. If one sets the limits too low, you might see a lot of distortion, or conversely, if they’re set too high, no distortion might be indicated. Working with the fabricators for predicting distortion is still a wise strategy.

    Ceramic frit weakening glass for wind load is still out there as an ongoing open issue.  But, no consensus is forming whether this is something the industry is taking a serious look at or not. Megan Headley at USGlass Magazine is looking for input if you have examples of where this has occurred on projects. As would the folks at ASTM E1300 subcommittees that are looking into this.

    The certification of the industry is still in its infancy, but seems to be gaining some traction.  Two strategies appear to be forming.  First, the NACC folks seem to be approaching certification of companies, which takes the tack of looking into their performance practices, safety record, financial stability, quality control processes, administration (contract compliance, communication, etc.).  The other approach is to certify individuals through vehicles such as AAMA’s “Fenestration Masters” program.  GANA is considering joining with that program to add a glass component, adding GANA manuals (Glass, Sealant, PM, and Estimating Manuals) to the core curriculum.

    Laminam, a fabricator of porcelain panels made a presentation of their materials. They’ve glazed large panels (63-by-126 inches) into structural silicone and captured glazing, with geometric or natural material patterns impregnated into the surface, creating a product with a 35-year warranty on color fade. It’s a thinner alternative to stone, which might have some merit.

    Apologies for not wrapping up the report for GANA Fall Conference last week. There was this little parade in Downtown K.C. with 800,000 other Royals fans. My luck has never been to be in town when the local team won a championship trophy, but that’s another story for another time. So, I wasn’t going to miss this one. Even better was me making off with some of Paul Bieber’s money. I haven’t heard from Lyle Hill yet if he wants the same bet for next year after he predicted his Cubbies would be there. Lyle?

    Finally, thanks to the folks at the Washington Glass Association for allowing a review of Fall Conference at their meeting last month. Good crowd, nice reception. Just one comment:  Rick Wakefield should work on his introductions a bit. The liberties he took…I’ll let him explain, but no permanent harm came from it; all in good fun. It was great having a chance to review the conference with those who use the manuals, GIBs and standards GANA’s various divisions develop. Lots of good feedback; thanks WGA!

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  • At the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fall Conference last week, Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning, BEC division chair, referenced the ESPN “30 for 30” series, in which they take an in-depth look at the background of sporting events. The tag line for these documentaries is “what if.”

    In that spirit, “What if you knew how much GANA does to support our industry every day, would that change your perspective on the organization?” I’ve been a big fan of GANA’s for a long time. Last week only reinforced that. Again.

    It’s going to take several blogs to deal with the high points covered. I’m looking at my notes (nine pages over roughly two days), and some of this is going to take several weeks just to cover one division. So here goes with Part 1, dealing with the laminating division.

    Prior to taking the tour through the Intertek laboratory, Valerie Block with Kuraray Interlayer Solutions gave an update on the tornado-related code changes that are in the offing. They’re much the same as what we’re used to in the hurricane arena: small-, large-missile testing, but with two notable exceptions:  the loads are greater, and there’s no need for cycling.

    Wind loads in a tornado are 14 times greater than they are in a Level D hurricane design, so while the hurricane large missile test (ASTM E1886) calls for a nine-pound, 2-by-4 shot out a cannon at 35 miles-per-hour, tornado testing calls for a 15-pound 2-by-4 at 100 miles-per-hour. Essential buildings (e.g., schools, hospitals, tornado shelters, police and fire stations) are the intended targets for cladding upgrades, not just glass, but also brick, stone, precast, etc. The cycling durations we are used to in the window/hurricane testing are eliminated, as tornado events are too short to justify cycling. But, the glass must remain in the opening and not allow penetration of the missile through the glass. More to come on this front as the codes take shape.

    The laminated glass, interlayer manufacturers and fabricators are working on several fronts in response to inquiries from the architects for laminated glass that can:

    • respond to energy and sound;
    • be available in larger lites with minimal support;
    • offer ultra-clear glass in lami constructions;
    • enable cold, warm, and hot bending; and
    • protect birds.

    Further, the industry is looking at how thick laminated glass can be, if there’s differences between annealed, heat-strengthened or tempered laminated glass, and incorporating the above functionality into a single glass lite. I discussed multi-purpose glass in a previous post.

    ASTM E1300 relating to the strength of glass for wind load is a little weak when it comes to both minimally supported (think spider or patch fittings) and thick constructions. A standard for glass walkways is also being developed, since many of these incorporate laminated glass.

    Edge quality is an issue. We talked previously about how to get laminated glass edges aligned, and it’s not clear if there’s going to be a standard about this, or if the individual lami fabricators are going to have to address it. There was some discussion about post-lamination glass edge fabrication, but interlayer folks are looking into what the fluids used for creating the edging on the glass will do to the interlayer. Long term exposure to these fluids (such as alcohol, water, etc.) is one concern that was expressed. Obviously, any heat treating of the glass prior to lamination eliminates the ability to do post-lamination edging, so that leaves post-lami edging to annealed, but annealed may not be acceptable for guardrail or handrail applications. This issue has to settle down, too; for now it’s not clear where the movement in the marketplace will take this.

    On something of a more serious note: Codes and standards can only address “current knowledge.” As we saw last year at BEC in James O’Callahan’s presentation, there are folks pushing the envelope on what glass can do. We get asked the same sort of thing of our framing products at TGP, I’m sure everyone does, such as, “how big of a lite of glass can you support?”

    Any and all of the standards groups—GANA, AAMA, ASTM, etc.—have a tough time staying ahead of the curve. The architects and designers keep asking more and more of all the materials associated with glazing, not just glass. Smaller frame members, less edge or smaller point supports of glass, can we up the design strength of structural sealants, etc.

    So while GANA is accomplishing a lot to support the glass industry, please make sure the manufacturers who call on your company know where you see the market going, and what new and different things you’re being asked to do. BEC is the only part of GANA with direct ties to the glazing subcontractors who in the end put all of our industry’s products (glass, framing, sealants, gaskets) into service on every project.

    We have to know where we can help you. It may require a more active role in helping us head in the right direction. So, with a final nod to ESPN, “What if you were to ask not what GANA can do for you, but what can you do to support GANA’s efforts to develop these codes and standards?”

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USGlass Magazine

USGlass Magazine