After two and a half days of extensive networking and industry discussion, the Glass Association of North America’s Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) conference came to a close Tuesday.

Courtney Little of ACE Glass gives BEC attendees an update Tuesday on legal issues surround the fenestration industry.
Courtney Little of ACE Glass gives BEC attendees an update Tuesday on legal issues surround the fenestration industry.

On the final day, Courtney Little of ACE Glass gave an update on legal matters involved with fenestration. He encouraged attendees to join in industry groups’ and legislators’ continued efforts to influence laws that affect them.

“Participate. Get involved,” he said. “Because whether or not you’re at the table, our businesses are at stake.”

One particular issue Little said isn’t going away is condominium litigation as a result of construction defects. He explained that when apartments are sometimes converted into condos, an attorney will get the new property owners association to gather and sue for issues such as leaks.

“We’re a natural defendant because of the percentage of envelope covered,” he said.

Little said the problems often start because the job is specified wrong to begin with, and that many leaks show up in the windows down the road, even though they don’t originate there.

“We need to educate owners and architects, teaching them specifically how our products work,” he said, adding that it’s important to “identify roles and responsibilities” early in the process.

Other ways Little said companies can avoid getting stuck in a condo defect suit is to be selective about the parties with which they work, consider an outside consultant to verify installation and monitor and document storage and damage by others.

Tyler Goss of the building industry consultant firm Case concluded the conference with a presentation on Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Goss stressed that the contract glazier involvement is a crucial piece to the BIM puzzle, and he said he’s been surprised to learn just how “critically collaborative” the glazing industry is, “from the float guys all the way through.”

According to Goss, constraints in the building industry that drive the need for BIM include a “unique work product built in unpredictable conditions, combative procurement practices, document-centric communication, declining real wages and information asymmetry.”

Simply put, “better information leads to better, faster decisions,” Goss said. “… Data is still largely an untapped resource. Companies that leverage their data effectively are the future of the building industry.”

Next year’s conference is slated for February 21-23 at Caesar’s Palace.

Stay tuned to throughout the week for continued coverage on the conference.