Steve Thomas of Guardian Glass addresses attendees in Las Vegas this morning.

The first iteration of the newly constituted NGA-GANA Fall Conference, began today as a precursor to GlassBuild America which opens in Las Vegas tomorrow. Approximately 100 attended the first day of the conference, which continues with early morning sessions the next few days.

The first presentation, “Prevention of Glazing Surprises” was given by Steven Thomas of Guardian Glass and it was quickly apparent that the “surprises” mentioned in the title were not always positive ones. In an exhausted and taut presentation, Thomas provided a detailed overview of all the factors divided into five major categories:


-Energy Considerations



-Specialized Functions

The exhaustive list Thomas provided included everything from weather condensation issues to energy performance (both center of glass and whole unit) and the need to manage thermal stress, glass to metal stress and other stresses.
Of course, no presentation about stress and glass surprises would be complete without a discussion of nickel sulfide stones and tempered glass breakage.
“The only way to truly know if glass broke because of this is to take it to the lab and test,” he said, “otherwise it’s just a theory.”

Thomas also offered suggestions as to when heat-strengthened glass can be used instead, thus reducing the element of “surprise.”

Thomas included a discussion of building envelope commissioning and glass by offering a very succinct definition of such. “It’s the testing that must performed to show that the glass will perform according to design.”

The thorough presentation also included the reminder that replacement considerations are important as new construction and as that there should be plans for attic stock as well.

He also spotlighted safety glazing. “Safety glazing is designed to reduce injury to person who contacts glass–not others,” he said, “and it is crucial that we understand that.” He introduced some in the audience to the concept of “shard retention” as being crucial to all human safety.

Also interesting was the four categories that Thomas included as specialized functions of glass. He focused on acoustical, impact-resistant, bird-friendly glass and furnishing protectant.
Of the four, bird-friendly glass is the most challenging to test. “You can only do the testing on migratory birds and they have to be set up to protect the birds (using a net). I can take months, or even years to get that approved,” he said.

Thomas ended his speech with a plea to keep codes concise and understandable. “As the function of the codes keep getting larger,” he said, “and our part becomes a smaller, though just as important portion. It’s important to keep the codes concise and understandable.”