In 2023, there was no shortage of news throughout the glass, glazing and architectural metal world. Within that news, there were signs of change, be it the push to innovate how glass interacts with the built environment or companies enhancing efficiency via technology. Throughout it all, USGlass magazine strived to keep its pulse on the industry, delivering the top news, good or bad.

To reflect on how 2023 unfolded, USGlass looks back at some of our biggest stories of the year.

Should SB 556 pass, all Florida residential and mixed-use condominium administrations must adopt hurricane protection specifications for each building operated by the association. Photo by Blake Connally.

10). Bill Would Change Hurricane Requirements for Florida Condos (March 20)

A bill introduced to the Florida Senate would revise the requirements for installing and maintaining hurricane protection material, including hurricane shutters, impact glass and code-compliant windows or doors, in residential and mixed-use condominiums. The Hurricane Protection for Condominium Associations, SB 556, would require declarations for condominiums to specify whether the unit owner of the association is responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing or replacing hurricane protection materials.

9). Congress Unveils Ambitious $130 Billion Plan to Transform US School Infrastructure (December 5)

New legislation could mean better windows for many U.S. schools. The Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2023 (RASA) would invest more than $130 billion to upgrade schools’ digital and physical infrastructure, including windows, doors and skylights.  It was introduced by Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.) and Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.). The bill would allocate $100 billion in formula funds to states for local competitive grants for school repair, renovation and construction.

8). Tips to Prepare for Possible Overtime Changes (September 12)

A proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) seeks to raise the current salary threshold for overtime exemptions from $35,568 to $55,068 annually. Should the change be enacted, the move will mark a 55% increase in the annual earnings threshold, extending guaranteed overtime pay to around 3.6 million salaried workers, including those in the commercial glass, glazing and metal industries. As a result, all employees earning less than $1,059 per week would be entitled to overtime pay, regardless of job title and duties.

7). Investor Claims Shady Deals Underfoot During $5.2 Billion Arconic Sale (July 20)

A shareholder of Arconic Corp. filed a lawsuit against the Pittsburgh-based provider of aluminum sheet, plate and extrusions, alleging that it undervalued its share price and misled investors during Apollo Global Management’s $5.2 billion takeover in May 2023. The shareholder, Robert Garfield, claims in the suit filed in Pennsylvania state court on June 23, 2023, that the deal only paid $30 per share, which is “inadequate.”

6). Kawneer’s Parent Company Goes Private in $5.2 Billion Deal (May 8)

Arconic Corp., the parent company of Kawneer, a supplier of aluminum doors, windows and entrances, was acquired by affiliates of Apollo Global Management. The acquisition is reported to be approximately $5.2 billion and includes a minority investment from funds managed by affiliates of Irenic Capital Management. The news followed several years of activity for Arconic regarding possible acquisitions.

Vitro will increase its investment to approximately $180 million to upgrade one of its furnaces at the Meadville, Pa., plant, as well as adapt additional existing facilities to meet First Solar’s manufacturing needs in the U.S.

5). Vitro Enters Agreement with First Solar to Manufacture Glass for Solar Panels (April 26)

Vitro Architectural Glass has agreed to manufacture glass for First Solar’s advanced thin-film photovoltaic solar panels. First Solar is a solar technology company and global provider of eco-efficient solar modules. To support the move, Vitro will invest $93.6 million to rebuild and modernize a production line at its Meadville plant in Cochranton, Pa.

4). Connecticut Glass Fabricator Naverra Ends Operations (December 14)

Naverra Glass has shuttered its operations after just one year in business. Connecticut business records show that Jeremy Ozen, the former manager of the Norwich-based glass fabricator, filed a certificate of dissolution in August 2023. Naverra started operations in August 2022, focusing on fabricating insulating, laminated and spandrel glass, among others.

3). Strategic Materials Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (December 7)

A major recycler of windows and heavy laminated glass has filed for bankruptcy. Strategic Materials Inc. (SMI), North America’s largest glass recycler, filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. SMI claimed around $432 million in debt liabilities. According to court filings, SMI’s $432 million in funded debt consists of $406 million in outstanding principal and letters of credit and $26 million in accrued and unpaid interest,

2). Updates to Davis-Bacon Means Big Changes for Construction, Subcontractor Workers (August 17)

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized an update to the Davis-Bacon Act, which aims to raise wages for construction and subcontractor workers, including glaziers, employed on federally-funded construction projects. The updates to Davis-Bacon change how prevailing wages for federally-funded construction projects are calculated. The updates are the first in decades for Davis-Bacon, which creates a minimum wage that contractors must pay hourly field employees for work performed on federal projects funded in whole or part by the federal government.

The glass-bottomed-bridge at the Geong tourist site within the Limpakuwus Pine Forest, (not pictured) located in the Banyumas Regency of Central Java, shattered around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, sending two people plummeting to the ground 32-feet below.

1). Tragedy Strikes as Glass-Bottom Bridge Shatters in Indonesia (October 30)

The glass flooring of a bridge in Indonesia shattered in October, killing one tourist and injuring three others. The glass-bottomed-bridge at the Geong tourist site within the Limpakuwus Pine Forest, located in the Banyumas Regency of Central Java, shattered around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023, sending two people plummeting to the ground 32-feet below. Two other tourists clung to the damaged bridge before onlookers rescued them.

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