glassblog

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's a  very packed blog this week, but before I get to the news portion, I want to remember a great man who passed over the holidays. Lowell Rager, formerly of Libbey-Owens-Ford and best known from his days at Ford and Visteon Glass, passed away at the end of last month. Lowell was absolutely one of the nicest and classiest gentlemen in our industry.  A technical icon, he knew everything and what he did not know he learned with great ferocity. He was, among many other things, the guy behind educating the industry on the turtle code. The code was so bizarre that many could not believe it, but Lowell knew everything there was to know about it and the glass that was needed to save turtles and other marine life. Lowell carried himself with style, always dressed nicely, with a smile and solid handshake.

One of the last times I saw him was a mid-summer day in Detroit, at a jobsite that had the always fun “quench marks” on the glass. Lowell deftly explained and handled the issue better than anyone I have ever known. He did this all while not breaking a sweat—wearing a suit and tie—in the searing Michigan humidity. Cool and in control. No one else could pull that off.  Whenever I would compliment Lowell in my blog or in person, he would tell me I was “much too kind.” Well, I can say he deserved every compliment and then some. The world and our industry is not as good today and in the future without Lowell. Rest in peace, my friend.

Elsewhere…

  • No doubt the fall out from the Trulite-AGC deal dominated the industry last week. The biggest surprise was the immediate closure of some of the acquired facilities. I had totally misread that. Maybe I am naïve or just plain clueless (don't answer that!), but I did not expect facilities to close so fast. I figured some would, just not on day one. Probably the only silver lining is the fact that those who are losing their jobs should be in major demand since qualified employees are very hard to find in our industry. Still sad. And now the watch begins to see how the rest of the industry reacts to markets being consolidated.
  • Also there was a tremendous comment (and my attempt at a reply) posted on my blog on the Glass Magazine site that talked about how the industry has changed. Great take; worth reading and considering.
  • Last week I recapped my 2014 predictions. Now it's time for my five fearless predictions for the glass and glazing industry for 2015.
  1. Instead of one big acquisition in our industry, I am predicting several smaller ones, maybe along the lines of five or six this year. I do think one sale will be a company who no one expected would sell.
  2. The “bird safe” revolution for glass will grow with more and more architects starting to ask for it.
  3. With North America now loaded with more digital printers for glass than ever, 2015 will be the year where their usage in several industry segments takes off.
  4. At least two major companies will return to participate heavily in GlassBuild America this fall. With the show being a premier attraction, some companies who have skipped will realize they can’t miss it again.
  5. The glass shortage will have an effect but the transportation issues will be even worse—items that the industry will have to be very creative and proactive to deal with.
  • Speaking of transportation issues, this is another angle on what we are up against, from the Detroit Free Press on January 4th: 

For example, a nationwide shortage of truck drivers recently forced Ann Arbor Township-based shipping company Con-way Freight to launch its own driver school. The firm provides 12 weeks of training at no cost for prospective drivers, who spend half of that time earning compensation for dock work until they receive their certification.

Con-way expects to train and hire 50 Michigan-based truck drivers in 2015 — all of whom return to their homes at night, unlike long-haul drivers — and about 1,600 nationwide. The company gave a "significant" raise to its current drivers in June and plans to deliver another one in January, said Con-way Freight President Greg Lehmkuhl.

"More than anything else in the next few years, it's a war for qualified and safe drivers," Lehmkuhl said. "The whole industry is raising wages to attract people into the driving profession."

So glass haulers, already short on qualified people, now have to take on nimble companies looking to control the game themselves. Not to mention, fabricators who need to hire or keep drivers face the same pressures. This is a tough one, folks.

  • Last this week, a crazy one. I am pretty much a protectionist when it comes to North America, so what to do when the United States and Canada get in a fight over building material supply? This is a bizarre story involving steel: who makes it and where it goes. Reading it makes me feel like a kid between divorcing parents. Make sure you scan some of the comments, too; some wild takes there. Let’s hope diplomacy, compromise and logic take hold here instead of backbiting.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 is off and running. But before the calendar turned, the deal that I hinted at finally came to life. The purchase of the AGC fabrication locations in the United States by Trulite is a big deal. Whenever you have one large operation buying another there’s going to be disruption in the marketplace. For both organizations, in my opinion, there are positives out of the gate. For AGC, the deal allows them to focus efforts on the company's core competency of float manufacturing and coating. For Trulite, it gives them more critical mass in terms of locations and talent.

As for the industry, it’s another major consolidation to deal with, and the fallout that comes with it. That fallout will possibly/probably include reactions from other companies looking to keep pace, or fill territorial holes. That process surely won’t be a dull one to watch. In the end, deals this size will be judged a year from now when integration is complete and all of the parts and pieces are where Trulite wants them to be. Until then, we’ll be watching the ripples and also keeping mind of a few other deals that are percolating out there. A new year is underway and it's going to be fun.

Elsewhere…

  • In my first blog in 2014, I made predictions for the year. How did I do? Below are the predicitions with my comments in italics:
  1. There will be one major acquisition in the glass fabrication side of the business that will have the industry buzzing. Otherwise, 2014 will be light on the merger/acquisition side. But look out, 2015 will be crazy with them.  

    – It took until the last days of 2014, but I got this one right!!
  2. Both GANA BEC and GlassBuild America will be hugely successful. And yes I have worked or do work with both of these so consider my bias, but I will say both are primed for big years. The BEC 2014 has a very strong agenda, and I have seen the plans for GlassBuild America, and I promise you that you will be impressed and WANT to be there.

    - Count me as 2 for 2. Both events were fantastic and must attends, as they will be this year as well.
  3. A new green rating system will start to take hold. Right now LEED is beyond dominant and will continue to be the major player, but look out for one of the smaller organizations breaking through.

    – Unfortunately despite some good efforts out there, LEED is still the monster; I am not sure anyone will knock them off soon. This also may have been more of a wish than a prediction.
  4. The code battles will continue and I believe an unlikely ally (another industry) will join forces with the glass industry giving us a stronger voice in the proceedings.

    – This actually was somewhat quiet. We had the win early in the year and not much else happened. So count this as a miss.
  5. The use of 4th surface low-E will continue to grow and become a much bigger player in the specification process.

    – I am seeing more of it but not as much as I thought. Give me a ½ right here.

So, final tally: 2 dead on, 2 misses, and 1 almost. Not bad. Next week I will run my predictions for 2015. Stay tuned.

  • Congrats to my friend Donald Press over at Okalux North America as he continues to build a nice team there, with the latest being the addition of Peter Stattler to the team. Peter brings even more talent (on top of everything Donald and his current team posess) to this group. Nice move!
  • Speaking of talented friends, Ted Bleecker fits that description and he’s one to follow on Twitter (@tedbleecker) for insightful and interesting links on energy and solar related matters. Last week, he linked a good one worth sharing here on the top 5 reasons 2015 will be a positive year in the energy world. Good stuff. 
  • Another interesting article I found while enjoying the holidays was this one on the Miami Heat suing the architect of their arena. Some neat insight into construction overruns and egos. 
  • Last this week, my fearless and sure-to-be-wrong choice for the Super Bowl… the Seahawks. Yep, going the easy route of a No. 1 seed. Since I like the Seahawks and their fans so much, I hate to even put them in such a jinxed position. Though on January 5th, 2014, I picked the Seahawks to win last years' game and my stink did not stop them then.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, January 5, 2015

In recent months, companies across the supply chain have expressed increasing concern over capacity constraints facing the global glass industry. Many fear that production capacity, which was slashed during the Great Recession, will be unable to meet the rising demands from a rebounding construction market.

“With the economy recovering, there will be a pinch in supply. It happens; it has happened before,” said an official from one U.S. glass manufacturer in a 2014 interview with Glass Magazine.

That comment piqued my curiosity. When has this ‘pinch in supply’ happened? And what did it look like for the U.S. glass industry?

In a few moments of Googling, I discovered one historical glass shortage from nearly 100 years ago with characteristics roughly echoing our current capacity constraints—though, the cause and extent differed greatly.

In 1920, officials from the National Association of Window Glass Manufacturers declared a shortage of glass, particularly for commercial applications, due to a labor shortage, and due to rising demand following a sharp reduction of manufacturing capacity. Sound familiar?

Glass manufacturing officials said in a July 6, 1920, article from the New York Times, that the industry’s output was cut by 50 percent—in their case, due to World War I, rather than a worldwide recession. Officials described “an almost total suspension of glass making in Western European countries while the allied nations were fighting the Central Powers and a slow recovery from a practically complete paralysis of the glass trade there.”

That glass shortage of 1920 was faced even more acutely in Europe. According to the article, “Practically all of the allied countries are clamoring for glass in their reconstruction programs and production is lagging. Devices are being used in lieu of machinery destroyed [in the war], which were accounted antiquated in the United States twenty or even thirty years ago.”

How did U.S. manufacturers of 100 years ago plan to address the shortage? According to a related report from the July 17, 1920 edition of the Electric Railway Journal, companies focused on improving production technologies, and extended their production hours. “One encouraging factor … is the wonderful progress being made with glass production by machine,” according to the report. Manufacturers also continued operations throughout the summer to “catch up with the volume of unfilled orders.”

Katy Devlin, Editor, Glass Magazine
 
The opinions expressed here and in reader comments are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.
Monday, December 15, 2014

 While most of the headlines in California focused on the much needed rain, many awoke last Monday, Dec. 8, to a different story. Overnight, the DaVinci Apartment Complex in downtown Los Angeles was engulfed in flames – destroying the property and damaging nearby buildings. 

What surprised many people who learned of the fire wasn’t that the building itself was ruined, but rather the damage caused to nearby government buildings due to radiant energy generated by the fire. 

According to the next-day story in the LA Times, “The fire damaged the headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Intense heat from the blaze cracked at least 160 windows—each 10 feet high by 4 feet wide.”

The article continued, “The blaze damaged other nearby buildings, including one that houses city agencies. ‘There are windows blown out all the way up the side of our building,’ said Building and Safety spokesman Luke Zamperini.”

 
The Kensington in Boston features 1-hour fire-resistive curtain wall featuring Safti First’s SuperLite II-XL 60 in an insulating glass unit with Solarban 70XL from PPG. The fire-rated framing is Safti’s GPX CW Framing.  The architect was The Architecture Team (TAT); the building envelope consultant was Curtain wall Design and Consulting (CDC); and Cheviot served as the glazing contractor. 

Fire-rated glass and framing are commonly used in interior applications (exit corridors, stairwells, etc.) to give occupants the opportunity to evacuate the building or seek safe harbor while awaiting rescue.  However, with building construction happening closer together in major cities, we’ve seen an increase in fire rated glazing used in exterior applications because of property line requirements. 

Where fire ratings must be maintained in order to prevent or slow the spread of fire between buildings, architects now use fire rated glass to meet code requirements without sacrificing views or natural light (click here for information on the IBC requirements for exterior fire rated applications).  

Fire-rated glass and framing products that meet code reduce the auxiliary damage created from events similar to the fire at the DaVinci Apartments. Manufacturers have developed products that, when used as a complete fire-rated assembly, compartmentalize smoke, flames and radiant heat in accordance with ASTM E119/NFPA 251/UL263.  

While no injuries were reported from the DaVinci fire, the incident reinforces the necessity of fire-rated glass and framing in such exterior applications. While more traditional interior fire-rated glass products provide safe egress for occupants during a fire, exterior fire-rated glazing assemblies provide valuable protection to occupants in the event of fire at adjacent buildings. And, the assemblies can protect while allowing architects to meet their aesthetic goals. 

Tim Nass is vice president of national sales for Safti First, a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing products. The company works closely with architects and building envelope consultants to ensure owners and occupants get the highest quality products and safest design possible.

Monday, December 15, 2014

With this being my last “scheduled” blog of the year, it’s a great opportunity to look back at 2014 and review our world. The big take away for me is that this is the year the industry came back. While not everyone is swamped, I would say most are experiencing their best performances in a quite a while. That is truly a relief, as I know there were some people riding this storm out wondering if it would ever come to an end. I sincerely believe the positive momentum will continue into 2015.

2014 was the year that most trade shows came roaring back. GlassBuild America was very strong as were several other trade conferences. It was good to see the momentum and numbers returning, as those of us who always supported knew that these were “must attend” events no matter what. Participating in these events will be even more crucial in 2015, because we have a glass and transportation situation on our hands, so knowing the answers that only a show or a conference can provide will be extremely important.

Also, there are a couple of other highlights from this year I want to quickly touch on. We had the always-incredible Dr. Tom Culp leading the industry to a victory in the code arena. And our industry got a major boost with Nicole Harris taking the reins at the National Glass Association; her effect will surely be felt in 2015 and beyond. It's with people like that on our side that truly keeps me optimistic.

As for the year itself, I think the most surprising story, and most under reported, is pretty recent: the crazy drop in oil prices, sending gasoline prices in the United States to levels that I don’t believe anyone ever thought would happen again. While I am stunned seeing gas prices in the mid- to low-$2.00 range in some places, I can’t help but think this is temporary. But, regardless, that is a pretty major hole busted in the oil bubble that looked impenetrable forever.

Overall, I am feeling bullish about 2015. Yes there’s the glass and transport issues I have been nagging everyone on, but I think the smart end of this industry will make it work, and in the end I see things going well in the next year. Bring it on!

Elsewhere…

  • Congrats to my old friend Kirk Johnson who has taken on a new role as vice president of business development at Glasswerks. He will do a great job with them without a doubt.
  • Pretty interesting in depth story on the energy efficiency adventures at the Freedom Tower. It was supposed to be the “greenest” building in the United States. It's not happening... Nothing to do with the glass, but actually the fuel cells and the effect from Super Storm Sandy. Great inside story to read.
  • My ad of the month in Glass Magazine goes to the gang from Safti First. I absolutely loved the two-page holiday spread and seeing the faces to go with all of the names. And fun for me to see some faces I had not seen in years. Good to see old friends Tom Olson and Joe Marini in there, among others. This was an excellent layout and execution--overall really well done.
  • OK, so that’s all for me for 2014. So, please allow me to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a healthy and profitable new year! Thank you for allowing me into your world each and every week; I truly appreciate it! See you in 2015!

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last week I read an article featured in Architectural Record entitled "Is the Shopping Mall Dying or Just Evolving?" by Margaret Rock for the Deseret News. According to the article, not a single new, fully enclosed mall has opened in the United States since 2006. And from 2006 until 2013, e-commerce doubled.

Even before finding my way into construction industry reporting, I knew the heyday of the traditional shopping mall died soon after permed hair and penny loafers. But now, what's more distressing than seeing closed brick-and-mortars mar the landscape with weedy parking lots and "No Trespassing" signs is knowing that the fewer newly built stores there are, the fewer the jobs for the construction industry.

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales were tallied, the National Retail Federation forecast 2014 holiday sales to increase a healthy 4.1 percent, higher than last year's actual 3.1 percent seasonal increase. And while that's good for retailers and the economy, "the suburban mall of yesteryear is fading into digital consumerism, impacting more than just the way we shop," Rock says. These impacts include tax revenue decline and loss of jobs, for example.

We already know the bad news about malls. I remember watching it happen. Stores like Montgomery Ward and Circuit City shuttered shops across the country. Then toy stores and book stores. After some time, it seemed malls were used more as indoor walking tracks than for retail therapy. But what interested me about the article, and others as I did more research, was the idea of repurposing.

"By creating higher density and more diverse spaces that are easily accessible, provide a natural/outdoorsy element and are pedestrian-friendly, communities are developing dead and dying malls," says Rock, of the efforts to repurpose these spaces.

It seems that malls aren't the only segment going down the repurposing path. Downtown districts have been seeing an influx of young professionals, part of an urban revival in America. But, like malls, a revival in a changed consumer landscape means what's working now looks nothing like the glory days, according to Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com.

What’s emerging in cities is a very different conceptualization of downtown, as a residential hub. Massive construction of new offices may not be happening, but the conversion of offices to residential buildings is. Kotkin points to repurposing in downtown Chicago, where developers are adapting older office towers, malls, as well as hotels for apartments.

And improving malls as a potential community asset, that revives tax collection and increases construction jobs, involves attracting mixed uses like residential, medical, warehouse and office space, or creating an environmentally friendly use. Many of the transformation plans for malls across the country include mixed-use plans that aim to integrate the best of e-commerce, traditional retail and a sense of community.

Both my nostalgic and practical sides like this concept. Is revitalization really in the cards for brick-and-mortar, and can the glass industry help itself by getting on board? I'll let you know when I start seeing glass installs at the old Waldenbooks in my neighborhood.

Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at bstough@glass.org

Monday, December 8, 2014

Last week, I noted the handful of people who were considered for the 2014 Industry MVP award, but did not come away with the title. The time has now come to recognize the winner, and like some other mainstream publications have done in the past, I went a little non-traditional with the choice this year. Instead of picking a person, I picked a company. I looked at everything this company did this past year—its continued support of the industry and its growth—and it was a slam-dunk. Because it’s a company known for its team effort, I couldn’t just pick one person out. So I decided to recognize the whole lot (though I will mention one individual below).  

The 2014 winner of the “From the Fabricator Industry MVP” is ... C.R. Laurence Co.. From an industry standpoint, CRL is always there at every show and event, always supporting, even though, in many cases, they probably don’t have to. But I believe, and have been told, they do it because it’s the right thing to do for the industry. I sincerely hope it continues. From a product standpoint, CRL released more excellent innovations this year including a unitized curtain wall and window system unveiled at AIA that has game-changing potential. Plus, their software releases are huge as well. And yes, when it comes to people, CRL delivers there, too. So many make a difference, case in point a guy like Brad Thurman, who is as impressive as they come. I've seen Brad in action and he represents his company and this industry with absolute class. And he’s just one of many there that do a great job, led by excellent ownership and management. So, there you have it, a little different than the typical, but in my opinion, a company that deserves the props.

Elsewhere…

  • The new Glass Magazine is fantastic and one column is a must read. Please check out Katy Devlin’s piece on the transportation issues facing our industry. It is worth your time.
  • I know I am harping on the transportation issue and on the glass capacity issue (and I am told other writers are taking the opposite of my insight on a few of these items). But I continue to talk with people every day—people who are in the trenches—and these issues are real. I guess you can choose which magazine or writer to believe, but when it comes to the best interests of this industry, I feel like I have your backs. And, what’s the worst thing that can happen...you get ultra organized?
  • Well just one more blog scheduled for 2014. Will the big deal I have been talking about for the last few weeks happen? Things got very quiet last week. Maybe it’s the calm before the storm, or maybe we have a “runaway bride” and the deal was iced. We shall see. If/when the deal does happen, I’ll blog about it.
  • Last week, I attended a semi-interesting webinar on green building. For the most part the confidence of continued green building growth is still very strong. A few tidbits I found interesting: China’s 3 Star energy program passed LEED to become the second most popular energy related standard in the world. (EnergyStar in the United States is No. 1); plus, did you know that Singapore offers a rebate for retrofitting buildings to become energy efficient? (an incentive here surely would be nice); finally, the analysts on the webinar felt that the move to green growth was now more about financial advantages than environmental.
  • Last this week, for the first time in my life I hurt my back. And I can tell you I have no idea how those of you with chronic back problems do it. You all are my heroes. My goodness this is brutal, and I hope temporary, as I have little to no pain tolerance…


Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It’s time for our annual look at who the most valuable player is in the glass and glazing industry for 2014. There are quite a few great candidates but there is only one winner. I have selected the winner and that announcement comes next week, but I did want to run through the other candidates in contention. I do this mostly because I believe in shining the spotlight on those extremely deserving people. So here goes, the runners up for the “2014 From the Fabricator Glass and Glazing MVP.”

  • John Wheaton, Wheaton and Sprague: Whether you do work with him, follow him on Twitter or hear him speak, you've surely noticed John's incredible passion and care. He shows great interest in the industry and its future. This is a guy who is always promoting awesome projects and work in the field, even if he didn’t have anything to do with it--unselfish and classy to the core.
  • Rick Wright, Oldcastle BE: Similar to John Wheaton, Rick shows passion for the industry. He can sometimes be on the other side of popular opinion on issues, but always has a reason and solid logic. Rick cares for how we (the industry) are presented in public and is extremely active in the trade organization world.
  • Tom O’Malley: Tom’s on this list because he went out on his own this year, seemingly 10 minutes after the recession lifted, and built a business, Clover Architectural Products. So basically this is a guy who could’ve done anything, anywhere, yet stuck his neck out big time. Folks, that’s serious confidence in our industry (and himself). Plus he’s always on the edge of innovation and bringing new and positive items to our world.
  • Bernard Lax, Pulp Studio: When I think of Bernard, I think of this famous quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Basically while Bernard is not front and center at trade meetings, when he does express his thoughts they carry a ton of weight. He is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to health of the industry and the safety of our stakeholders. I probably get to talk to him once or twice a year, but those conversations always have meaning and value. Plus he has an insanely creative mind, which is also a plus.

Now of course there are many others that would be up for this that I have noted in previous editions and awards like Julie Schimmelpennigh, Valerie Block, Chris Dolan, Kris Vockler and so on, but I wanted this list to be of people I had not nominated and noted in depth before. The winner comes next week!

Elsewhere…

  • For those of you who only read my blog when it's reposted on GlassMagazine.com and published in e-glass weekly, I did post last week on my original site, so if you want more insight on the latest deal talks, green stats and some cool links, please check it out.
  • So which states had the biggest year-over-year gains (October) in construction employment? The winner may surprise you as it did me. The top 5…

5. Utah
4. Illinois
3. California
2. Texas
1. Florida

Yes, the Sunshine State led the way and I do find that surprising for sure. Could be a signal that the slow-to-recover market there is starting to perk up.

  • Last this week, it's December which will seemingly go very quickly, and while that’s good from a personal standpoint, from a business view these last two months are tough ones. After the 18 work day November, the holiday season may not have as much cheer with such little time to get work done!

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, December 1, 2014

For the fifth consecutive year, Glass Magazine will present the Top Glass Fabricators in its January/February 2015 issue. The Top Glass Fabricators Special Report offers a comprehensive view of the glass fabrication market in the United States and Canada. In addition to the list of Top Glass Fabricators—based on annual sales volume—the report includes market statistics related to sales volume, product demand and acquisition plans.

For the very first time, the 2015 report will also include a handful of projects featuring the Feats of Fabrication that made them possible.

Glass fabricators include those companies that have stand-alone fabrication plants in the United States or Canada that service our industry. The list does not include float glass manufacturers that also have fabrication capabilities at their locations. It also does not cover fabricators of strictly specialty glass, such as fire-rated.

We want to feature the glass industry's achievements. In order for us to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, we rely on direct submissions from the glass fabrication industry. If your company should be included in the Top Glass Fabricators report, please complete the Top Glass Fabricators survey by Friday, Dec. 5. And feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or comments.

Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at bstough@glass.org.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A few months back, I came across a list of seven architectural blunders that covered design missteps from the “worrying to the downright absurd.” Shortly after, I saw an infographic titled “Failure by Design.” Reading two pieces that highlighted wayward designs so close together got me thinking: Shouldn’t we focus on learning from past mistakes and designing better buildings, instead of fixating on the errors themselves?

From a glass and framing perspective, experience has taught me the answer is yes. History has helped inform and instruct us to better use glass in building design, from the type of products the industry now offers to how we install them.

Consider how much we’ve learned from increasing the amount of glazing in the building envelope. Buildings with poor thermal performance led to low-emissivity glass, which evolved into spectrally selective low-E glass. Now, hyper-insulating, electrochromic and thermochromic glazing options are entering the field to further improve the energy-efficiency of buildings. Design professionals using these advanced products can better optimize curtain walls and façades.

Glass-enclosed buildings have also brought entirely new problems to light, such as how to prevent bird strikes and effectively communicate user control for operable windows. Without buildings that called into question these limitations, designs would not be able account for performance or occupant comfort in the way they do today.

On the code side, consider the progression of fire-rated glazing products. To meet supporting design goals, it’s become increasingly common to see the hardworking material supplement daylighting, match non-fire-rated glazing systems, provide building compartmentation and act as a focal point—all in one application. As a result of the products’ multifunctionality, the glazing industry has been able to make architects’ and general contractors’ jobs easier.

For each of the advancements above, one or two buildings served as a catalyst for change. While it’s easy to dissect the criticism they’ve received, what’s more important is that all building and design sectors, including glass and framing, have greatly benefited from the chance to evaluate what we can do better.

So, as 2015 fast approaches, let’s use history to move us closer to better glass and framing solutions. Time and experience are excellent teachers. They generate a natural increase in sophistication in buildings over time that ultimately shape the future of glazing. What have they taught you about glass and framing?

Jeff Razwick is the president of Technical Glass Products (TGP), a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. He writes frequently about the design and specification of glazing for institutional and commercial buildings, and (past) chairs the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fire-Rated Glazing Council (FRGC). Contact him at 800/426-0279.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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