glassblog

Monday, August 3, 2015

Some mainstream media say architecture is in a crisis. They claim today’s buildings are irrelevant, boring and maybe even “too architectural.” Frank Gehry says architecture is in a crisis, famously stating that with today’s buildings, “There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else.” So, is architecture, and the glass in it, really in a crisis?

I share architect Marc Kushner’s opinion that architecture is not in a crisis, but rather in an age of experimentalism. “This is an architecture that — because of the public’s hunger for newness — is finally free to create thoughtful and sometimes radical solutions for the problems that our society faces,” says Kushner.

As Kushner, the co-founder of HWKN and CEO of Architizer.com, further explains, the barriers between the building industry professional and the consumer are finally being broken down by the accessibility of communication. Instead of architects’ designs suffering from the “reverberations of our own echo chamber,” we now have more direct access to the public’s reaction to our work.

Good or bad, these reactions provide us with the opportunity to make mid-course corrections before we look back and see that an era of buildings has been defined as those of the architecture crisis. This adaptability is the good kind of experimentalism – the kind that allows us to make buildings relevant for the people that actually use them, not just a personal art project of the design community.

As glazing industry professionals, we can play a key role in this design approach. Today’s architecture is fueled by glass more than at any other time in history. That puts us in a prime position to use glazing to push the envelope and help create buildings that meet the needs of our communities.

This could be using glass in skyscrapers to give occupants access to relaxing views and daylight, on-demand privacy and temperature control. It could be making glass the focal point of a building while also meeting hurricane or seismic codes. Or, it could be using glass to make small-scale buildings more accessible and beneficial to the communities using them. As Architect magazine’s Ned Cramer points out, large-scale, high-budget buildings aren’t the only structures that should benefit from our creativity. As he argues, “…right now this country needs architects who are willing to forego the Howard Roark cliché and find the joy in tight budgets, limited briefs, and seemingly mundane programs.”

We’ve made a lot of significant advances in the last decade, and I’m confident we’ll make many more in the years to come. These developments won’t be without their bumps and bruises. But, that’s not merely trial and error. Or a crisis. It’s advancement.

So, to borrow from Kushner once more, “I say keep imagining and fighting for better buildings. There is now a public that craves innovation. If we listen to them instead of the voices proclaiming doom and gloom, we will be able to seize the opportunity of this new golden age.” Or, as we like to say at TGP, it’s time for the glazing industry to unleash its swagger.

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 is a past chair of 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.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Some interesting news broke this week initially via the Twitter feed of John Wheaton. John linked to a press release that was posted a couple weeks previous about Underwriters Laboratory (UL) getting involved in testing and certifying the building envelope. This is pretty significant news because UL is simply a giant in the world (they’re everywhere really), and having them now a part of this industry will surely make some waves. At this point, it’s obviously too early to tell if the addition of UL to the landscape will be positive or negative. However, those of us who worked with UL on the solar side of things know they are tough and challenging to say the least. This one bears watching, folks…

Elsewhere…
And a few more notes on certification or testing and the like…

  • Since the NFRC announcement of a commercial program reboot and my blog, I’ve heard from a few people about their frustrations with the current program and its software bugs. The folks at NFRC surely have a hill to climb on this one as it sounds like more than just collaboration is needed to fix the program.
  • A few weeks ago I wrote about the glazier certification movement, NACC, and noted that the first certified companies were due in July. Well the first four to make it through the process have been certified, and from what I understand several others sit in the queue awaiting final approvals. This is a big movement for the industry; it has the potential to at least give credit to those organizations that are doing business the right way. I believe you will see more on this in the coming weeks and months.

Now for the non-certification pieces of the week…

  • Can those of you who live in the states with full service gas stations (New Jersey, Oregon) explain to me why? It is just so bizarre for me to pull up to a station and have someone swipe my card and pump my gas. I’m amazed that some states still even have it.
  • I really enjoyed this article by Bryan Bush about the value of GlassBuild America. Bryan is currently the chairman of the board of the NGA and a very successful businessman in his role at City Glass in Omaha, Nebraska. He knows what value is and I think gets the message across nicely here.
  • Last this week, can you believe it is August? This year seems to be flying at a record pace. Fall is now so close you can see it, especially with football starting up within the next 30 days or so. I know many parts of the country are going through serious heat waves, but I for one am not ready to return to the subarctic temps that we get in winter. So world… time… slow down some, eh?

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

Max Perilstein 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, July 27, 2015

Big surprise: I work sitting at a desk for eight hours a day (me and the majority of my North American counterparts). It's tough to sneak fitness into the workday, and it's really easy to ignore the need for it during the available morning and evening hours. Some companies have begun to realize the importance of employee fitness--offering health benefits or building at-work gyms.

But how can company executives encourage daily fitness on an individual, personal level, while maintaining the productivity they need? I didn't know it was possible to espouse both high-quality product and top-shape people at the same time until I chatted with Richard Wilson, owner of AGNORA Architectural Glass North America. This is his vision: all staff should enjoy a healthy lifestyle, from regular activity to convenient medical checkups--and this is all provided by AGNORA at zero or minimal charge to the employees. This concept starts from the overall corporate mentality. "There’s no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Our whole purpose is to take care of our team,” says Wilson.

But Wilson, like all glass and glazing company executives, is dedicated to producing quality product, too. It seems that while Wilson takes care of his team--and other companies work to make fitness a regular part of the day--the team can benefit the company.

For example, Wilson gave AGNORA employees a Polar wrist band to be mindful of their need for regular activity, and AGNORA employees have the opportunity to see an on-site medical doctor and a masseuse during work hours. “In manufacturing, it’s a lot of manual labor with potential for repetitive strain injuries. Not a lot of people have the opportunity [to get a massage],” says Wilson. “We want a good work environment, but it’s also selfish. We want everyone to be here. They can’t afford the time off work, and as a company it makes us so much more productive when we have a healthy team.”

A healthy team equals more productivity. I know I always feel more motivated and ready for the day when fitness is a part of it. Take that concept to a company level. How could a focus on fitness benefit all glass and glazing workers, and in turn benefit the industry at large? What is your company doing to encourage an active work environment?

Check out how Wilson has transformed the factory floor for fitness in the AGNORA's Focus on Fitness photo gallery.

Read more from Wilson on how remaining focused on activity is beneficial for the entire company in the July 2015 Here's an Idea... story.

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Every once in a while a bunch of subjects come up that interest me, and I think would interest all of you. So in no particular order, here’s a batch from this week that may get you going.

  • I noted last week to watch the Architectural Billings Index, and if you follow me on Twitter you would know its incredible number: a 55.7! That is the highest rating since 2007. I know we all sometimes doubt these numbers, but my goodness that’s an exciting one to see.
  • I saw a great article via the Twitter feed of Kawneer’s Donnie Hunter. It’s about how architects are not overly enthusiastic about specifying new products. I like the insight it shows and quite frankly presents a heck of a challenge to product manufacturers in trying to get their materials out there. Good, quick, and interesting read. Thank you Donnie.
  • So two big mergers in the healthcare world, and rates are also going up for 2016. I think no matter what system or plan is out there (Old way vs. Affordable Care Act), and what side of the political aisle you are on, this will continue to be a nightmare for everyone involved.
  • Do you have 200 million dollars laying around? If so, you too can build an experimental “ghost city” to test new technologies. This is fascinating. I guess if the real world won’t incorporate it first, this is the next best idea.
  • How in the world “The Americans” does not get an Emmy nomination for best drama is beyond me. That show is beyond excellent.
  • I often note industry websites that impress me, and this week I point to Galaxy Glass and Stone. Eugene Negrin and company have a fantastic site. Love the use of pictures and creative layout. Well done!
  • There is now research that it “pays to be green” when it comes to building. Obviously this study will be used by many in this business, and probably by the folks at USGBC who potentially hurt the process, but that’s another story for another time.
  • Because of all of the controversy on the Confederate flag, I find myself looking for more info and insight on the Civil War. Anyone have a good documentary or book to recommend?
  • Last this week, the buzz I am hearing about GlassBuild America is really blowing me away. More and more people are planning to attend and in my research of the show floor, I’m thoroughly impressed by some of the products and services that will be on display. For the innovation/diversification angle, this event will surely provide tons of it.


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

Max Perilstein 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.

Friday, July 17, 2015

There are three levels of motivation: needs, wants and causes. The most basic drive we have is to meet the needs of food, clothing and shelter. When our needs are met, we become motivated by our wants. We have shelter, but we want a nicer house. We have food, but we want to dine at a nice restaurant. We have clothes, but we want something more fashionable.

But what motivates us when our needs are met and we have most of things we want? The highest level of motivation comes when we start focusing on causes that are bigger than our person. Every community has a school, hospital wing, and/or non-profit named after someone that served that community. These people chose to serve others. Additionally, there are many people that choose to serve without the expectation of any recognition.

When we focus on serving others opportunities appear. We can serve by participating in political elections. We can serve the community by participating actively in our churches, synagogues, or temples. We can serve by supporting, financially and actively, local non-profits. We can serve by being active in youth activities such as sports and education.

I recently had lunch with a man running for a local political office. He stated that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of county residents get involved with elections. I serve on several non-profit boards of directors. The common need for all of them is for more involvement from business people. They all have a need for people to help serve their mission. I never leave one of these meeting feeling inconvenienced. I always leave feeling excited about the opportunity to serve. Helping others never gets old.

Here are questions for you:

  • What are the needs in your community that are not being met?
  • What opportunities exist in your neighborhood for you to help somebody?
  • How can you leave your community a better place?

As Edmond Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.”

Bill Evans is president of Evans Glass Co. Write him at bevans@evansglasscompany.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. 

 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When the news dropped that Jim Benney was leaving NFRC, I was curious if there would be another part to the puzzle. Sure enough there was, with news that the NFRC was renewing their commitment to the commercial fenestration industry with a certified rating system. There’s a ton I can go into, especially since I have been banging this drum for 10 years or so. But I’ll just say a few main things…

First and foremost, the industry needs a quality rating system. We’ve never been against a system, just past proposals. We need a logical system that makes sense and provides the results and details that everyone involved depends on. It’s a part of the commercial landscape more and more. And, we need a program that is not what’s best or easiest (or biggest money maker) for the test labs or councils, but one that’s best for the products involved and industry at large. (For some time, the commercial and residential industries were included in the same category.) In any case, ease of use and logic was something we hammered on for years during the process. So it’s going to be interesting to see what this new collaboration will be.  Will it be a true collaboration? I have my doubts. Regardless, I will have an open mind, because it is something that is needed.

Second, when did the “partners” listed become actual partners in the process? Three major organizations in our industry are now back in the process. I have to assume it was news to them. All will do what is right for the industry I believe, but I also found it odd that NFRC did not mention a few other players that had involvement back in the day, including the National Glass Association. I bring this up because how do you get true collaboration without all of the main players?

Finally, personally I feel vindicated in the fact that I warned (along with many others, of course) that the current program would not work, and it sure looks like we were right. I took (and still take in some areas) a ton of abuse over my role in this effort, but in the end my goal has and will always be to look out for the best interests of our industry.

Elsewhere…

  • OK from one worry to another. To my friends in the Pacific Northwest, I sure as heck hope this article on an earthquake hitting your part of the world is wrong. Really frightening read…
  • Interesting news via the Dodge Momentum Index. It trended down in June and has been relatively flat all year. This has been flying in the face of other indexes and also just the overall business climate. Especially the current put-in-place spending, which has been tremendous and has a future-facing component to it. The new ABI is due out this coming Wednesday the 22nd, so we’ll see what they say on the process.
  • Last this week, which of you awesome glaziers, fabricators, manufacturers and suppliers will be working on the world's largest “NetZero Plus” retrofit building in Los Angeles? The Electrical Training Institute in LA will be 142,000 square feet and is being promoted as the largest NetZero Plus building in the United States. They’re calling it the “intelligent building of the future” so I surely can’t wait to see what glass and glazing products are involved here.

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

Max Perilstein 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, July 13, 2015

This year, the editors at Glass Magazine have been hard at work developing practical and applicable content to help glass and glazing companies grow and profit. While we offer insight from our columnists and industry experts, and analyze industry statistics to benefit the industry, we also want to showcase what companies are already doing to improve. Glass Magazine's Here's an Idea... series does just that.

New in 2015, Here's an Idea... gives the proper recognition to industry businesses that are implementing great—though possibly small—ideas. Companies from all parts of the glass and glazing industry have implemented innovative, out-of-the-box ideas to improve business from the ground up. Linetec uses a personal protective equipment vending machine to increase shop safety and save time. Hale Glass has its own training program to constantly improve the skills of its glaziers. Syracuse Glass fabricates glass standing desks to increase the well-being of its employees, while creating efficient space.

The glass and glazing industry's penchant for innovation doesn't start or stop with products. We want to showcase industry innovation in all its forms. What is your company doing to improve customer service? Employee morale? Organization? Reputation?

Help us showcase your company's behind-the-scenes, innovative ideas in a future issue of Glass Magazine by completing our Here's an Idea... online submission form. And be sure to check out the ideas that prove true innovation starts from the ground up.

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

Good economic news keeps coming our way. Construction spending in May broke the trillion-dollar mark, giving us the third straight trillion-dollar spend and the sixth month in a row that there’s been growth. May was very strong, as the last month with a better mark was way back in the glory days of October 2008. That of course was pretty much the last good month we had before the slide came. As we sit now, however, the “slide” doesn’t look apparent. Though concerns about the dollar, world unrest, and the financial health of Puerto Rico and Greece surely sit as a reminder that things can change quickly.

Elsewhere…

  • Saw an interesting study on the fact that larger office buildings are taking more advantage of green building practices than smaller. So I am curious. Why do you think that is? Scale? Cost? Ego? I just find it surprising because the study shows that less than 5 percent of US office buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet are qualified as green. I guess I can also question the study because smaller offices may be green or even more "green" than any standard, but choose to save money and not be certified. But I just find the big vs. small angle interesting.
  • I pretty much prop the great work from Glass Magazine every month, but this latest issue is different. This content is off-the-charts incredible. Great columns, great insights and amazing projects to look at with the Glass Magazine Awards section. And once again, in what is becoming my favorite section, the “Here’s an Idea…” piece was stellar with a look at AGNORA’s health and fitness efforts. Great work.
  • And while I’m being biased towards this excellent magazine, I should add that my ad of the month is the one for GlassBuild America. Loved the format and layout of it featuring a question/answer set up. Go check it out; it gets you thinking, and those who “get it” will be on the floor at the show ensuring they don’t end up like companies in the Question.
  • How cool was the US Women’s Soccer team winning the World Cup? I loved it. I don’t watch sports like I used to, so this was a really enjoyable one to take in. And a 5-2 soccer game? That just never happens in that sport.
  • I just started to watch the new mini-series on CNN called “The Seventies” and it’s tremendous. The first episode was about TV and they spent quite a bit of time on the shows of that era. Most notably “All in the Family.” After watching clips of that, it dawned on me that show, which was so groundbreaking, could never happen today. It’s pretty mind boggling if you think about it. Anyway, if you want excellent one-hour looks back at that decade, check it out.

Read on for the video of the week...

Max Perilstein 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, July 6, 2015

As the Baby Boom generation leaves the workforce, the construction and fenestration industries are feeling the effects. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that between April 2006 and January 2011, the construction industry cut its workforce by more than 40 percent, eliminating 2.3 million jobs. On top of this, skilled professionals are retiring and taking their knowledge bases with them.

Construction in the commercial sector is especially in need. NASDAQ reported in June that there’s a race going on to find quality craft workers in the field.

So, what would turn things around? What does any industry need to flourish? Trained labor to properly manufacture and install quality products. With this trend taking place across our industry along with others, there’s more of a need for training than ever before. Companies may be unsure of where to go for such crucial skill building since the trade schools of our parents’ days are practically extinct as more young adults are pushed to community colleges rather than trade schools. To really stand out from the competition, companies and individuals may wish to validate their experience with certification credentials.

As the labor force continues to dwindle, companies may need to re-think their training budgets. Apprenticeships and peer training are less likely to be relied upon in the coming years of business, as workloads increase and trained employees leave the field. Plans of attack for this issue can vary, but one thing is clear: a fully-trained staff is the bedrock of any successful enterprise, but especially an industry that relies so heavily on the importance of products being created and installed safely and properly.

Companies can look to the industry associations for support in training. For example, understanding the need for industry education, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association has made training a priority. The association started its educational efforts with the InstallationMasters program that helps installers avoid costly callbacks, improve energy efficiency and work more effectively while optimizing both time and money. This goes a long way to maximizing product benefits for happier, more satisfied customers. While the two-day program focuses on residential information, it does include education about light commercial installation as well.

Expanding into the non-residential market, the Commercial InstallationMasters program is based upon the AAMA document, Standard Practice for the Installation of Windows and Doors in Commercial Buildings. The training includes accepted installation techniques, job site safety, quality control, proper material selection and installation of components, as well as product care and cleaning. Architects, building owners, construction managers and general contractors can be assured that Certified Commercial Installers have been properly trained and have met the certification program requirements.

What is your company’s strategy for coping with ongoing labor shortage? Let us know in the comments.

Angela Dickson is marketing manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. She can be reached at Adickson@aamanet.org.

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, July 6, 2015

A bit of an odd week as a couple of emotional things occurred. First the news of the passing of long-time industry rep Pat McIntosh really threw me for a loop. Pat was an excellent man, always friendly and dedicated, and always smiling when I saw him. He will truly be missed. My condolences to Pat’s family and friends.

Also, right before the holiday, the NFRC announced that CEO Jim Benney left the organization. As many of you know, I’ve battled the NFRC for more than 10 years and many times drove Jim up the wall--even debated him once in Boston at a trade show. Despite me being a true pain in the rear, Jim always treated me well and always kept a cool and calm composure. I am not sure where Jim will end up next, but I wish him only the best. It's interesting that in the same week the USGBC had their CEO resign as well. Could Jim be headed there?! Crazier things have happened…

Elsewhere…

  • My last post on the issue of birds and glass was one of my most popular posts ever. Obviously this is an issue that is more intense than I realized. I heard from so many diverse people, both in and out of the industry, and got tremendous leads and insights on the process. The best part was people really wanting to be a part of a solution, and that was nice. In the meantime I plan on staying on this and learning more (and sharing here of course) from some of the new friends I just made.
  • Congrats to my friends at GGI on the launch of their new website. What a fantastic piece of work there.
  • Also congrats go out to my old co-worker and friend Scott Goodman on his new gig with AGC. Good to see him land there and probably get to work with another old friend Matt Ferguson. That would be a fun road trip to be on if those two make calls together.
  • I have to stress that if you are on Twitter and you are not following Glass Magazine, you need to stop what you are doing right now and do so. For every big event the live tweeting is so great and so informative. This week was the AAMA conference and once again I felt like I was there. Great to get the flavor and no other feed comes close to the live content that Glass Magazine’s provides.
  • Last this week, if you watched and liked the show “The Men Who Built America” then you will probably like the new one out called “American Genius.” Same sort of historical look at the men and women who made their marks on many facets of our lives. Some episodes better than others (the Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates one was not great), but still worth the watch if you enjoy history and the analysis of it.

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

Max Perilstein 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.

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