Glass Industry Suppliers Tout Their Architectural Support Services

April 10, 2017

Glass Magazine asked a number of glass and glazing system suppliers to describe their architectural support services. Suppliers report they offer a plethora of services for the design community, from face-to-face education to spec writing to modeling tools.

Brad Bartley, senior manager, architectural sales, AGC Glass North America

“AGC has nine dedicated architectural representatives across North America to educate, promote and support to the architectural community. These are trained representatives who have experience in the glass industry and they understand the design challenges the architectural community faces. It is truly a collaborative effort to ensure that we, as a building products manufacturer, offer the best solutions from a performance, aesthetic and cost effective perspective. In addition, our architectural and primary glass sales representatives collaborate and communicate as a team, working closely with our fabrication and glazing partners in each market to deliver the projects as specified and on schedule.”

Brad Thurman, director of sales and marketing, Midwest and East Coast Regions, C.R. Laurence Co., Inc. - U.S. Aluminum

“CRL-U.S. Aluminum has taken multiple steps to help architects navigate specification challenges. Our primary and most valuable resource is our people. Several members of our team have achieved CDT certification from the Construction Specification Institute. The CDT certification program provides in-depth knowledge of construction documents and the roles that key stakeholders play. Our people understand the processes required to accurately prepare specifications.

“In addition to a well-trained staff, CRL-U.S. Aluminum uses technology to assist architects. We utilize BSD SpecLink-E and ARCOM MasterSpec—the two most widely used spec platforms—to provide real-time, cloud-based specifications that are intelligently linked with applicable codes and standards. A team of experts at BSD manage code updates and standard modifications. This technology enables architects to easily switch from proprietary to open specifications. Knowing nothing is overlooked gives them peace of mind.

“Architects are further aided by our website where they can get instant access to CAD drawings, CSI format specifications, test reports, case studies and project galleries.”

Leigh Anne Mays, national architectural services manager, Guardian Glass North America

“Guardian Glass Architectural Design Managers help architects through a variety of educational components and tools. We work closely with the design team and provide industry-leading tools that align performance, color, climate, building codes, etc. with the vision for the project.

“Guardian Glass AnalyticsSM, a comprehensive suite of web-based engineering and analytical tools, rose out of the needs of architects and builders. They are now being asked to meet ever-increasing energy codes. Understanding those codes and the products that meet regional climate requirements is important. Architects use Glass Analytics tools to explore aesthetic and functional possibilities of building with light while meeting complex energy, daylighting and sustainability requirements.

“Architects customize with the Performance Calculator, visualize with Guardian's Glass VisualizerSM tool, analyze using the Building Energy Calculator and design using Guardian's BIM Generator. The newest addition to the Glass Analytics toolbox is the Sustainability Calculator, which will allow users to easily evaluate glazing options for compliance with green building rating systems such as LEED, the Living Building Challenge and the Well Building Standard. Users like having the ability to select the products and programs they would like to analyze and quickly generate output reports that provide insight to sustainability program qualification.”

Jaron Vos, manager, Architectural Support Services, Pella  

“Pella’s Professional Services teams helps architects overcoming these challenges through its technical review of the project plans and specifications. The Professional Services team at Pella can complete thermal modeling of existing fenestration and compare it to the updated thermal profile of a proposed installation. By using different installation techniques, changing the location of the window within the wall and choosing from Pella’s energy efficient window and door products, we can help the project design team meet their thermal and budgetary goals.

“In the area of air/water/structural performance, there seems to be a lot of confusion in the industry about fenestration performance requirements and how they are derived from the design pressures that are calculated using the ASCE 7 standard. Recent updates to the standard show higher design wind speeds, but often result in lower design pressures. The Professional Services team can once again aid and educate the architect and structural engineer on how the codes and standards affect the required window and door performance for the project.”

Panel of architectural field and customer service staff from Vitro

“Vitro Glass has highly trained and highly responsive teams of architectural services (available by phone), architectural representatives (around the country) and technical services personnel who are equipped to answer any specification question an architect or specifier may have. These experts also can provide one-on-one guidance to architects and specifiers to help them write the best specification for a given project or application, including desired aesthetic and solar control or insulating (U-value) performance, as information on wind load, snow load, thermal stress, acoustics and other dynamic properties. They also are well-versed in LEED and other green certification systems and can work with architects to maximize the value of their specification in multiple credit categories, from energy performance and daylighting to regional sourcing and whole building life-cycle assessment.

“Outside of personal interaction with a service rep, one of the most sophisticated tools we have for helping architects specify glass is the interactive Construct tool on our website. Using this tool, architects can build and compare up to nine different [insulating glass unit] configurations using performance data from the entire Lawrence Berkeley National Lab database. The tool also provides password-free access to almost every glass configuration available to architects in North America, including those from Vitro Glass and its competitors. What makes this tool especially unique and powerful is that, once you have built the IG configurations you want to use or compare, you can click a built-in icon and the tool will generate complete three-part CSI specifications for every product you select. All the architect has to do is print the document and drop it into the bid sheet or the spec package. Products and performance data are always current, so unless a glazing unit is configured improperly, the specification should be accurate, up-to-date and ready to use. 

“Vitro Glass also hosts an online Glass Education Center for architects seeking to become more fluent in glass specification. This growing collection of videos, slide shares and printed materials features content covering the questions most frequently fielded by our architectural and field services representatives. They include where and when to specify tempered or heat-strengthened glass; where to place a low-emissivity coating in an IGU to maximize solar control or insulating performance; how to specify a laminated glass lite; the right low-e coating to specify in a northern or southern climate, and so on. 

“Vitro Glass hosts online AIA Continuing Education Courses addressing common specification questions. Company representatives are available to teach these courses in-person at AIA chapter events, over lunch at individual architectural firms or they can be viewed for credit online.

“Finally, Vitro Glass includes a small “Glass Design Guidelines” booklet with every sample glass order, covering topics such as aesthetics and the importance of glass mock-ups; designing for wind loads, snow loads and thermal stress; surface orientation, color shift, sustainable design, and more.”

Alissa Schmidt, technical resources manager, Viracon

“Our architectural design team has drafted a generic specification that includes current standards and follows the Construction Specification Institute’s MasterFormat, it is available for download on Alternatively, our team will work directly with the architect to review their specification and counsel them with regards to the most current language and standards.”

Darrell Cummings, architectural sales representative, YKK AP America

“I am very fortunate to have several support systems, including managers, engineers, and office staff, who give me the necessary information to keep up with current and future code changes. If I am working on a project in conceptual design, we will need to know how to be prepared for the future code changes. Having a great supporting staff makes it very easy for me to find answers to technical questions that may arise.

One of the greatest tools we offer to architects is AIA credits during lunch and learns. I have 12 different classes that are available in one-hour format and two hour advanced course. I use these classes as a way to pass important information on code issues to architects and dealers. When the energy code was changed for glass and glazing recently, I gave classes to 350 people including architects, glazing dealers, mechanical engineers and general contractors.”