glassblog

Monday, August 28, 2017

Is it better to wait until change is forced upon you, or to be an active participant in creating the new normal? Those constructing new markets see excess profits, then these new markets become standard, and many more arrive looking to ride the wave. Even with flocks of new companies looking to capitalize, the earliest adopters are best positioned and typically continue to prosper. A textbook example, the iPhone. It doesn’t appear waiting for change to be forced on you is the answer. If you’re waiting, you probably have already been left behind.

In the glass world, market leaders embrace change, especially using ever-changing technology. They’re using technology to create entirely new markets, producing new opportunity for their businesses. For example, the progression of smart products like electrochromic and dynamic glass are becoming an economical solution with an almost endless list of applications.

Additionally, the new International Building Code dictates that glass in handrails, guardrails or guarded section must be constructed of laminated tempered or laminated heat-strengthen glass, unless there is no walking surface below or the walking surface is permanently protected. This was updated years ago, yet we’re awaiting implementation across our market. Many companies are preparing ahead, looking at laminating solutions to complement their current tempering capabilities. Still, my experience is a lot more are dragging their feet because, as of now, these codes are not a requirement in most markets.

If you’re dragging your feet, consider this: tempered glass is strong, but not unbreakable. The next time you’re in an airport, mall or even a multi-level lobby, make note of the amount of glass handrails you see, specifically those with a possibility of someone walking unprotected below. If a panel on the third floor breaks, glass falls onto people below, and a gaping hole in the balustrade is practically begging a child to see if their body will fit through. With the addition of lamination to the code, we ensure this scenario does not happen. If this code were mandated tomorrow, would your business be able to reasonably bid these jobs? I see an enormous opportunity for those ready to capitalize. What do you see when you look at all this glass?

With GlassBuild America 2017 rapidly approaching, make the most of the opportunity. You will be in the presence of those creating the changes for the future, and those with experience working in new markets. Take time to speak with them. With symposiums and learning sessions each day, you can focus on upcoming changes that will affect your business. Take time to identify trends and study them; knowing these allows you to be prepared or even to become the next game changer. Do you want to be a follower into a new market or one of the leaders? The latter is where I am looking to be!

Pete de Gorter is vice president of sales and marketing at DeGorter Inc. Contact him at pete@degorter.com. Pete will be presenting an Express Learning session on machinery purchasing during GlassBuild America. Attend his presentation on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m., to learn more.

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 28, 2017

A lot of news, but first and foremost, my thoughts are out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. That was/is a challenging storm and hoping for only the best for those in its path today and going forward.

In the glass world, it’s been a tough week on the float side. The market is relatively busy right now, save for some soft spots here and there, so the need for glass is pretty high. Unfortunately, some events at the float level have me very concerned about capacity, and so thus comes the warning. (Katy Devlin had a fantastic take on it here.) Glass is tight now and going to get tighter. This is the time to get as organized as you can and understand your supply chains and the future orders you need to fill. Proactivity is a must. This is also a massive reason why you need to attend GlassBuild America in a few weeks because if you are not networking and communicating, you will be left behind. I will be monitoring this glass supply issue and will continue to report when relevant. And yes, I know I am more reactionary than others out there, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Elsewhere…

 

  • A few weeks ago, I mentioned another big glass deal was coming and that happened publicly last week with Glass Dynamics being sold to Press Glass. Obviously, the interesting angle here is the parent company of Press is in Europe so this is a new player having a location in the North American fabrication market. Press has a great reputation in the areas they are already in, so there’s a positive from the market standpoint.
  • Congrats to Martin Bracamonte on his new position as president of IGE Glass Technologies. Michael Spellman built a strong team over there, and he’ll obviously still be involved, but adding Martin as the president was an excellent move. He’s a good and talented person.
  • And while I am in the congratulatory mood, props to the folks at Conners Sales. They launched a fabulous new website last week. Really impressive work and great examples of the lines they represent.
  • The latest Architectural Billings Index was released this week and once again it was in the positive. That’s now six straight months on the good side of the ledger and overall a pretty amazing run over the last 2-plus years. All of the other indexes that are tracked (regional and new inquiries) were up as well.
  • I’m a big “smart roads” guy and look forward to seeing if and how this works. The next area for testing is in Kansas City along with two other to-be-determined sites. Really curious to see how this holds up in a climate like KC.
  • Last this week, college football is now back… can’t wait…. One of the first college games of the year will be held at the new stadium in Atlanta. (Which you can view close up when you attend GlassBuild America.) Architectural Digest got a tour and broke it all down.

 

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, August 28, 2017

Now in its sixth year, the Glass Magazine Top Metal Companies list spotlights the largest metal fabrication companies in North America. Highlighted in the November issue of Glass Magazine, the Top Metal Companies include those that manufacture, fabricate and sell curtain wall, storefront and entrance, commercial interior and exterior railings, aluminum composite panels and exterior sun-control products to the glass and glazing industry.

While the Top Metal Companies list ranks companies by sales volume, it will also provide timely information regarding the state of the metals market as a whole, based on market statistics related to sales volume, product demand and acquisition plans.

The 2017 list will showcase the successes, challenges, changes and opportunities within the commercial metals industry. Featuring specific metal company achievements, including recent projects, the list provides an up-to-date look at the metal industry landscape.

If your company belongs on the Top Metal Companies list, be sure to complete the survey by Sept. 5, and contact me if you have any questions about participating.

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

There are a lot of people pointing fingers over who is liable for the devastating Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

The public says Arconic Inc., the maker of Reynobond, which is used on the tower, is at fault. Arconic says blame lies with the specification team. “We sold our products with the expectation that they would be used in compliance with the various and different local building codes and regulations,” said the company in a statement. The specification team could now very well say inadequate U.K. building codes and regulations are at fault. Code officials might then point to the National Fire Protection Association or testing agencies like Underwriters Laboratories.

While it’s easy to follow suit and point fingers, we’d be better served to learn what we can from the Grenfell Tower tragedy. No one wants to see this scenario replicated in the glazing industry. People rely on building industry professionals to create safe, long-lasting buildings, and the glazing industry plays a key role in this process.

One of the first things we need to address is collaboration. 

Technology is helping on this front, but our industry still faces a fragmented approach to design.

  • Safety requirements, deflection limitations and insulating requirements, to name a few, vary nationally, regionally and sometimes even locally. 
  • Buildings are also growing increasingly complex. This means more parties are involved in the design and specification process.

Early and frequent collaboration between the trades is now crucial to ensure safety requirements and project complexities are well understood and properly addressed.

For example, while BIM systems and modelling software have come a long way in the last decade, it’s still important to work with the design team to ensure the selected materials not only achieve the look the architect is after, but deliver on the safety front. This is particularly true since the installation of safety glazing materials can differ from standard applications.

  • Will the glazing system require more technical support or onsite custom work?
  • Will it need additional testing?
  • Are the expectations realistic?

By joining conversations early during the design phase, we can provide quick answers and aid in the safety and long-term outcome of buildings.

We also need to take ahold of the responsibility that comes with being glass experts. Architects rely on us for advice. It’s not our job to create a spec, but if we see a problem, we need to alert the design team about suitable alternatives. They simply may not be aware of all the options.

Regardless of where you fit within the supply chain, it’s impossible to put a value on human lives. This includes the assessment of design benefits versus cost when deciding whether to deviate from the specification. The cheapest option may end up being the most expensive down the road. Look for any special requirements, limitations or exclusions, and be sure to vet manufacturer claims. Safety is a small price to pay when creating buildings that protect the lives of others. 

David Vermeulen is the national sales manager for Technical Glass Products, a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. TGP works closely with architects, designers and other building professionals, providing them with the state-of-the-art products, service and support to maximize design aesthetics and safety in commercial and institutional buildings around the world. 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 21, 2017

With GlassBuild America only three weeks away, I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to the show. This is usually the time that many make their final decision on whether or not to attend. I know mostly everyone is very busy, but if you want to improve yourself and your business, you should make the call to be in Atlanta on Sept. 12 to 14. Here are few reasons why…

Overall Education

This is a one-stop wonderland for everything you want to know with regards to product, equipment, services and more. Below I will break out a few channels where you can gain critical knowledge and insights. There is something for everyone no matter what end of the business you are in.

  • Glazing Executives Forum
    The collaboration here is incredible. For a glazier, this is invaluable. Also, the economic forecast and the state of the industry pieces are very helpful. Plus, a special 25 years of Top 50 Glazier survey review will be quite interesting.

  • Express Learning
    These 20-minute sessions are perfect for quick on-the-go information and with every speaker easily accessible you can always reach out for more later. There are great topics and speakers scheduled and I’m looking forward to sessions hosted by C.R. Laurence, Quanex, YKK and GED. Also, I am humbled and honored to have a spot speaking on Thursday, Sept. 14, a dream come true for me to speak at the show!

  • Cam Marston
    Keynote speaker open to all attendees. Those who saw him in the past raved about the lessons he brought. Well worth your time. His talk on the multi-generational workplace is something that is fresh and important to grasp and understand. 

Networking

Packed floor with a large attendee base expected means a ton of potential connections all in one place. It is simply the best opportunity to meet suppliers and customers and get to know potential targets on both.

In-booth Demonstrations

This is something that you get by walking the floor. There are always demonstrations happening and you learn as you go. I know the team from Bohle America will have a ton happening and newcomers to the show like Glass Renu promise to impress with hands-on demonstrations that will surely give you ideas and angles for your business.

Machinery

Last but not least, there’s the machinery angle. Every player in our world will be represented and they all come with their best foot forward. GlassBuild unfairly gets a rap that it’s more of a machinery show than anything else. But that’s not exactly the case. The reason people think that is the machinery guys come with amazing exhibits and machines tuned up and working. It’s eye catching and impressive. I fully expect those booths to be very busy because right now it seems like everyone is looking to replace and/or expand what they have. This includes glazing installation equipment all the way to fabrication machinery. It’s all there.

In the end, I know you are busy. And the thought of spending a day or two out of the office is frightening. But this event brings the best of the best in our industry and supplies you with the information and networking that makes you better. I believe that is surely worth your time! 

If you have any questions or need more insight on the show, please reach out to me. I am always glad to help!

Read this post on the From the Fabricator blog…

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, August 14, 2017

Here’s my narrative approach to the slow transformation and integration of BIM software and tools:

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and never needed BIM to visualize exterior cladding transitions or conflicts.”

“I’m not sure why they want a BIM model. You can quote it, but I think it is going away.”

“They want a REVIT model for record, but it can be done after the shop drawings. Do the shops in AutoCAD first.”

“This REVIT and BIM thing is getting some traction, so we are going to have to release you on the BIM work, but it seems like a waste of the owner’s money.”

“Hey, the architect and GC want a coordinated model to provide to the owner, so I need you guys to provide a BIM model, and weekly or bi-weekly BIM coordination meetings.”

“This project is actually being executed in REVIT and all of the subs are required to use REVIT for their elevations, plans and sections. Make sure you’ve designed a deliverable that incorporates this, and review the architect’s expected LOD and qualify anything you think is not necessary.”

“I think we are going to have to use REVIT and RHINO at the same time on this project to model the crazy geometry. Make sure to coordinate teams and integrate both in developing your details.”

I may be one of the “old guys,” having started in 1984 when drafting boards were still in use, but I also happen to keep innovation in plain sight, and support implementation of new technologies. It’s a “must-do” in my position. In fact, isn’t innovation the foundation to a sustainable company (“innovate or die”)?

I saw BIM coming quite a few years ago and informed those at my organization that we needed to make the investment in a BIM person and the technology. It took time, but we did it. We needed a person that understood the technology first, and could learn what they needed to know about cladding systems.

We had no idea what we were doing, but we hired a committed and talented BIM specialist that really understood the “gear” and cared about the work. We quoted, scoped, developed, finally defining a delivery method and cost paradigm that got traction. There were gaps, big and small, between projects, but gradually, the gaps decreased. More and more architects, GCs and related firms started using REVIT and other tools to collaborate on projects, making the switch to BIM software.

Today, we have specialists in AutoCAD with curtain wall experience, young and old, we have RHINO specialists, REVIT Specialists, along with others that know Inventor and related tools. Project work involves integrating these specialists and knowledge workers on various projects, depending on the scope of work. There is no longer one delivery method. Multiple methods are required depending on the project, architect, client, location, size, scale and geometry.

The change is still taking place; it’s still emerging. I believe we’ve barely begun to tap the technology and really define its best use. Too often we take “old thinking” and try to apply it to new ways, new means and new methods. BIM is a way of thinking, not just a “drawing program.” It has embedded information; intelligence built into the model. Information and details are extracted from it, not drawn into it. This intelligence should be leveraged more and more as hardware and software continue to advance.

And I’m confident that while we are all working in the current software platforms, some developer is creating the next generation of BIM software for building design and construction. The only thing we can be sure of is change. And if we don’t change, someday we’ll look up, wonder how the new technology took root, and it’ll be too late to “flip the switch.”

John Wheaton is the founder & co-owner of Wheaton & Sprague Engineering, Inc., also known as Wheaton Sprague Building Envelope. The firm provides full service design, engineering and consulting services for the curtain wall/building envelope/building enclosure industry, and works at “Creating Structure” for clients. He can be reached at jwheaton@wheatonsprague.com and on Twitter, @JohnLWheaton1.

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 14, 2017

The glass industry was back in the spotlight in an indirect manner recently with a report on healthier buildings and what occupants really want from their structures going forward. The top choice regarding health was enhanced air quality or ventilation. But right after that were products that enhance thermal comfort and better lighting/daylighting exposure. Obviously, those are major glass related areas that as an industry we are in a very strong position to supply. I do chuckle somewhat because those features are not new to our industry. There are many companies who push that approach quite a bit, but it goes to show you that at some level there’s still an old-fashioned approach to building going on. With a heavier focus on healthier buildings will come a larger use of glazing products that make a difference. 

By the way, close behind in the poll (fifth) were products that enhance tenant moods, and while that could be virtually anything, my thought is that is a great place to slide in decorative interior glass since that surely beats old-fashioned fabric partitions. In any case, this is a positive poll for the products we manufacture, fabricate and install.

Elsewhere… 

  • Heads up on two email fronts. First, beware of any emails offering you email lists from people attending GlassBuild America. These are scams and the lists are not legitimate or safe. While some names on these lists will work, many others will not, and many names on the list have the ability to set off black listing functions within your bulk email service.  
  • Also out there are emails with a virus link that seemingly comes from a friend of yours and it comes with a friendlier greeting than in the past. It will say something like “this you can appreciate,” so it gives off a safe vibe, but proceed with caution before clicking the link. Look at the rest of the email and most importantly look at the actual address from the sender. The sending name may say your friend’s name, but the return email address will not. At that point, delete. Never click any link or download any attachment if you are not totally sure of its legitimacy. 
  • Kudos to the teams at Guardian, J.E. Berkowitz, EFCO and Forno Enterprises on a fantastic school rebuild in New York. This state-of-the-art school was rebuilt after the original building was destroyed by a tropical storm. I am a big fan of school construction, especially when it uses smart approaches with regards to things like energy and security. In this case, energy and daylighting (as noted above is a big thing) carried the day. Nice work, all.
  • Last this week, good guy and friend Thomas Lee of Lee & Cates Glass was nice enough to send along an update to a story I had a while back on the Tesla electric car. The latest test showed almost 700 miles on one charge. Slowly but surely the electric car play is getting more interesting.

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, August 7, 2017

Railings are in place to provide guidance and help prevent accidents as a life safety product. For architects, performance, appearance and safety are critical to product selection in the design phase, while a specifier must take account of all the technical aspects associated with the system. With so many factors involved in railing systems, specifiers must be able to move quickly and with confidence in their specifications. So how can a specifier select the right system for the job? 

To ensure the railing system is structurally sound, visually appealing and maintains its integrity year-after-year, specifiers need to keep in mind the following information to determine the right system:

  • Material compatibility – Railing systems are often drawn in without taking the local environment into consideration. Replicating design across dissimilar regions has the potential to impact a lasting appearance. 
  • Physical properties – Whether it’s with glass, where cap rail must now be applied across the top, or cable railing that must adhere to proper tension levels and spacing, the physical properties can play a big role in performance and integrity.
  • Hand rail load requirements – With load requirements, specifiers need to ensure the function is up to par with the form. With growing code compliance, higher performance requirements, and ever-changing trends, there is a greater emphasis on safety. 
  • Future railing maintenance – Designing for the care and maintenance of a system is oftentimes overlooked. Make sure durability criteria are up to par with the intended application in design.

Codes tend to evolve frequently and vary by jurisdiction. This challenges specifiers to stay on top of the varying regulations and ensure each job is properly specified and installed. A working knowledge of the most important standard requirements for railings and implications should include height, spacing, location and load bearing requirements. Ultimately, keeping the customer in mind and understanding the system is a life safety application are the key considerations.

Suppliers act as a resource and bring a precise evaluation of building use, application, geographical concerns, and all that influences railing systems into the mix. For a specifier to bring guidance to the project design, the best bet is to leverage expert resources – which in the end provides the clarity and assurance needed, and saves valuable time in the design process. When faced with the unique challenges of specifying a quality, code-compliant product, being able to contact a knowledgeable manufacturer/supplier who is an expert in this field is crucial to the project’s success.

Andrew Chatfield is the director of architectural glass systems for the Wagner Cos. With more than 25 years in the glazing industry in Europe and North America, Andrew has extensive experience working with architects, specifiers, installers and end users around the world in relation to glass, glass hardware and most recently in glass railing and balustrade systems, and code compliance.  

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 7, 2017

 As most of you surely know by now, former Guardian leader Russ Ebeid passed away at the age of 77. Russ was a unique man, a powerful man, and someone who I had tremendous respect for. Russ was a major key in the incredible growth of Guardian, and his impact on the companies that worked with Guardian was huge as well. He was not afraid to share his thoughts with customers and industry observers with the goal of improving the overall lot. He told it as he saw it and clearly laid out his cards each and every time. At least that’s how I saw and experienced it. I didn’t spend a ton of time with Russ, but I was fortunate enough to have a relationship with him that allowed me to pick his brain on occasion and gain insights that were incredibly valuable. When I was at a major transition point in my professional life, I went to see Russ. He was behind his “famous” table that was always devoid of paper or clutter (how I wish I could do that!). I ran through my plan, and he laid out his opinions straight to me. He told me that the road ahead was probably going to be pretty rocky, but I needed go forward with my approach because it was going to be for the best in the long run. He was completely right (like he seemingly always was), and I will always remember and appreciate that conversation.

I am sure I am one of many people who were blessed to get insight, advice, direction, and a push from Russ. I’m not alone in being grateful; that is for sure. The world lost a great person last week, and he will truly be missed.

My thoughts and condolences go to the Ebeid family and all of the friends and co-workers that knew and loved Russ. 

Elsewhere…

  • Big week in the industry for deals with two done and another one soon to be announced. The ones that did go public, Ferro buying Dip Tech and Trex adding SC Railing were very interesting. Dip Tech in a very short time became an extremely active industry player. I will always appreciate that and hope that Ferro continues to support those efforts. On the other deal, SC Railing has grown dramatically with some of my favorite talents doing the super work there, and I’d assume this new arrangement will only enhance that set up. 
  • GlassBuild America is now coming up on a month away! Have you registered? Got hotels? If not, do it. Do it now. 
  • At GlassBuild America, there are always events that add to the value of being in town. One such meet up is a pretty important informational session that FeneTech is putting on 9/12 and 9/13. They are going to talk about the IoT (Internet of Things) and Industry 4.0 and the communication standard that we will need for our industry. You may not think you need to know about this stuff, but if you are a fabricator you will want to learn because this is an area that could make a difference in your plant. This is just a jumping off point and I give massive kudos to FeneTech for taking a lead here. More will follow but I say get on board now. 
  • Big moves on the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician Certification Program. The folks developing it, Administrative Management Systems, held a meeting in Chicago recently to work on the basic design for a program, one that will provide validation of glaziers’ fundamental knowledge and skills. This is an area that brings quite a bit of debate from all sides of the industry and with this effort growing, if you are for it, now’s the time to get involved. If you are against, be prepared because it’s gaining steam. This program looks like a nice combo with the NACC program that certifies companies in the glazing world. Bottom line: if it improves what we do in the field and how we are perceived, I am a fan. 
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.