Monday, November 6, 2017

Design-assist procurement is the best possible approach to developing and completing design, engineering and construction of custom curtain wall and cladding projects. All curtain wall projects should be executed with some form of design-assist or design-engineering. Design-assist, or DA, is a collaborative process with a defined schedule and set of deliverables, whereby the architect, contractor, curtain wall consultant, owner (as applicable), exterior wall subcontractor, and their design and engineering agent, participate in a collaborative, iterative, real-time exercise to define, design, collaborate, review and deliver a coordinated curtain wall system that meets the project performance specification and aesthetic goals.

There are different forms this process can take, but I believe it is best expressed when the contractual procurement method includes the DA process first, with a guaranteed max pricing around a specific scope or design context.

Here are a few benefits of this method:

  1. Facilitates early collaboration of the major stakeholders. This creates more alignment and typically improves the delegated design and review process. Collaboration creates a better working product, reduces risk and builds good will amongst the project team.

  2. Allows for a more fully informed approval process and systematic review of the system design, proposal drawings, profile drawings (dies and details), and engineering calculations on how closely the building aesthetic and performance can be matched by the system.

  3. Transparently vets system performance, incorporating review of sightlines, transitions between systems, engineering, thermal analysis, adjacencies, STC, and other coordinated issues visibly and directly.  

  4. Assesses and assimilates architecture, construction, fabrication, procurement, logistics, installation, and other holistic project needs and concerns as part of the design process and boundary conditions, enabling better downstream project management.

  5. Allows concurrent pricing exercises by the exterior wall subcontractor, which can inform the owner, GC, suppliers, consultant and other stakeholders. This allows the entire team to work in an informed manner with clearer cause-and-effect understanding.

  6. Brings a “shared reality” to the process and project. A shared reality brings everyone into the “same boat,” typically reduces project risk, and breaks down barriers of communication. This can aid in a positive experience, and a better work product.

  7. Facilitates a quicker turnaround of shop drawing and engineering submittals, since everyone knows what to expect in the context of the system design.

Words of caution:

  1. DA is NOT an open-ended design process where the shop drawing reviews are used throughout the project as a means for the architect to figure out what they really want on their building. If this is the project procurement method and definition of design-assist, then the exterior wall subcontractor will have to draw some boundary lines and provide pricing and scope to match.

  2. DA is NOT a “value-engineering” process to look at any form of a cladding type or aesthetic. It’s only a value-engineering process within the context of finding cost savings for the specified system design and orientation. Any new permutations or design changes should be defined as a change order. Base design alternatives are bid alternates and should take place outside the DA process.

 I’ve been involved personally and as a corporation in so many successful design-assist projects, that I’d love for all projects to be done in this form. There have been a few failed experiences along the way, but far less than other traditionally executed projects where everyone works in silos and uses email as a primary collaboration tool (it’s not a collaboration tool.)

I’d like to suggest that those of us who make our living doing this meaningful work make design-assist procurement a rally cry for improving the process and experience we all share on our typically complex and critical path driven projects. I believe we can create better experiences for ourselves and our clients, and make the world a better place.

I’d like to hear more from the readers. Please comment and let’s keep the conversation going.

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 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, November 6, 2017

This past week, the first of the 2018 construction economic forecasts was released and there was tepid optimism with regards to the nonresidential side of the business. Basically, some of the analysts are pushing a small increase on the commercial side, not exceeding 5 percent overall. The residential side though has some more bullish predictions with a potential for double-digit growth in 2018. Now keep in mind this is just one of many forecasts that will be coming out in the next 8 to 12 weeks, so a lot can and will change. I like to take it all in and then see what I can come up with in terms of consensus. Plus, my favorite forecasts are not out yet. Sit tight, as numbers are going to be coming out constantly with results probably all over the board. In any case, with regards to this release and its small growth, I will take a positive forecast any way it is delivered!


  • Continued from last week and my review of the most recent Glass Magazine, the ad of the month. I do try and spread the kudos around, but if a company that has previously received  my recognition comes out with a new ad and it’s worthy, I have to give it props. The winner for this issue is Guardian Glass with its “Fall in Love” ad that carries on the video campaign they debuted at GlassBuild America. Loved the ad, and, because I was a big fan of the video, I thought it was sharp they continued the campaign in print. Well done!

  • The newest Apple iPhone is out and this review was a blistering putdown of the product. I must say the author brought up a ton of good points. Worth the read if you are looking to purchase. 

  • Construction geeks, what are five major changes coming to the jobsite? Good article here. Personally, I am really into what the next generation tools would be. With the ongoing struggle for a solid (or in some cases any) workforce, advancing the tools to potentially do more and more efficiently is huge.

  • Greenbuild is this week. I am not a fan, and I’ve made that known several times over the years. The show this year may be decent because it’s in Boston (great city) and combined with the ABX event. But in the end, I don’t expect exhibitors to find any great success, unfortunately.

  • Normally if I see a quote like this one I worry: 

 “…Midtown doesn’t need any more glass”
But in this case, there’s a lot more to a very interesting happening going on in New York.

  • Last this week, it is Glass Industry MVP season. Yes, my yearly award is now here, so soon you’ll have your nominees and then the winner (who’s life will dramatically change for the better) will be announced in my last scheduled post of 2017 in December. Once again, there are a ton of great candidates and like I do with the ad reviews I try not to repeat with people nominated, but this year I may have to.

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

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, October 30, 2017

As noted in the October 2017 issue of Glass Magazine, expenditures on capital equipment have been strong the last seven years. Now, many of these newly purchased machines are nearing the time to be repaired or replaced. Repairing vs. replacing is a tricky area to navigate and something we all have encountered. For example, the minivan is sounding rough again. Does it go to the shop the tenth time for another $250, or do we put that towards a down payment on something new? This is no different than the decisions we have to make with the cutting line or CNC head time and time again.   

Part of the struggle comes from unknowns in the cost comparison of buying new versus rebuilding old. Additionally, capital equipment runs hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair or millions to replace. Suddenly, the stakes are higher.

New equipment is easier to add up. In addition to the cost of the equipment, consider any tax benefits/costs. Typically, new products are supplied with a warranty ensuring a period of worry-free large costs or downtime. Consider the value of efficiencies gained; less downtime is more time the machine is making product. Newer models might process faster, which contributes greater output, too. One more complicated calculation is the learning curve on new equipment. Add some time where output isn’t at the maximum or even below the original. Add it all up, and you have an accurate total cost of putting new equipment in place, as well what you can expect to gain.

Given the unknowns, determining a total cost of repairing an existing machine is not as simple. Monitor increases in repair expenses, have accurate figures of a single large repair, and add in cost of downtime.

But, what about the expected life after a repair? How is that determined? Is the expected life the same after the first repair compared to the 100th? Is this warrantied; is it the same warranty as a new purchase? How do you know when you repair one thing another isn’t going to fail shortly after? Where is the point repairs are excessive and what is this costing the bottom line? These calculations are not straight-forward and vary between all operations.   

Bottom line is, there is no one solution fits all, but periodical analysis will help you move quickly when the decisions need to be made. In my experience, repair the Volvo because you know it will last another 10 years; buy a new phone because they’re not built to last from the start.

Pete de Gorter is vice president of sales and marketing at DeGorter Inc. Contact him at 

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, October 30, 2017

I’m a big trend guy, and one that I have been following closely is the interior office space. A lot has been covered with regards to the increase in glass usage, but I’ve been surprised by the framing choices. Dark is in. So black, dark bronze or even a custom coated choice that trends darker are starting to pick up more attention vs. the traditional mill/satin look. In Europe, the darker look has been the play for a while, but it’s interesting to see that it’s now hit North America. In the end, I don’t really care what color the framing is as long as glass is being used. We have a great building product that is surely not just for the exterior of the office building anymore.


Building off last week’s note on the Silica Rule, OSHA did put out a new memo on the process but it’s still not that simple, streamlined piece we need for the industry. I am still gathering info and if you or your company are doing anything with regards to this, please consider sharing with me so not only I can learn but I can share with the readers, too.

Have you seen the NGA/GANA FAQs? They give some excellent insight into the process. This is such an important move for the industry. I am just excited to see it continue on the right path!

Time for the October Glass Magazine review. I loved the look, layout and copy with the GlassBuild review. It captured so much of the flavor of the event. Glass Magazine has been very active with articles on the workforce and this issue has a dandy on onboarding that featured a ton of best practices examples. This sort of content is so incredibly valuable if you are running a business. Add in the rest of the issue that had insights on codes, unitized and technology (among other articles) and this was a fabulous issue for insight and education!

The ad of the month I will hit on next week’s post.

Last week I noted the Amazon HQ2 competition. Well 238 cities applied for it and now the predictions are starting to fly on which city may win. Moody’s came out with their top 10, and since I love lists, here’s who they think with some comments from me:

  1. Austin, TX: Hot city, everyone seemingly loves Austin these days that’s for sure.

  2. Atlanta, GA: They have the space but that bad traffic will now get even worse.

  3. Philadelphia, PA: This is surprising to me, it won’t be cheap or easy to be here with the size that Amazon wants- but great location in the east.

  4. Rochester, NY: I know a manufacturers rep who would have a field day with this

  5. Pittsburgh, PA: My old hometown has grown like crazy since I left- and now in the running for this? I must’ve been the one holding the Steel City back.

  6. New York City, NY: I will be stunned if this happens

  7. Miami, FL: And stunned here as well- great weather but a nightmare to ship from

  8. Portland, OR: Why? HQ1 is in Seattle, why would they come down the road for HQ2?

  9. Boston, MA: Great location and food but similar to my thoughts on NY- would be a stunner.

  10. Salt Lake City, UT: Great place but seemingly too far west if you want to spread out HQs.

My prediction? I think it’s going to be Dallas with Atlanta a major possibility. We will see. And we’ll also see how this new HQ affects all of the other businesses in that area that utilizes the same workforce.

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

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, October 23, 2017

This post originally appeared on Glastory

Here’s a universal truth about business: it doesn’t matter what technology you have in your production; if the equipment is not running, you’re not making any money!

And broken equipment does not end with the broken equipment. Oh no, it is only the beginning of your troubles. You have to then answer to your customer and their customer … and, possibly, even his customer, all because you missed your delivery times. On top of that, you may face some fees and reclamations. And worst? You’ll lose your customer’s trust.

We have nothing if our equipment is not running. The costs of keeping it running are practically always secondary to the importance of keeping it running. How you handle your maintenance has a huge impact on the actual result. This has even a bigger impact than who does the work. That’s why I will share a few strategies for consideration.

Three maintenance strategies:

  • Corrective / reactive
  • Preventative
  • Condition-based / predictive


The traditional maintenance strategy for industrial equipment has been corrective, or reactive, maintenance. Corrective maintenance only fixes the equipment after it has already failed. This “run-to-fail” strategy is appropriate for assets whose failure will not compromise operations and which can be returned to service quickly and easily.


Some equipment failures, like those of a tempering line, can shut down the entire factory. For this reason, a different maintenance strategy has evolved to avoid asset failures – preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance prevents an equipment failure from happening before it actually does. Preventative maintenance involves different kinds of scheduled maintenance actions specified individually for each equipment type.

Preventative maintenance actions reduce the probability of unexpected downtime and are always machine specific.


Full-scale preventive maintenance can be expensive. That’s why a new type of maintenance strategy was developed, namely, condition-based maintenance. With a predictive strategy, the condition of the equipment is regularly monitored until it begins to show evidence of deteriorating performance.

Maintenance is then performed “just-in-time” to prevent equipment failure. For example, predictive maintenance is often based on the analysis of the bearing heat signature, the lubricant condition or the vibration of rotating equipment.

The most effective maintenance strategy has an impact on business performance and should be chosen carefully by the maintenance experts.


The number one issue on everyone’s list is how to keep the machines running day in and day out? And as we weigh in on the cost of a new investment versus maintaining the old, we have to be able to make decisions based on logic and not emotions.

Pyry Ollonqvist is a contributing blogger for Glastory, a glass industry resource provided by Glaston. He has over 10 years of experience in the fields of international business development, marketing and sales. Ollonqvist's original post on Glastory has been edited for length and style. For more from Glastory, visit 

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, October 23, 2017

Do you know about the Silica rule? Do you know that the Silica Rule is now about to be enforced after a 30-day delay? If you are a glazier, you need to get familiar with it. But, the bigger issue I see is the murkiness of available information and direction on how this rule affects our world and what we all need to do. There’s not a great approach that I could find that we all could read from and follow. I’m thinking “checklist.” There’s various information from OSHA out there, but specific insights to the glass industry are missing. Glass Magazine has some info to follow as a very good start, but I’d like to ask for more insight from all of you. What is your game plan for handling this rule? What are best practices you can share? This is a major change to how a glazier works, so insight we can share would be good for the industry as a whole. I am digging more into this, and I know others are as well, so I’ll share whatever I find. 


  • The Architectural Billings Index finally had a down result ending a strong 7-month run. The total was 49.1, which fell beneath the break-even of the 50 mark. New project inquiries stayed strong and positive, though, at 59. The analysts’ feel like this is just a quick blip and the index will be positive again next month, so we will keep watching the overall process.

  • Props to Stephanie Staub at the Architectural Glass Institute for the support they showed at an incredible program in Philadelphia called “Merge.”  This was a very cool event that brought design students and new-to-the-industry installers together to build a structure. Things like this are crucial to get more young people into our industry and excited about the future. Several industry companies donated time and materials to this effort to make it a success. Thank you to all involved. 

  • You may have heard Amazon is looking for a second headquarters and cities all over the United States want a shot at this. Right now, the biggest benefactor is ad agencies in each town who are being retained to do flashy campaigns pushing the merits of their city. Watch the one for Detroit if you want (in my video of the week). It’s stunningly good. Overall, it’s fascinating the awesome power Amazon has. I seriously think they could make most of these municipalities do absolutely anything for them. 

  • Last this week, if you are a Jerry Seinfeld fan, check out his latest special on Netflix. It’s called Jerry Before Seinfeld and it’s funny and fantastic.

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

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, October 17, 2017

LinkedIn, the online professional networking tool, was a topic of two workshops I gave at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association 2017 National Fall Conference this week. Even if you’re not currently job-hunting, you should care about the state of your current LinkedIn profile. It’s always good to see what’s happening in your industry, how companies and roles are changing and who in your network might just be perfect for an opportunity on your radar.

If you’re looking for a new position, it’s even more important that a profile is up-to-date. A 2016 Jobvite survey found that 87 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. 

You are your own brand, and you need to be your biggest advocate for that brand.

So, make sure you have a good profile picture (there are plenty of examples of bad ones), and include your volunteer work and other interests on your profile. You also need to review your LinkedIn account settings that allow users to view the profile pages of others without detection. Keep competitors from your poaching client lists.

Keep your account safe. Change your password every few months and opt into two-step verification to add an additional level of user authentication. 

With two-step verification, LinkedIn will text you a security code to enter along with your password. This is also a great suggestion for you to use with platforms like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other tools.

If you missed the LinkedIn workshops, an AAMA webinar covering the topic will be held December 12. This event is open to the public and registration is free. AAMA’s next social media workshop will focus on Twitter, which will take place at the AAMA Annual Conference in 2018. Hope to see you there! 

Meryl Williams is the Communications Coordinator for AAMA. She produces national and regional newsletters, writes editorial content and helps lead AAMA’s social media outreach, including the Socially Speaking blog. She has seven years of professional communications experience in both journalism and public relations. 

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, October 16, 2017

This past week a very cool microsite was released featuring a ton of content from GlassBuild America. The site has 12 Express Learning presentations on it along with videos from the floor and forums. The Glazing Executives Forum video includes the economic forecast piece as well as State of the Industry and 25 years of Top 50 Glaziers. Plus, this site has the keynote address from Cam Marston. This really is an incredible treasure of information and insight. If you were at the show but couldn’t see everything, you can now catch it; and if the weather kept you away, now you can see some of what you missed. Check it out! 


  • As if we don’t have enough to worry about with supply and logistics, here’s an article on a shortage of sand. Unreal.  We’ll have to monitor this one because this could affect glass making on a global basis.

  • While I was off from blogging last week, the industry had a great addition. Lindsay and Dustin Price welcomed baby Alex Olivia to the world. A beautiful baby girl born to seriously awesome parents! I am so happy for Lindsay and Dustin and wish them the best. Enjoy it all now, you two. Blink and Alex will be off to college.

  • I was able to attend the Glass + Metal Symposium, and while there I was taken aback (positively) by a video played by Jeff Rigot of Viracon. It was a very well done piece talking about glass usage and the Viracon employee used throughout the video was none other than Cameron Scripture! I have been telling people forever that Cameron has movie-star good looks and obviously the producers of the video agreed! I really now can say I knew him before he went “Hollywood.”

  • The latest Dodge Momentum Index was down again last month, which continues a mini-negative trend on that metric. The analysts are not ready to call this a downturn in the marketplace, but it does bear watching. The market right now does have some soft spots to it for sure. I am very curious to see if this gets revised up or where next month comes in, as traditionally October in many parts of the United States is a very big month with a lot of focus on getting jobs going before the days of winter snow arrive.

  • I think any time I see a link on the new Apple Campus and it shows glass I am all in. This one stopped me in my tracks. Love seeing the way glass is used here and throughout.

  • I did see the sad news of David Stark passing away. I had a few interactions with David as he was developing products in the Vacuum IG world. He surely brought an amazing energy and passion to that space and his efforts and insights will be missed.

  • Last this week, two new mixed-use skyscrapers are coming to Miami. So a question to my friends down there: have we reached the point of massive saturation? I am stunned that these places can go up and units sold. The architecture and glass will be pretty cool on the one described and shown in this story.

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

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, October 9, 2017

Thousands of visitors gathered at Fiera Milano Rho in Milan, Italy, last week for Vitrum 2017, where more than 230 exhibitors displayed everything from cutting-edge glass machinery to innovative glass products.

A key theme of this year’s event was Industry 4.0, the next phase of industrial manufacturing that relies on automation, integration and cloud-based technology. "I've seen more than 20 companies on the show floor saying they are [pursuing] Industry 4.0,” said Miika Appelqvist, director of the tempering business unit for Glaston Finland Oy, during a presentation in the “What’s hot in glass processing” seminar at Vitrum.

Industry 4.0 is driving automation and digitalization. It is "removing things that don't add value" from your processes, Appelqvist said. "Industry 4.0 isn't in the future. It is already happening. What are you doing in your processes to get there? How will you be impacted in the future?"

In addition to pursuing Industry 4.0 goals, companies continue to promote machinery and equipment solutions that increase productivity while addressing the glass industry’s continuing labor shortage. “Customers are looking to increase production and do jobs faster, but they don’t have the people,” said Joseph Gates, head of Adelio Lattuada’s new North American business unit. “We introduced a handling robot that has been very big among our customers at the show.”

To see photos and videos from Vitrum 2017, check out the gallery below. For additional coverage, check out Glass Magazine on Twitter, @GlassMag.

Katy Devlin is editor in chief of Glass Magazine. Contact her at Follow Glass Magazine on Twitter.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Each year, manufacturers release dozens of smartphone models that boast new, sleek designs and cutting-edge screen displays. But, to claim the title of best smartphone, you know as well as I do, the phone better offer more than industry-leading design specs. If a smartphone doesn’t have good battery life, fit easily into the palm of your hand, have stronger glass than last year’s model, resist water, and sport a camera that’s inching closer to a Canon, it won’t make the best-of-the-best lineup. 

Steve Jobs understood this concept when he said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” As I’ve been reminded with our country’s devastating natural disasters, Steve Jobs' philosophy doesn’t just apply to smartphones and computer tech. It holds equally true in the glazing industry. 

Architects are constantly looking for glazing products that provide both form and function. They don’t like to temper their design aspirations simply because an application is required to meet strict building codes. They also won’t dispute the value of glazing products that meet hurricane-related building codes, fire and life safety requirements and product certifications.

I believe our industry has recognized the design community’s need for products that deliver on both fronts, and we’ve responded with creativity and innovation over the last decade. The trouble is, many design teams are still under the impression that protective glazing products don’t look as good as they perform. 

While there are many reasons this disconnect can occur, I believe one key contributor is architects aren’t aware of the latest protective glazing products. In the last few years alone, we’ve seen a boom in multifunctional glazing products like silicone-glazed fire-rated glazing and design-forward options that meet strict Miami-Date County and state of Florida requirements. They combine performance with style in a way not previously possible. The glazing industry is aware of the value these new products provide. Is the design community? 

Another potential cause of this disconnect is firms aren’t familiar with the level of design support that manufacturers, suppliers and glaziers can provide. When in doubt, they go with what they know works. A recent AIA survey on architect specification supports this conclusion, stating approximately 75 percent of architects reuse specs from previous projects. This doesn’t have to be the case. If glass industry professionals are involved early during the design and specification phase, we can help design teams land on a new solution that achieves both their desired aesthetic and performance goals. 

It’s also important to be our own advocate and show design professionals that we hear their needs and are continuing to rise to the challenge. We’ve made great strides in offering higher performing, design-forward products. As Katy Devlin said so well in her latest Glassblog post, “Time and time again, the building community has looked to the glass industry to develop better performing, safer products that can stand up to unexpected disasters, whether environmental or man-made. And, time and time again, the glass industry has answered that call.” I’d add that we’ve responded to this call on the design front, as well. It is innovation when we provide products that allow people to walk by buildings without realizing the interior or exterior glazing meets strict building codes. Let’s make sure we are promoting it. 

David Vermeulen is the national sales manager for Technical Glass Products (TGP), 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.

Page 2 of 10
 << First | < Previous | 1 | 3 | 4 | 5 Next > | Last >> 

Blog Archive