From the Fabricator: Quick Hits and a New Interview

This week, I continue my blog interview series with a tremendous and classy businessman in Jeff Razwick of TGP. The first of two parts is below. Thank you all for the interview feedback too. I have several more lined up, and it’s a thrill to get to chat with so many industry people that I respect.


Before the interview, some other items:

  • I did get the answers to my question last week regarding the “greenest office building” job. The glass was manufactured by PPG, fabricated by Northwestern Industries, and metal system was from Schuco. Goldfinch Brothers installed it, and Architectural Glass & Aluminum did some of the initial design assist. Great work guys, and thank you to my sources that came through quickly!
  • I know other bloggers join me in complaining about gas prices (today $4.29 in Detroit), but I'm curious as to why no major media outlets cover this? Big Oil own them too?
  • I did get picked on in both San Antonio and Miami for not making a pick for the NBA Finals. The reason? I have good friends in both cities and me making a pick and thus jinxing a team would be very bad.

Now to the interview…

I was thrilled to land this chance to talk with Jeff Razwick. In my opinion, he and his company boast some of the best qualities in our industry. In part one of the interview, I hit him up on codes (the protective variety) and BIM, while next week we talk architectural trends, and industry talent and recruitment.

MP: Codes of all varieties have been prominent in the industry news lately. I know you and your company follow along very closely, especially on the protective side. What is your take on how this latest cycle went and what, if anything, are the codes missing out on?

Razwick: Overall, the latest code cycle was positive. In recent years, much of the emphasis has been on the importance of active fire protection devices like automatic sprinkler systems. This caused the pendulum to swing away from passive fire protection. We're finally starting to see the codes even out and address the importance of both active and passive fire protection. Amendments to section 703.4 in the 2012 IBC underscore this point by prohibiting the use of sprinklers or automatic suppression systems when testing for the fire-resistance of construction materials. One disappointing issue during the 2012/2013 code review was the disapproval of proposal E121-12. That proposal sought to reverse the trade-off that allows schools to have exit corridors with no fire rating when sprinklers are in place. Despite the fact that school structure fires have significantly higher numbers of injuries than other non-residential occupancies, and NFPA data continues to report that sprinklers fail approximately 10 percent of the time, the committee concluded that adding fire-rated exit corridors would lead to a significant increase in cost without “sufficient justification.” Considering our kids and the educational professionals in these facilities, it is time to put aside code trade-offs and ensure schools are adequately protected from fire.

MP: A few years ago BIM was all the rage. But it’s my perception (and quite possibly an incorrect one) that BIM has hit some roadblocks and is not being utilized as much. What are you seeing, and do you think it’s going to ever be something that everyone will offer?

Razwick: There's still a lot of interest in BIM, particularly for modeling and rendering. Completed schematic designs and building models provide decision makers with a holistic view of the desired building components, and a good idea of project modifications. One of the chief challenges with BIM is system adoption among all project members. Since computer-aided design requires a fundamental shift in technology and training, it's not realistic to assume BIM has been implemented into the workplace of all project design and construction members. Without full project integration, it's not possible to fully realize the quality, cost and time-saving benefits of BIM across design and construction. Companies will increasingly adopt BIM for its ability to make construction more collaborative, innovative and efficient.

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

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

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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