Ready to Step Up

Ours is an industry ready to step up. Never has this been more apparent than this week, as the country reflects on the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and as Hurricane Irma, now a tropical storm, continues to make its mark on the southern United States.

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, making improvements and introducing products designed to protect property and, more importantly, save lives.

The first major shift toward protective glazing products came in 1992, after Hurricane Andrew roared across southern Florida as a Category 5 storm. The hurricane caused an estimated $26.5 billion in damage, killed 23 and displaced nearly a quarter-million people in the United States alone, and the building industry looked to the glass and fenestration industries to make sure that same destruction from wind-borne debris could not happen again. “In 1992, Hurricane Andrew changed the way the industry looked at fenestration systems,” said Joe Schiavone, director of sales for C.R. Laurence Co., crl-arch.com, in an April article about impact glazing systems.

The next push for protective glazing came after the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, and then again after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. After these terror events, the industry was asked to bring live-saving product improvements to buildings outside of hurricane areas. “We were behind as a nation in regard to [blast systems], but now it would be in the forefront of our industry,” said Andy Canter, president of Ridgeview Glass in an article from June 2017. “We had to learn the requirements of such systems, from engineering through installation, overnight, to meet the changing needs of construction.”

The glass and glazing industry has stepped up to make buildings safer in the United States, and this week makes that clear. The destruction Hurricane Irma caused this week across Florida, where the toughest of hurricane codes have been implemented, would surely have been worse without the correct installation of hurricane-impact glazing.  As the region recovers from the storm, the building community will take stock of how structures performed and will bring fresh challenges to glass and glazing companies to keep making products better. And the industry, once again, will step up. 

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

Comments

Katy is spot on in her commentary. Our business, Commercial Window Shield, went from a solar control film installation company only to a security window film and solar control installation company soon after the Oklahoma City bombing - once window film companies came up with the right products. In the days following 9/11, we installed security film on the U.S. Capitol, and all the U.S. House of Representative and Library of Congress buildings. Since then we've installed security and shatter resistant films on scores of government and commercial office buildings as well as schools, museums, hospitals and other buildings in foul weather areas and where threats of terrorist and other violent acts are high. As Katy says, the industry has stepped up by making better glass and glazing products, which we are happy to install. George Tanber

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