Monday, January 21, 2019

Time for my fearless predictions for 2019!

1. I may as well get this one out of the way early: security glass will continue to grow in 2019. Yes, it’s on my list every year but I am still convinced additional growth is on the horizon. School security is a priority like never before. More and more private businesses are upgrading and government and municipal are pretty much locked in with desires to go heavier on security. 

2. Look at lifting. The days of glaziers trying to use old-fashioned muscle to install and move glass are dying. The days of installers having to share various equipment to glaze are also coming to an end. Like never before, lifting apparatus is everywhere and it has advanced amazingly over the years. Just visit GlassBuild America and be in awe. I am a big fan of this sector and its importance to our industry.

3.  Speaking of important, the robot revolution is here. I predict the usage of robots and automation at the fabricator level will jump quite a bit as the year ends and many fabricators will enter 2020 with a new look and approach to production. Included is this are terms like IoT and Internet 4.0. Get ready: innovation is coming fast and furious.

4.  Deals are not done. Many companies who are thinking about selling are staring into the future and thinking “this needs to be the year I sell” because we really don’t know what 2020 is going to bring from an economic side. I see a bunch of smaller deals, but we’ve got a doozy or two coming our way and the rumors are absolutely wild.

5.  Talent on the move. I think there’s a ton of talent in our industry and I have a feeling that we are going to see some of the best folks we have transitioning either into promotions at their current company or moving on to new ones. Any business owner who’s looking to take a leading position going forward has to be looking at making a run at some of the talent out there.

We will see how these come out. I am always curious on what my dear readers think so feel free to reach out to me and share! Would love to have the conversation!


  • One of my favorite things each year is when it’s announced that the employees of Viracon donated a huge sum to charity. Once again, they’ve blown me away. It was announced last week that the incredible team there donated $116,000 to the United Way. Kudos to everyone at Viracon and special props to Carla Kern who heads this effort every year. Awesome stuff!
  • Additional note on project managers: I am honored to head up a panel at BEC in March on the training of project managers. We have two incredible industry brains on the panel in Brian Fillipiak of Alliance Glazing and Paul Robinson of Pioneer Glazing, as well as Neil Opfer, a professor in the construction school at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. All I can say is in my initial talks with these guys, it’s been an incredible learning experience of their best practices and ideas to keep improving our world. I think I may just moderate by introducing them and then sitting back and watching them go. Get registered for BEC today!
  • Last this week: for those of you going to the Annual Conference, I sincerely hope to see you there. My schedule is pretty messy so I may not be there for long or at all depending on how things break. I am bummed because this will be one the best conferences ever. Enjoy, and I look forward to hearing about all of the details.

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, January 14, 2019

On Oct. 8, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its Special Report on Global Warming. According to the report, limiting global warming would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. Ever since the publication of the report, the discussion has been actively laying out different paths to solve climate change topics debating which sectors should contribute the most. The answer is quite clear: all sectors must contribute. However, some sectors consume more energy and omit more carbon dioxide than others.

Glass windows—part of the problem but also a solution
Glass windows are estimated to be responsible for almost 25 percent of heating needs in the European Union and for almost 10 percent of cooling needs. Upfront it looks like glass is a big part of the problem, and when looking at the numbers one would probably claim it is today. However, given new intelligent glass technologies currently being developed, glass has much higher potential as a solution to the energy efficiency and global warming problems we face today.

Emerging glass technologies and value-adding glass products, such as smart glass, are making a strong entry into the market. Smart glass has the ability to control the amount of heat and light passing through the window and thereby significantly reduce energy consumption. However, the issue is not just about how windows keep the heat inside or outside. Smart glass can convert sunshine into energy. Needless to say, that partially or completely energy self-sufficient buildings would play a powerful role in improving the energy efficiency of the sector. As a result, the potential for smart glass is big and the glass market is expected to see double digit growth during the coming years.

Emerging Technologies accelerate intelligent glass technologies
Smart glass is not the only new application within the glass industry being developed as an answer to current energy consumption and efficiency issues. As the technology leader within the glass processing industry, Glaston’s aim is to be the industry developer and accelerator for emerging technologies. By doing so the company combines commercial targets with societal needs. At the beginning of 2017, the Glaston Emerging Technologies unit was established. The unit provides consulting and engineering services for smart glass and energy glass window production as well as solar energy applications. The unit also sells and delivers the required production lines. Potential areas are solar energy solutions, smart glass and various aviation and automotive industry products.

Currently Glaston is engaged in discussions with several companies on the development and practical application of new glass technologies. Typically, these are pioneering companies in their own fields, operating in the global market. Through its technological expertise and extensive contact network, Glaston has in a short space of time achieved the status of a proactive, reliable partner for companies developing and commercializing smart glass inventions.

Originally published on Glastory

Joséphine Mickwitz is VP, IR, Communications and Marketing, Glaston Corporation.

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, January 14, 2019

Before we can really look into 2019, time to take a look back at 2018. Did my predictions come close or did I fail like I do when I try to pick winners in sporting events? Let’s take a look:

1. Trucking will be a bigger challenge
I believe it was tough, but was it a bigger challenge and did the Department of Transportation rules change anything? I am not sure. I know it’s a constant battle, but I’m not sure it cratered the way I thought.

2. Going big
I felt that sophisticated glazing would be in style, and in 2018 it was. No matter how challenging the project, it could be done and there were multiple avenues to get it done.

3. Security glass goes wild
I had this prediction in 2017. I had it in 2018. Believe me, I am putting it on the list next week for 2019. It was a better year for security glass, especially in the school segment. Sadly, the need is there.

4. Private equity in and out
I thought we’d have some exits along with new players. No exits, but plenty of new and aggressive PE’s are on the scene now. Half-right here.

5. NGA and GANA will merge and be great in the end
The merge formalized, and slowly, but surely the unified voice is really finding its footing. This was a massive undertaking and I am still extremely confident that it’s going to be a great thing. So far, so good; with streamlined efforts in place, this will only continue to evolve and improve.

I was not too far off, overall. Better than my pick for the Super Bowl this year, the Carolina Panthers. Oops. Anyway, next week we’ll have my predictions for 2019.


  • I had a lot of reaction to my overall economic look for this year and into 2020. Most of the reaction was that the positive indicators are outweighing the negative. That was very good to hear. We’ll keep on it. Still, I think we’re going to see a dip in the next ABI and I’ll be curious to see if a trend develops.
  • NGA Annual Conference is coming up fast! Have you looked at it or made arrangements yet? The keynote speech by Lisa Rammig is an absolute must-see. Staying ahead of codes, guidelines, and the technical movements in our world is crucial too. Click here to register.
  • I came across an older article about trends in smart hotels; there’s some specific areas that affect our world, specifically the modular building, which I have noted many times. It will be fascinating to see how that and some of these other trends take off.

Read on for links and video 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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Construction may be going bionic.

Sarcos Robotics, a global technology firm that designs robotic systems, announced in November 2018 that the company developed a" full-body, powered industrial exoskeleton robotic system," the Guardian XO Max, according to a company release. The technology, the product of a nearly two-decade R&D process, allows the user to lift up to 200 pounds and is slated to be available in 2020.

“The potential for full-body, powered exoskeleton technology is immense—from giving our workers super-human strength without putting added strain on their bodies, to improving productivity and efficiency,” says John Santagate, research director, IDC, a market intelligence firm.

The new Guardian XO Max is a full-body exoskeleton
designed for industrial, public safety and military sectors,
according to Sarcos Robotics, the manufacturer.

Sarcos Robotics' innovation, designed for the industrial market, has clear implications for all construction and building industries, and specifically for workers on the jobsite. And survey responses from the Commercial Construction Index, compiled by the USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, suggest that construction contractors are ready to invest in these new technologies. The Q4 2018 report of the CCI, released in December 2018, showed that 74 percent of construction contractors surveyed expect to adopt new technologies, including wearable technology, over the next three years.

Current wearable technologies include a range of some automated equipment and robotics, but also wearable sensors connected to the BIM model that may denote what training and permissions employees have, says Donna Laquidara-Carr, Industry Insights Research Director at Dodge Data & Analytics. “These kinds of tags are designed to make workers’ abilities and movements transparent to a supervisor,” she says. “For example, workers moving into a section of a worksite that is beyond their training level might be flagged as a danger to prevent injury.”

According to the CCI, most contractors—83 percent—see wearable technology as a way to improve worker safety. Improved workforce management and productivity were other perceived advantages.

Increased affordability is also a likely variable in the adoption of these technologies. “Cost is always a major factor,” says Laquidara-Carr. “Costs for those technologies are coming down, contributing to contractors' interest in using them.”

Another factor in the anticipated adoption of these technologies is the growing tech literacy of workers. While the construction industry can be slow to change, says Laquidara-Carr, most workers at construction companies have become familiar with different forms of tech through regular use. “Workers no longer have this huge barrier to learn fancy new tech,” she says. “Normal consumers, including people in construction, have gotten much more tech savvy.” 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

We’ve made it to 2019, and it's time to talk about what I see business wise for the upcoming months.   

Overall, I am taking a positive outlook. I am hopeful that 2019 features a more even-keeled performance than 2018. For many, last year was a tale of two seasons—the first half not great, followed by a strong finish. This year should have a more consistent performance and be a year with a slight amount of growth. Backlogs are filled on the glazing contractor side, and the metrics I follow for 2019 are all looking up.  

The big worry is what’s coming in 2020. That’s where there’s some concern. Normally at this point in the cycle you can start to see what is heading our way, and the initial view does show some choppy waters. Residential and auto futures are looking softer for 2020, and that is usually a signal that commercial weakening could follow right behind. If that is the case, we could see an uneven 2020.  

I will note that it is still very far off, and things can and do change quickly, but for now I have a little pessimism in my bones for 2020. I’ll keep monitoring and updating here. Over the next few weeks, I am going to post my prediction review from last year and offer new predictions for 2019. Stay tuned for more to come. 

And no matter what the predictions or markets say, please check out Katy Devlin’s Glass Magazine blog, “How to Recession-proof Your Business.”  Tremendously helpful piece. 


  • Related to the above, the last Architectural Billings Index was a monster, finishing up at 54.7. This was a nice gain over the previous month, which posted the barely breaking-even score of 50.4. However, I have a feeling that the next release on Jan. 23 will be the first one in the last 14 months under the break-even number. We’ll see…
  • Glass Magazine review time: the December issue featured the team from Steel Encounters on its cover, moving glass. The issue was dedicated to handling equipment, so those articles were fascinating to me—so much advancement in that area. Also, I love any time my pal Joe Schiavone of C.R. Laurence Co. writes, and he has a great piece in there co-written with Brian Stratton of Linetec. Well done! Also, check out Bryan Bush’s backlog calculator article—extremely informative.
  • Ad of the month was a tough one again. There was a good mix of ads from handling folks, along with others trying to get their messages across. My winner for this month is Midwest Wholesale Hardware. I liked the bold approach with the font, use of color and layout. Congrats to the folks there on this smart approach!
  • During the holidays, I saw a lot of ads for, which is a fitness application built into a wall mirror. I found that very interesting. Anyone else see it, or have one of these yet? TV makes it look very easy and makes the mirror look good. Who knows, this could drive more mirror business someday…
  • I found a good article on design build and project management, and the process involved, at Building Design+Construction.
  • Last this week, just a sincere thank you from my entire family for the thoughts and prayers shared to us upon the passing of our mother, Ettie Perilstein. It was a tough week, but the support shown by so many of our friends in this great industry truly was meaningful and greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Read on for links and video 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.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Many economists are pointing to a potential slowdown in the U.S. economy after nearly a decade of sustained growth. “We see some headwinds coming,” said economist Connor Lokar during his forecast presentation at the Glazing Executives Forum at GlassBuild America in September. So, how can glass companies prepare for a potential downturn?

To begin to answer this question, I hopped on the phone with Glass Magazine’s financial columnist, Marco Terry. Terry, who is managing director of Commercial Capital LLC, emphasizes that, whether or not the economy actually enters a recession in the near future, “it’s always a good time to prepare.” Some specific tips:

1. Work on collections

“Assume that if recession comes, the customers paying you marginally—those on the edge of being OK to bad—are going to slide towards bad. Now is the time to start addressing that. For an owner not already checking the credit of commercial clients, now is a good time to start."

2. Optimize costs

“Now is a good time to see if there are areas where your company is leaking money. Now is good time to plug those leaks. If there are any areas that can be improved, now is the time to do it. These are the things that companies are going to end up doing when recession hits. If you do them now, you’ll be ready.”

3. Build a cash reserve

“This one is important. How big should the reserve be? That is a question of personal preference. It can depend on how your cashflow moves through the business. At minimum, 3 months; 6 months is better. However, there is always a tradeoff between hoarding cash and growing business. If you have cash sitting in a bank account, it’s not out there paying new employees, buying new machinery.”

4. Consider an emergency line of credit

“This is something I am hesitant to recommend. But the right time to get a line of credit is when you don’t need it. … There is nothing wrong with having line of credit that you don’t touch. It may cost some money to get it and maintain it, but boy will it be useful if things go south. … The major caveat is that it is for emergencies only. Getting into debt right before recession hits is a recipe for disaster.”

5. Cut unprofitable services and products

“Sometimes owners don’t notice or care about services that are draining money. If a company is doing reasonably well, they don’t focus attention on them. But, they become a cash drain when real products producing profits start slowing down. … The same goes for cutting problem clients. This is an important one. We’re starting to approach a time for firing bad clients. Moving them into a pay up front model would be a good idea.”

6. Expand sales and look for new markets.

“The right time to implement those [growth] strategies is now. When recession hits, you will be one of many companies looking to new markets.”

Terry will cover these tips more in-depth in the March issue of Glass Magazine.

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

Monday, December 17, 2018

We’ve nearly reached the end of the year, and it’s finally time to announce my annual Glass Industry MVP award. It was a tough one this year. I received more input than ever before. Tons of excellent candidates, but in the end, I think I chose the most deserving. I used the following criteria to determine this honor:

1)     An overall dedication to the betterment of our industry, including through activity in industry meetings, committee work, creation of technology, advancing education, etc. 

2)     My opinion of them and knowledge of their background. This one is all on me. I ask for input on nominees, but I don’t discuss anything further. 

Below is my list of runners up, followed by the 2018 MVP. Disclaimer: I’m not playing favorites to people who read this blog; as to the best of my knowledge, none of the people listed below read this, even if I have mentioned them in the past. 

Without further delay…

Runners Up

Felix Munson, Anchor Ventana Glass. Felix is very active in the industry; his dedication to the great Texas Glass Association is huge and his desire to bring more education and knowledge to all is impressive. He also is very in tune with the growing glazier certification process and has always pushed supported the industry. In addition, he runs a very good organization with a great reputation.

Jeff Haber, W&W Glass. Jeff may be the single most respected member in our industry. When he speaks, everyone listens. In addition, W&W is an incredible company. Jeff and his family could take a different path and not be involved in the day-to-day happenings of the glass world, but he chooses to volunteer quite a bit. His impact with conferences like BEC and FTI is important for educating the masses, and he brings a vision and strategy to everything he does. 

Glenn Miner/Rob Struble, Vitro Architectural Glass. I paired these two because often they are a combo deal. The key for these two is better educating the industry. Glenn and Rob are constantly looking at ways to grow the communication of glass and its greatness. The Vitro Glass Education Center is awesome, and the monthly email Vitro sends is helpful and worthy. In addition, Vitro continues to step up and be a partner throughout the glass and glazing landscape when others in the same place choose not to be involved.

Greg Oehlers, Tristar. Greg is a freaking legend. Period. I honestly can say I love this man and admire all he has done in our world. No matter what is going on in Greg’s life, his energy and desire to push the good in our world is never diminished. His presentations are incredible. (Advice if you have to speak alongside Greg: go before him because if you follow him, it’s simply impossible.) Greg has always been willing to hear out and try new products and services, which makes him a great friend to every innovator out there. And if he likes what you do, it’s an incredible endorsement.

This year’s runners up are all incredible people who do great work and advance and support our world. Who tops them and wins the title this year?

The 2018 Glass Industry MVP

Nathalie Thibault, Prelco. Nathalie is a constant presence at the now-combined NGA level as well as being the current president of IGMA. To put it simply, she is involved consistently at every level. Nathalie is extremely well-respected, and she brings significant insights to everything she does. Her approaches usually develop into important guidelines or pieces of education that drive our industry. She is also very inquisitive in the most positive way. She asks questions of you because she legitimately values your opinion.

With how incredibly busy she is, you would think she’d be less open for deep discussions or more roles, but that has not been the case. Prelco has an excellent reputation, so they truly practice what Nathalie preaches. To make things even more amazing is Nathalie is also in school for an MBA. When I asked her about it, I was impressed by her answer: she wanted to push her skills a notch further. That’s incredible given how good she already is. Bottom line: Nathalie is a great example of someone who gets it and truly deserves the recognition. Congratulations on being our 2018 Glass Industry MVP!


This is probably the last post of the year unless something crazy happens. I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who reads this blog and communicates with me about it. I truly appreciate it! I believe we have another good year upcoming, and I am excited about so much of what is happening in our world. (Do you think I am excited by Thirsty Thursdays, Annual Conference and BEC? I know I promote ‘em like crazy.) In any case I hope everyone out there has a fantastic holiday season and you and your families have a happy, healthy and profitable 2019! 

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, December 10, 2018

Next week, I will announce my industry MVP. But this week, I want to recognize two incredible men that have recently transitioned away from the day-to-day glass and glazing industry: Jerry and Jeff Razwick, formerly of Technical Glass Products. When I first heard that Jerry and Jeff were no longer with TGP, it struck me hard. These guys were forces in their sector of our world, and it’s going to be seriously different without them out there on a daily basis.

While I was growing up in the industry, Jerry Razwick was this incredible influential figure. I would see his name in all the news stories, and he was always on the forefront of technology and innovation in the fire-rated space. When I finally got to meet Jerry, I was a wreck because he is a legend. But I didn’t need to worry, as he was as friendly as could be to me. Along the way, I also got to know his son, Jeff, who in his own right became a brilliant businessman, leader and class act. Getting to know the Razwicks, and so many of the folks that worked with them, it was easy to see why they were having such amazing success.

But amid such success, and this is a big thing for me, they continued to serve and support our industry extremely well. They could’ve pulled their company support when they had explosive growth, but they didn’t. And as an industry guy, I will always appreciate that. Not only did Jerry and Jeff truly care about their industry and their product, but they also cared about the people who worked at TGP. They were determined to do things the right way, and I think they did exactly that. This chapter may be over, but I hope Jerry and Jeff stay in contact with our world. If not, it was a great pleasure and honor getting to know them and I thank them for all they have done.


  • This week Vitro announced that Ricardo Maiz would be named president, and I’m thrilled. I have known Ricardo for many years and he’s a tremendous man with talent that I couldn’t even dream of having. He will do a fantastic job in his new role. 

  • Speaking of new roles, I also saw Linetec promoted Tammy Schroeder to marketing manager. Every time I have ever interacted with Tammy I always leave so impressed by her talent, approach and vision. She’s been kicking butt at Linetec for 19 years, and I am sure with her new gig that greatness will continue! 

  • Please don’t forget about Thirsty Thursday this week. Security Glazing for Schools is the subject and it’s really a good presentation. Register here.

  • Once again this year I have the honor of being on the BEC Program Planning committee and I can tell you that agenda has really come along nicely. Most people will say they come to BEC for the networking, and that will obviously still be in play. But this year the depth of the subject matter, with a focus on the glazing community, makes the event even more valuable. Obviously, as a former host and chair of this event, I am extremely biased, but I sincerely see it worth your time.

  • I about went crazy when I saw this headline: “Glass Towers Are So Passé. What Will Replace Them?” But the article was less inflammatory than the headline and, quite frankly, the author showed a job or two with a great amount of glass. I think there are people who truly don’t understand the way glass can interact with other building materials. People are not designing the 1980s-style all-reflective glass box anymore. Read for yourself and decide…

  • Last this week, for my friends in Denver and Kansas City, is this really a thing? “Denverization” is the theme…

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, December 10, 2018

Finding skilled labor is the number one challenge for most construction companies. Despite offering apprenticeships and partnering with trade schools and high schools, the industry is still struggling to recruit the next generation. However, one emerging segment is trying to raise awareness of opportunities in the industry and put the fun into construction: construction-themed amusement parks.

The parks provide a hands-on construction experience with real, heavy-duty equipment that grown-ups and young people can explore, including everything from excavators to dump trucks.

While the purpose is to have fun, at least some of the park owners also see this is as an opportunity to raise awareness about the industry with the future workforce. Randy Stenger, founder of Extreme Sandbox, says on the website that the venture's participants have “had the opportunity to be advocates for the construction industry.” Though Stenger does not have a background in construction, Extreme Sandbox has hosted tours for high schools and camps who are interested in working in the field.

 Participants at Dozer Day 2013. Photo by Dolanh at Flickr

Dozer Day, though not an amusement park per se, is an annual event that “seeks to educate children of all ages about building sustainable communities, industry opportunities and public safety,” according to a statement on the organization’s website. An annual charity event hosted in five locations across the United States, Dozer Day allows children to experience driving heavy-duty equipment under the supervision of a professional operator. Part of the organization’s stated mission is to increase interest in construction and change perceptions of the industry. “As families interact with professionals in these industries, they become aware of the incredible possibilities and industry stereotypes are redefined,” reads a statement on the organization's homepage.

Do these parks and experiences elevate awareness of construction and inspire interest in the industry? Do they have potential to attract the next generation to join the industry? Find some information below about these facilities if you would like to make up your own mind.

(Note: all parks and experiences have specific age restrictions and height requirements. See websites for more details)

Location: West Berlin, New Jersey
Activities: Over 25 attractions, including opportunities to drive a back-hoe, operate a digger, and maneuver a dumper truck.

Location: Hastings, Minnesota; Roseville, Minnesota; Pottsboro, Texas
Activities: Visitors can operate Komatsu equipment, including a wheel loader, bulldozer and excavator.

Location: Las Vegas
Activities: Visitors can drive bulldozers and excavators, mini-excavators and skid steer track loader.

Location: Vancouver, Washington; Yakima, Washington; Seattle; Eastern, Washington/Northern Idaho; Kansas City, Missouri
Activities: With a professional operator, children are invited to experience what it’s like to drive bulldozers, dump trucks, excavators and other heavy equipment.
*This is an annual event – see website for details of locations and dates. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

With the end of the year approaching, my final blog of 2018 is a collection of random thoughts and experiences. Hopefully some will resonate with you.

Let’s discuss terms.

I love the technical terms we use in our industry. “Chicken head” may be the best. Most of us know that term to define the upturned stack-joint leg on an expansion horizontal mullion. In profile, it looks like a “chicken head” when some types of gaskets are applied over top. I first heard the term in 1989, and it has been used since. Can’t we find a better naming convention?

Yes, Mr. Owner, you are buying a high-performance curtain wall with a chicken-head in it. Don’t ask questions. Just smile and nod. “Single leg stack and double leg stack” refer to the type of stack joint typology. One or both can be “chicken heads.” Your stack joint will have one leg or two. Depends on which design-camp you’re in. Both options work just fine. Yes, Mr. Owner, you’re getting a single leg stack that looks like a chicken head. You’ll be okay.

There are many more interesting terms we use: jumbo glass, bellows gasket, bulb gasket; sponge gasket (I have a good story about that one I’ll share another time), V-groove, nub, hook anchor, condensation trough, weep tubes, baffles, peening and more. I’d love to hear your favorite terms in the comment section below.

Let’s move on to the building code.

“Yeah, John, but you guys are designing and engineering to CODE. You are being conservative.” Um, let’s remember that the building code is defined as the “Minimum Requirements” for buildings. Thankfully, we have standards, since most things are “sticky downward” if not defined and benchmarked prescriptively. Being “conservative” or perhaps “wise” in some instances would be designing and engineering to MORE than the codified standard, such as with Factory Mutual specifications.

I am not advocating for conservatism, I am just making the point not to misrepresent the standard. So many of us see the code as the maximum, but it is not. We can design for more egress, better redundancy, better light, ventilation, daylighting, air and water infiltration resistance, and other attributes if owners want a better building product. As design-professionals, we are working and starting with the standard and needing to meet certain requirements. How we interpret and apply our craft within those standards is where we provide value to clients. More on that in a future post.

Next up, U-values and thermal analysis.

We have gotten this comment recently on two different jobs, one from a general contractor and one from a curtain wall consultant (perish at the thought): “Don’t give me standard NFRC boundary conditions. We need the U-values to be calculated based on the local conditions, not the standard.” That’s not right. U-values are based on the standard NFRC boundary conditions. In this way, they are all comparable to the same standard. Dew points can be run for the specific local boundary conditions. This will give insight into condensation issues and whether or not moisture will form on various surfaces. 

Thanks for all that you, the readers, pour into this industry. Thanks to Glass Magazine for this platform and for your advocacy. Thanks to AAMA and NGA technical committee members for your efforts and investments. Thanks to all of you for working together to make the built-world a better place. I count it a privilege to be a part of this meaningful and purposeful work. Make it a wonderful holiday, and I look forward to future connectivity and collaboration.

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.

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