Demand for high-tech glazing systems prompts Enclos, ASI deal

February 6, 2007
COMMERCIAL
Sophisticated glazing elements such as glass-clad tension structures, monumental skylights, point-supported systems and cable nets are in ever-growing demand from architects.

“There is a conversion underway in the marketplace as newer [curtain wall] technology replaces the more conventional in more and larger applications,” says Mic Patterson, director of preconstruction services for Advanced Structures Inc. in Los Angeles. “While the desire for transparency drove the early development of this technology, performance is increasingly the driver toward more sophisticated facade and enclosure systems.”

To better serve this growing demand, Enclos Corp. of Eagan, Minn., acquired ASI, a design and engineering firm for specialty structures and façades, according to Enclos officials.

“About 50 percent of Enclos’ projects contain some portion of these ASI-type systems,” says Gregg Sage, Enclos president and chief executive officer. “Before the acquisition, Enclos had the expertise and experience to engineer significant monumental steel and glass wall systems. The acquisition increases the breadth and depth of Enclos’ in-house expertise in this area.”

Steve Burnett, president of Walters & Wolf Curtain Wall in Seattle, says the industry-wide effects of the deal depend on whether ASI serves exclusively for Enclos.

“If they are going 100 percent to Enclos, then they’re out of the industry,” Burnett says.

Enclos designs, engineers, fabricates and installs curtain wall systems. The acquisition increases Enclos’ design team from about 75 to 95. The 20 additional designers and engineers from ASI will work out of one office in Los Angeles, focusing exclusively on monumental wall systems, Sage says.

While Enclos will continue to perform the same range of work, the addition of ASI will allow the company to increase its involvement on the more sophisticated systems.

“We strive to be a leader in curtain wall technology; we also want to be a leader in similar technologies that go hand-in-hand with our curtain wall systems, and ASI should give us that ability,” Sage says. “We can now control our own research and development efforts regarding new technology in this area, rather than relying on a supplier.”

This ability also serves general contractors by providing a “one-stop-shop,” Sage says.

For ASI, the deal provides the firm with the organizational and financial backing to keep up with the growing demand, Patterson says. “ASI led the introduction of this new technology. But if it is to maintain a leadership position as the technology matures, it must have the operational depth and financial strength necessary to keep pace with the potential growth.”

The details of the deal were not released.