Volume 38, Issue 8, August 2003
Get with the System
PGC Symposium Focuses on Protective Glazing Technologies
by Ellen Giard Chilcoat
The need for security and safety glazing, whether it is achieved with laminated glass or window film, is continuing to grow. One group striving to educate on all aspects of protective glazing is the Protective Glazing Council (PGC). The group met June 2-3 in San Francisco for its symposium, “Fenestration Applications of the Future.” More than 80 people from the glass and film industries, members of the government and even architects were in attendance.
“We had a good turnout. We really tried to reach more of the design community to bring more of them on board, so there were more strides in that direction,” said Scott Haddock, PGC president. He added that the program was designed to be as informative and educational as possible.
A number of topics were discussed during the general membership meeting, which officially launched the symposium.
“The association is growing,” said Stan Smith, PGC executive director. He reported that there were 46 full members, two associate members and two individual members at the time of the meeting.
Brian Pitman, IT manager, provided the website report.
“There’s been quite an evolution since last year’s report,” said Pitman. “We had more than 2,000 visits this May, [up] from 300 visits last year.”
Also discussed during the meeting was the possibility of consolidating as a division of the Glass Association of North America (GANA). The PGC is looking into forming a task group to further explore this possibility and how being a GANA division would affect it.
In addition, the PGC elected its board of directors and officers. The following were elected as officers: Scott Haddock, Glasslock, president; Julie Schimmelpenningh, Solutia, vice president; Sara Perron, Viracon, secretary; and Darrell Smith, AIMCAL, treasurer. Board members elected were: Joseph L. Smith, Applied Research Associates Inc.; Mike Lowak, Baker Engineering and Risk Consultants; Nick Routh, Bekaert Specialty Films; Greg Carney, GANA; Jay Larkin, Madico; Ken Hays, Masonry Arts, and Eric Facy, Traco.
Recognizing Protective Glazing
The following morning began the first of two sessions. Routh chaired the session, which was titled “The Need for Protective Glazing Technology.”
Discussing various measures taken by the Smithsonian Institute since September 11 was Doug Hall from the Office of Protection Services.
“We’ve learned a lot and executed knowledge in a short amount of time,” he said.
Prior to September 11, he explained, the Smithsonian had a low perception of terrorism.
“It wasn’t something that seemed that important, but September 13 was a big day [for us]. That’s when we figured out what we needed for security. Our perceptions changed.”
According to Hall, education was the first step. They learned what other agencies were doing for security, and they also had risk assessments done and worked with consultants.
“Blast analyses gave us a good idea as to how buildings would perform.”
Concerning glass specifically, Hall said they learned that glass hazards can come from natural and man-made disasters. “We don’t have to be the target of a terrorist attack to feel the impact,” he said.
Hall was followed by three speakers, who each provided updates on various testing criteria.
The first speaker was Bruce Hall of the General Services Administration (GSA), who spoke on the ISC Testing Standards and Criteria. Specifically, Hall talked about the government testing progress with regards to blast-resistant windows.
“Immediately following the GSA bombing in Oklahoma City we began developing criteria to design embassy-type buildings.” He explained that testing was a required element to demonstrate the product’s performance claims.
“Protective glazings are not off-the-shelf commodities. They are engineered systems,” he said.
Mike Lowak of Baker Engineering next discussed DOD and DOS blast and security criteria for windows.
“The intent is to minimize the probabilities of mass casualties,” he said.
Next, Willie Hirano of the GSA and Holly Stone of Hinman Consulting Engineers discussed access and egress demonstration tests on blast-resistant windows. The two talked about results from demonstration testing that was to determine how long it would take to breach windows with film and laminated glass. The testing set out to answer this question: are blast-resistant products creating a problem for more typical occurrences, such as fires?
In the demonstrations, standard fire-fighting tools, such as a variety of axes, were used. Tests were also timed to see how long it would take to break through the glass. A total of 28 mockups were tested that were composed of film, laminated single lites, laminated insulating units (IGUs), annealed and thermally tempered glass.
Lessons learned through the testing, Hirano and Hinman reported, included:
• Forcible entry of blast-resistant windows that meet GSA requirements is possible;
• It’s beneficial for firefighters to know what type of windows to expect in buildings; and
• Laminated or filmed glass may be safer than untreated annealed glass for firefighters.
Window Film and Glass Technologies
Smith, who is also executive director of the International Window Film Association, led the next presentation, titled “Innovation in Surface Applied Film Technologies.” He began by clearing up some common myths about window film.
“Window film will not make glazing bullet-resistant. It is not blast-resistant—it helps control glass fragment hazards in a blast event,” Smith said.
He also noted that window film does not make glass stronger, it is not made from other finished films and it is not made in the same way by all manufacturers.
“They all perform differently under different applications,” he said. He also explained that [security] film should not be specified without the assistance of the manufacturer or security consultant.
Next, Greg Carney of GANA discussed “Innovations in Glass Technology.”
“Glass has become a symbol associated in our minds with progress,” he said. Carney talked about glass evolutions, beginning with the first IGUs in the 1940s, tinted glass in the 1950s, float glass technology in the 1960s, tempered and laminated products in the 1970s, low-E glass in the 1980s and glass with increased performance capabilities into the late 1980s.
For the 1990s, 2000 and beyond?
“Performance continues to change,” Carney said. “We’re looking to glazing material for security, safety and protection.”
Other innovations the industry is seeing, he explained, include spectrally selective glass and multi-performance coatings.
The Industry’s Needs
The afternoon session, which was chaired by Viracon’s Christine Shaffer, began with a greeting from Aren Almon-Kok from the Protecting People First Foundation (PPFF). Almon-Kok’s daughter Bailey was killed during the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Since then she has created the PPFF, which is working to educate people of the dangers of blast-related hazards, such as flying glass.
“We have the same goal [as you], and that’s making people safer,” she said. “People should expect to be in a safer building.”
Keith Boswell, an architect with Skidmore Owings & Merrill LP provided the presentation “Protective Glazing from an Architect’s Perceptive.”
“We deal with complete building systems … We tend to be generalists,” he said. “[We] understand project by project, case by case what makes sense for a specific project.”
Boswell discussed three examples of projects that incorporated protective glazing and what was involved in each.
Seismic applications were next discussed by Solutia Inc.’s Julie Schimmelpenningh.
“Every year, 500,000 [seismic] events are detectable; 100,000 are felt by humans,” she said. “One hundred cause damage, and Alaska is most prone to seismic [damage].” With the meeting taking place in San Francisco, she also added that in the week prior the city had experienced 467 earthquakes.
Schimmelpenningh’s presentation covered various levels of seismic activity (light, moderate and severe) and the amount and types of damage that each causes typically.
She was followed by John Bush of Oldcastle Glass, who talked about hurricane applications. Like many of the day’s earlier speakers, Bush stressed the importance of looking at the entire glazing system.
“Hurricane-resistant glazing is part of a system,” he said. “What is the system? All components of the fenestration. It must be installed the way it is tested. If you change a component, the system may fail.”
He explained that both impact testing and pressure cycling testing are crucial criteria. Bush said that three identical specimens must be tested at the maximum size being sold.
Aaron Jackson from Technical Glass Products provided a presentation on fire-resistant applications that are also bullet-resistant and forced-entry-resistant. He, too, stressed that for the best performance the entire system—the glass and frame—must perform.
The next presenter was Tony Piscitelli of American Defense Systems Inc. Piscitelli discussed bullet-resistant applications.
The final presentation came from Joe Smith with Applied Research Associates, who talked about anti-terrorism technology and blast applications.
He began by discussing the history of threats, asking the question, “Did the threat begin on 9/11?”
“We looked at history over the past years—bombings, terrorist attacks, etc.—Americans have long been the target of terrorism. September 11 didn’t change the threat, but changed our perception of the event.”
Important for Everyone
Regardless of whether symposium attendees came from the glass industry, the window film industry, the government or the design community, the goal of the PGC’s symposium was universal.
“We represent protective glazing as a whole,” said Haddock. He explained that the group works to provide a credible, unbiased source of information for all aspects of the glazing industry, the design community and the federal government.
For Mike Sebold of Tremco Inc., a new member of the PGC, the program was helpful.
“I was very pleased to see an organization coordinating efforts in this emerging market. Having a life-safety issue, such as blast-resistant glazing, impacting and changing the way our company both designs and manufactures glazing systems, is new for an arguably traditional industry,” said Sebold. “Having an organization like the PGC providing valuable information on GSA, DOS and DOD criteria has helped Tremco in developing glazing systems for this market.”
Sara Perron, protective glazing product manager for Viracon, agreed that the symposium, as well as the organization, are important resources.
“The PGC spring symposium offered valuable insight and detailed information on issues, standards and products related to the protective glazing industry,” she said. “Viracon is a member of the PGC for many reasons, one being the group’s commitment in supporting and developing industry standards, providing us the opportunity to get involved in the process and stay up-to-date with the industry in general.”
|The PGC will hold its next meeting November 18-20 in Washington, D.C. At press time, no specific location had been chosen. For more information on the PGC and its meetings, visit www.protectiveglazing.org.|
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