Volume 34, Number 7, July 1999


Industry News


Diamond Seal Gains Additional Licensee

Diamond Seal Inc. of Salt Lake City has licensed B&W Glass of Cheyenne, WY, as its exclusive agent in Southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. Diamond Seal has 46 North America licensees including: The House of Glass in Santa Maria, CA; MicroMed in Orange County, CA; Crystal Clear Glass Coatings in Reno, NV; and Northwest Glass Coatings in Lewiston, ID.

CH Holdings Completes Purchase of Harmon

When the imminent purchase of Harmon Ltd by CH Holdings (see April USGlass, page 14) was announced, many in the industry wondered what changes would occur within the companies. But now that the sale is final, Peter Koukos, president of Harmon Ltd., said it will remain "business as usual" for the company. "I don’t really see any changes to our business except that our backlog has grown," he said.

Harmon Ltd. of Minneapolis joins CH Holding’s existing curtainwall companies, Cupples Products and Cupples International. According to Gregg Sage, chief executive officer and principal stockholder of CH Holdings Inc., each of the companies will remain separate and autonomous. Sage said Harmon will purchase curtainwall contracts in the United States while Cupples International will focus solely on international curtainwall projects. Cupples Products Inc. will no longer contract with general contractors or owners to furnish and install curtainwall systems. Instead, it will act as exclusive supplier of curtainwall to Cupples International and be one of several curtainwall suppliers to Harmon.

Koukos expects the combining of Cupple’s and Harmon to generate more than $100 million in sales in the current fiscal year.


Congress Considers Energy-Efficient Legislation

David Nemtzow, president of the Washing-ton DC-based Alliance to Save Energy, testified be-fore the House Committee on Ways and Means to urge lawmakers to pass legislation introduced by Rep. Bill Thomas, R-CA. Nemtzow represented the Coalition for Energy-Efficient Homes which is comprised of 50 organizations. If passed, HR 1358 would offer a $2,000 tax credit to homebuilders for constructing energy-efficient homes that exceed the 1998 International Energy Conser-vation Code by 30 percent or more. The tax credit would also apply to the nation’s 100 million existing homes. Homeowners would be eligible for a tax credit for 20 percent of the cost of improvement on any section of their home brought up to current code.

Rep. Robert Matsui, D-CA, offered a bill similar to Thomas’ last year as part of President Clinton’s Climate Change Technology Initiative. Clinton is expected to release the administration’s home energy tax credit plan later this year as part of this initiative. However, according to Nemtzow, both Clinton’s and Matsui’s plans contain a stringent qualifying level of 50 percent above code. Although Nemtzow commends both men for encouraging energy-efficient construction, he says the expected administration proposal, which will be similar to Matsui’s bill, will "severely limit" the number of builders interested in qualifying due to added cost, engineering considerations and weak incentive structure.


NFRC Approves U-Factor Rating Procedures

A new procedure for the rating and certifying of the U-factor performance of site-built products has been approved by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The new procedure covers products that are designed to be field-glazed, or field-assembled units. It exempts manufacturers of site-built products from providing a production line unit as a test sample as part of the certification process and creates a new "label certificate," according to the NFRC. The label takes the place of the NFRC temporary and permanent labels and must be on the job site no later than the installation of the first complete fenestration product.


PPG to Acquire PRC-DeSoto International

PPG Industries of Pittsburgh, will acquire PRC-DeSoto International Inc. of Glendale, CA, from Akzo Nobel N.V. for $512.5 million. PRC-DeSoto, formerly Courtaulds Aerospace Inc. (see USGlass, April, pg. 23) a supplier of coatings and sealants, was acquired by Akzo Nobel in June 1998. The deal, pending regulatory approval, should be concluded by the end of July.

"PPG technologies will reinforce and expand PRC-DeSoto’s well-respected product line with water-borne and clear coatings, surface pretreatment products and chemical management," said Raymond LeBoeuf, PPG chief executive.

Binswanger Glass Acquires Liberty Glass

Binswanger Glass of Memphis, TN, and a retail division of VVP America, has acquired Liberty Glass of Austin, TX. "The Liberty Glass reputation and business mix make the company a perfect addition to the two existing Binswanger Glass locations in the Austin area," said Tom Sistrunk, vice president and general manager of Binswanger. Jay Winn [former owner and president of Liberty] and the other employees of Liberty Glass will continue in their duties as employees of Binswanger Glass.



Pittsburgh-based TRACO received an honorable mention for its "Partners: Building Together" product binder at the 1999 Specifications Competition sponsored by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). The binder was selected due to its color-coded index and tabs, its half-scale drawings and its complete specifications for each product that follows the CSI Master Format, according to the company.

Glass Industry Companies Honored by Inc. Magazine

Crystal Window & Door Systems Ltd. of Flushing, NY, has been honored by Inc. magazine and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) as one of the Inner City 100. The award is an unprecedented list of the fastest-growing businesses based in America’s urban areas. Crystal, ranked 34th, had a sales growth rate of 296 percent for the period 1993 through 1997 and was the sole window and door manufacturer to be recognized, according to the company.

Giroux Glass of Los Angeles was ranked 28th on the list. The company performs subcontracting work for contractors and employs 138 people. Its gross revenues have increased 300 to 350 percent over the past several years. Along with the location in Los Angeles, the company recently opened an office in Las Vegas.


ANSI Committee Votes to Accept GICC

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z97.1 Standards Committee voted overwhelmingly to accept the Glazing Industry Codes Committee (GICC) as secretariat of the committee and to move forward with the review and approval of the standard on the assumption that the members would bear the cost of the secretariat.

With the resignation of the Safety Glazing Certification Council as secretariat, the future of the ANSI Z97.1 Safety Glazing Standard has looked uncertain. But, now that both the standards committee and ANSI have accepted the GICC as secretariat, it appears the ANSI Z97.1 Standards Committee is ready to move forward.

According to Kim Mann, GICC general counsel, the GICC will create an affiliated corporate entity to carry out the functions of secretariat, which will be named the Glazing Industry Secretariat Committee. Mann added that the GICC’s next steps are to nominate a standards committee chairman. He also said the GICC will propose that John Kent assume this position. The standards committee will then have to vote on whether Kent should serve as committee chair.


Lilly Industries to Close Three Plants

Robert A. Taylor, president and chief operating officer of Lilly Ind. of Indianapolis, announced plans to close three manufacturing facilities. Plans are to close the plants located in Dothan, AL, Paulsboro, NJ, and Woodbridge, CT, by the middle of next year. Due to the closures, 75 positions will be eliminated, according to Taylor. "These closures represent the continuation of our ongoing programs to increase operating efficiency and capacity utilization," he said.

JLM Purchases Warehouse Operations of Everett Dukes Assoc.

JLM Wholesale of Oxford, MI, has purchased the warehouse operations of Everett Dukes Associates of Charlotte, NC. The new business will be called JLM Wholesale SE/Everett Dukes Inc. The Bradley washroom accessories, grab bars, Koala baby changing stations, Locknetics security engineering, Precision exit devices and Excel hand dryers are all available at the new location. Also available at both locations are all of the product lines stocked by JLM.


HY-TECH Glass Names North American Agent

Intercontinental Glass Technologies (IGT Glass) has been named the North American manufacturing representative for Butzberg, Switzerland-based HY-TECH Glass. IGT Glass, based out of Scottsdale, AZ, will supply HY-TECH’s LUXAR antireflective glass and spry mirror to North America.


Window Manufacturers Targeted in Product Liability Suits

While product liability litigation has long run rampant in many industries, window manufacturers may be turning into the next popular target. According to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), lawsuits, which began in San Diego, have spread to Los Angeles, Oregon, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Texas and threaten to spread into other areas. "The problem centers on collateral damage to structures, stained or discolored interior wall surfaces and trim due to alleged window leakage," said Ken Reid, a former California-based window manufacturer and AAMA member, in an article which appeared in AAMA’s April newsletter. Reid now serves as an expert witness on behalf of window companies, installers and developers in defense of these lawsuits. While the problem first surfaced in condo projects, particularly in San Diego, Reid said the phenomenon is spreading to single-family developments.

According to Reid, a serious potential leakage liability involves personal injury claims due to severe allergic reactions that some people have to the molds that grow in moistened areas inside the walls. Reid told of one case where plaintiffs are asking for $3.9 million ($1.3 million from the window manufacturer) after Stachbotrys-atra, a ‘killer’ strain of mold, was identified in the wall cavity.

Reid said it is rumored that law firms are taking photos of houses under construction, making notes of potential problem areas with the notion of looking for supposed leakage-related problems eight to ten years later, then filing a lawsuit on behalf of all the homeowners in the development. General contractors, installers, window manufacturers, siding installers or stucco contractors are among those parties named in the lawsuit.

"Our position is because the windows were certified products when purchased the product design and fabrication is not the problem," said Reid. "So there is no reason to replace them."


Syn-Tec was inadvertently omitted on the list of exhibitors for the iGm/FW ’99 show (see May USGlass, page 42); The reference to the sale of TRACO (see May USGlass, page 60), was juxtapositioned. The article should have referenced TRACO’s purchase of Skytech Systems. We regret the errors.


Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.