Volume 37, Issue 11, November 2002



ANSI Appeals Panel Recommends New Secretariat Liaison for Z97

In a highly unusual move that could be viewed as a victory for some wired glass opponents, an ANSI appeals panel has recommended the replacement of the Z97 committee’s secretariat liaison and legal counsel. 

The Glazing Industry Secretariat Committee (GISC) was formed by the Glazing Industry Code Committee (GICC), to serve as Z97 secretariat “to establish an arms’ length relationship with the secretariat” and is comprised of five members chosen from GICC membership. According to the appeals panel, three of the five members have wired glass interests, including Thomas Zaremba, legal counsel to Pilkington Ltd., who was also designated liaison to the Z97 committee.

According to the appeals panel, “because of the dual representation of interests by Mr. Zaremba, i.e., Pilkington Ltd., and the GISC, the perception of undue influence or dominance is created. Therefore, to avoid this perception in the future, the panel recommends that GISC designate a liaison representative to the Z97 committee who represents a more neutral interest in the actions of the committee.” 

This position, according to Valerie Block, Z97 chairperson, has not yet been filled.

In addition, the panel noted that GISC legal counsel, Kim Mann, “at one time represented the wired glass interests.” Reportedly, at the appeals hearing Mann stated he “no longer has that client relationship.” Thus, the panel “suggests that in the future the Z97 committee consider utilizing legal counsel without a current or recent client interest in the actions of the Z97 committee.”

In addition to the appeal concerning the secretariat for the committee, the appeals panel heard two other issues. The second issue concerned the Z97 committee’s action on a negative ballot from O’Keeffe’s Inc. on the November 2000 ASC Z97 letter ballot. The panel determined “that the decision to hold a letter ballot in response to O’Keeffe’s request (issue three) made this issue moot.”

The third concerned O’Keeffe’s “request for a letter ballot on resolution of O’Keeffe’s November 2000 negative ballot.” Concerning the third issue, the panel “concluded that O’Keeffe’s request for a letter re-ballot on the issue of acceptance of a Class C for wired glass be granted.” It also recommended that the ballot’s results be final and “unless significant, new, non-anecdotal information is presented, the issue remain settled.”

A re-ballot by mail is expected within the next few months.

ICC Membership Approves Code Change to Eliminate Wired Glass

Although the International Code Council’s (ICC) recent International Building Code (IBC) hearings, membership voted 300 to 158 in favor of changing IBC section 2406.1 to eliminate the lower test standard applied to fire-rated wired glass and to require compliance with the CPSC safety glazing standards in all occupancies, the vote failed by five votes to meet the two-thirds majority required for adoption.

However, ICC membership did approve a more narrow code change that will eliminate the exemption in educational occupancies (schools K-12) and require safety glazing in athletic facilities to meet CPSC Category II impact-test requirements.

“We’re confident that the code proposal to eliminate the wired glass exception altogether will pass during the next IBC code development cycle,” said Kate Steele, code consultant of SAFTI, a division of O’Keeffe’s Inc. “However, we have a feeling that many of the 300 building officials who voted in favor of eliminating the exception aren’t going to wait that long.”

Crittall Windows Winds Major Judgment Against Hopes
Crittall Windows Ltd., a United States-owned British company, has obtained a contempt judgment against Hope’s Architectural Products Inc. of Jamestown, N.Y.

According to a release issued by Crittall, on October 3 the United States District Court for the Western district of New York found Hope’s in willful, civil contempt for violating a court order that required it to stop using and distributing promotional and marketing material that included certain historical references. 

Reportedly, the conflict between Crittall and Hopes arose in 1996 with Crittall filing a lawsuit requesting damages and injunctive relief based upon Hope’s advertising slogans that claimed it had been in business “since 1818” or “for over 175 years.” According to Crittall, Hope’s Architectural Products was founded in 1982 and changed its name to Hope’s Windows Inc. in 1998.

In the suit, Crittall “demanded” that Hope’s [its main U.S. competitor] stop “claiming the legacy of Henry Hope & Sons Ltd. and its wholly owned North American subsidiary, the original Hope’s Windows Inc.,” both of which were merged into Crittall in 1965. The lawsuit ended with a stipulated judgment that was made an order of the court on September 22, 2000.

The two-year court order, according to Crittall, required Hope’s to stop using the phrase “since 1818” or any similar phrase that implied it had been in business for almost 200 years. The order also required Hope’s to recall all sales material that contained language in violation of the order from employees and independent representatives.

However, Crittall claims that Hope’s did not recall the materials and continued to publish materials that violated the order. Therefore, the court found Hope’s “in willful contempt” and awarded Crittall more than $125,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs. Hope’s was also warned that “any further violations of the order ‘may be referred to the U.S. Attorney’s office for investigation and possible prosecution for criminal contempt.’”

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling and its recognition of the seriousness of this matter,” said Michael Vlock, chairperson of Crittall Windows Ltd. and Crittall North America. “This ruling speaks to the integrity of the architectural preservation communities and to the consumer who should be able to make decisions based on accurate advertising claims. For years we’ve been demanding that Hope’s stop trading on our legacy. They have claimed responsibility for countless jobs we did years before they went into business, and customers were calling the wrong company.” He continued, “We don’t mind competition, but the competition should sell on its own merits, not ours. We finally got a court order two years ago and they violated it. I trust this ruling puts an end to it.”

Representatives from Hope’s were unavailable for comment. 


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