Volume 39, Issue 8, August  2004


Behind Closed Doors: AAMA Task Group Discusses the Future of L/175

Serious implications for the glass industry could be in order if the L/175 edge deflection limitation used in commercial and residential glazing applications is altered. Some in the industry are questioning why the ratio of L/175 is used and whether others would work equally as well (see related article in the July 2001 USGlass, page 56). To further examine the matter, a task group of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) contracted consultants Bill Lingnell and Lynn Beason to conduct a study that looked at the efficacy of a variety of ratios.

The results of that study were discussed at AAMA’s summer meeting during the deflections limit task group session, but have not yet been discussed publicly. The meeting was closed to the press as well as other interested parties. Only AAMA members were allowed in the session, and members were required to sign a confidentiality agreement before attending.

According to Janice Charletta, AAMA’s marketing communications manager, the association had paid a considerable amount of money for research to be performed concerning L/175.

“Some of those results were presented at the meeting as well as what AAMA would do with that information,” Charletta said.

So the question remains, if the edge deflection ratio should change, what implications will it have on the industry? Major implications, according to some curtainwall manufacturers.

“The effect [of changing L/175] would be enormous,” said Charles Williams, P.E, an applications engineer with YKK AP. “It would play around with pricing and it would affect how we analyze the systems.”

Williams explained that L/175 not only governs structural strength, but also the economics of design.

“It is a benchmark for determining how much metal goes into a system. If you adjust that number it will change the way we sell and market [curtainwall].”

Tom Ohmann of the Vistawall Group agreed that changing the L/175 ratio could make a big impact. Ohmann said it would mean having to design stronger systems, which would increase costs.

But what the matter boils down to is the strength of glass. Altering that deflection ratio could mean weaker glass.
“There probably are situations where L/175 is conservative,” said one industry source. “However, the ramifications [of changing it] could be, ultimately, lightening or decreasing the thickness of glass. In all likelihood that could increase breakage because of the thinner glass.”

Bill Deuschle of Traco, who also serves as the AAMA deflections limit task group chairperson, said it is too soon to know what, if any, the implication of changing the ratio would be.

“We have no idea yet, because in general the report is being reviewed by both the residential and architectural side,” Deuschle said. “It [the report] is very technical and there are many ways it can be reviewed. It’s premature to discuss any of it until we fully understand it.”

Deuschle said the task group is hoping to have something in place as far as its technical understanding by June 2005. This could be, for example, a technical information report.

And while there may be concerns among some in the industry that the queries surrounding L/175 stem from a “belief” that vinyl windows can not meet L/175, some say this isn’t necessarily true.

“Vinyl window manufacturers probably could meet L/175,” said one industry source. “They would just need to use a reinforcement.” 

Glazier’s Union Supports Kerry-Edwards Ticket

Members of the glazier’s construction unions are enthusiastically supporting the selection of Sen. John Edwards for the vice presidential slot on the Democratic presidential ticket headed by Sen. John Kerry.

“He is an outstanding choice,” said James Williams, general president for the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. “There is no doubt that his youth, experience and energetic style of campaigning will cross party lines and mobilize voters for a victory in November. This union looks forward to aggressively campaigning and working for him and Senator Kerry. In fact, we’re already out there.”

The union had endorsed Howard Dean until he dropped out of the race.

Other labor groups, however, are not so quick to endorse Kerry or his choice of running mate. “Contractors understand that Kerry-Edwards will mean higher taxes, red tape and more frivolous lawsuits from Edwards’ friends in the trial lawyer lobby,” said Kirk Pickerel, president and chief executive officer of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). “ABC strongly supports the re-election of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney so they can provide four more years of free enterprise leadership for our nation.”

OSHA Panel One Step Closer to Crane Rule
A committee appointed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has reached a consensus on a revised crane and derrick standard for construction, according to an OSHA press release. 
The Crane and Derrick Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, which has been crafting changes to the crane standard since last year, has reached a consensus on major elements of an updated rule. The draft has been submitted to OSHA’s assistant secretary and will continue through the lengthy rulemaking process.

A proposal for operator certification contains options including portable, third-party certification and an in-house alternative for contractors. Concerns about dedicated pile-drivers, rules for those working on barges and electrocution, a leading cause of crane-related fatalities, have also been addressed. 

“This is a significant step forward in protecting the thousands of workers who operate and work around cranes,” said John Henshaw, OSHA administrator. 

East Coast Glass Systems Expands Into New Facility
Commercial glass and glazing contractor East Coast Glass Systems Inc., headquartered in Richmond, Va., has announced its relocation to a new, larger facility. The 50,000-square-foot facility is on a four-acre site bordering downtown Richmond. 

“Due to our significant growth over the years, we were in need of more fabrication, production and office space,” said Daryl E. Forrest Jr., president. “With the increased space we now have our panel and metal fabrication along with assembly all under one roof, with additional outside storage for staging products.”

The facility features computer integration with server connections throughout and a 30-foot wide automatic overhead door in the warehouse. The new door allows industry standard stock lengths of aluminum to be off-loaded, brought into the building and pre-staged for fabrication, without having to double handle.


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