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Volume 41,   Issue 2       February 2006

Dear USG

Y2K Miscalculations

Dear USG:

Let me begin by saying how much all of us here enjoy Lyle Hill’s columns. USGlass is one magazine we usually start reading from the back since we can count on it bringing a smile to our faces. His wit and wisdom are a gift to the rest of us in this industry.

I have one comment on his calculations since Y2K, which appeared in the December 2005 column, “Wrapping Things Up!” If he purchased a generator with a five-year warranty, we hate to tell you, but it’s been expired for a year already. It’s actually six years old since the year 2000 counts for one of those years. Time really does fly, doesn’t it?

Anyway, we wish you the best for 2006 and look forward to the next issue.

Greg, Randy and Steve Geels
Vogel Paint & Glass Inc.
Sioux City, Iowa

Putting Performance Ratings to the Test

Dear USG:

A major storefront manufacturer issued a specification data sheet for its storefront system that will perform in a water infiltration test up to 8 pounds per square feet (PSF), which roughly equals 57 miles per hour (mph) wind speed. Their installation manual further shows the method of installing and sealing the system such that it should perform to 8 PSF. When we requested a field water test, the manufacturer quoted that the test should be allowed only to 6.24 PSF (50 mph), which is only two-thirds of the 8 PSF specified.

As consultants, do we recommend to a building owner that when he buys an 8 PSF wall, and when wind speeds exceed the equivalent of 6.24 PSF during a driving rainstorm, that he remove furniture from the storefront area? When the wind hits the equivalent of 8 PSF do we recommend he have a handyman stand by with a shop-vac to absorb the excess water?

Is it not industry standard to specify a performance that can be met? What is the purpose of specified criteria that cannot be verified with field-testing of an equivalent load?

Peter M. Muller
Curtainwall Consultant
Peter M. Muller Inc.

Committed to Training

Dear USG:

I am writing in response to some comments that were made in your December 2005 issue’s article titled Home Sweet Home? 2006 Forecast by Charles Cumpston.

Near the end of the article, Mike Swanberg of MTH Industries is quoted to say “As an industry, we do a poor job of training our people. Years ago, Kawneer, PPG and, to a lesser degree, Amarlite, were the ones training most of the people in our industry. With foreign competition and other market factors causing them to reduce their costs, I understand why they could no longer afford to have the training programs they once had. As an industry, we need to figure out how we can better train the next generation if we’re to succeed in the future.” 

Kawneer has conducted training for customers since the late 1940s on an ongoing basis. We were the first architectural systems company to make this commitment and our training programs have grown and flourished ever since. Although it is true that we’re facing more foreign competition in recent years, we have not deemphasized our training programs. We regularly conduct training programs that focus on product application, estimating, fabrication and installation of our products. Additionally, we provide training for navigation of our website, our e-commerce site, our estimating software, selling skills, etc. During 2005, we conducted 31 customer training programs with over 400 participants. We are actually conducting more training programs today than we ever have in the past. In fact, we’re now doing a considerable number of programs at our customers’ facilities to make it easier for their employees to participate and to help reduce the expenses involved with traveling to regional sessions. These on-site programs continue to grow in popularity and we’ll continue to provide them to assist in the education of our customers.

As we enter our centennial year, we remain committed to providing the best training programs in our industry. We completely agree with Swanberg’s assessment that we need to train the next generation. And even though the competitive pressures continue to mount, at Kawneer we recognize the value of these programs to our customers and will continue to explore new and more effective ways to educate and inform. After all, the best designed products in the world are really only as good as the people installing them.

Bob Leyland
Vice President of Sales
Kawneer Company Inc.
Norcross, Ga.

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