Volume 41, Issue 7 - July 2006

One Step Ahead
GANA’s CGEC Focuses on Industry Topics, Trends and Forecasts

What makes a good project manager? What are some of the recent developments in fire-rated glass? What do I need to know about contract clauses and bid qualifications? These questions and many more were addressed and answered during the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Contract Glazing Educational Conference (CGEC), which took place May 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency DFW International Airport in Dallas. Nearly 100 individuals traveled to the conference to learn more about the industry and how some of the recent changes will affect their businesses.

Field Trip

The event began with a tour of nearby Vistawall Architectural Products in Terrell, Texas. With one-half million square feet of space under one roof, visitors were split into several groups and taken to tour the plant. They were able to view areas such as extruding, painting and anodizing. The company operates two extrusion presses and processes 75,000 pounds of aluminum each day. Attendees were able to view aluminum products that are used in some of the country’s top retailers including Auto Zone, Target, Victoria’s Secret and Wal-Mart.

Also of interest was Vistawall’s horizontal paint line, which, unlike vertical lines, allows touch-ups to be done. The company also makes all of its own tooling and even some of its CNC equipment.

Vistawall officials showed how safety is a number-one priority. In fact, the company had just celebrated 2 million hours without a lost-time injury.

Following the tour, Vistawall hosted a reception for the group at a local country club.

Opening Session

The first day of presentations began with a discussion on what makes a good project manager led by Steve Barber of Arcadia Products Inc. Barber said he wanted the presentation to be interactive and, with that, encouraged dialogue among attendees by asking them questions. The group discussed the importance of hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are the most visible and are more easily taught and learned through training. Soft skills are interactive skills and are people-related. They involve teamwork, communication and leadership.

“They [soft skills] can help build trust with the customer,” said Barber.

Attendee George Crow with the general contracting firm of McCarthy Construction, agreed, and said that in many cases they will ask to work with project managers they know and have worked with in the past.

Barber said there are five crucial soft skills for project managers:

1. Be a forward thinker. In other words know not only where you are now, but also where you want to be. Think about tomorrow and the future and what you need to do to get there.

2. Write two letters ahead. When communicating with customers, know what the response is that you want to receive. When writing (including e-mails) you are informing, requesting or directing your needs. Also pay attention to your tone, especially when writing e-mails or via Blackberries, as it can be misleading.

3. Be a problem-solver. Already have a solution in mind when you’re presenting the issues. Barber encouraged working with others involved to find the answers. “You don’t have to have all the answers,” he said.

4. Know your project scope. Know what it is that you have to do, whether it involves specifications, contract documents, proposals, architectural drawings or structural drawings. Also know and be aware of the scope of adjacent trades (i.e. masonry).

5. Communicate. You need to be able to work well with customers and all parties with whom you have to deal.

Barber concluded saying, “Interper-sonal, problem solving and communication: this is what makes a good project manager.”

Following Barber, Bill O’Keeffe, president of SAFTI First Fire-Rated Glass talked about developments in and differences between fire-rated glass products. One of his key points was describing the differences in fire-protective versus fire-resistive, explaining that fire protective applies to windows and doors and fire resistive applies to walls. Types of fire protective glazing products include specialty tempered, heat-reflective specialty tempered, specialty laminated, wired and safety wired glass and ceramic products. Fire resistive products, he said are either fire-retardant filled glass or multi-laminate fire-retardant glass. He concluded the presentation with an update on the new labeling requirements for fire-rated glass included in the 2006 International Building Code.

Tony Mazza of ICD High Performance Coatings in Vancouver, Wash., next talked about opacification of spandrel glass. He began by explaining that spandrel is glass that is nearly opaque and made for non-vision areas only.

Mazza explained that monolithic tempered units historically have been used in spandrel applications, but that his company has begun to see an increase in the use of insulating glass spandrel applications.

While spandrel glass is not safety glass, Mazza said it does provide fall-out protection in the way of temporary glass retention, no less than 3-inches in diameter. “It is designed to stay in the opening temporarily until it can be replaced.”

He also noted that maintaining the air gap is a critical spandrel installation detail due to moisture and vapor in those areas. “The spandrel gap is a harsh environment and it needs a product that can perform in that area,” he said. “If vapor is trapped against the glass it will stain.”

He concluded by saying, “We know spandrel is just a small portion of your job; take the time to look at it and make sure it’s right.”

Best Practices

The afternoon session rounded out the day’s program with a number of business-focused presentations.

Seth Madole of Viracon talked about ordering practices and procedures that would help to eliminate the opportunity for errors. Tips he shared included the following:

• Maintaining control samples of approved glass types;

• Obtaining an initialed copy of the approved sample tag from the architect;

• Using the approved sample tag for ordering; and

• Communication.

“The more thoroughly we communicate, the less the chance of error,” he said.

Peter Poirier of Tremco made a presentation about his company’s online AIA-approved program on commercial glazing systems. The three chapters of the program focus on glazing terminology and systems, dry glazing and structural glazing systems and at the end of each chapter there is a quiz. Areas addressed include types of products, benefits, installation practices and procedures and standards.

The day’s final presentation was from Henry Taylor of Kawneer who talked about glass and glazing LEED opportunities. 

“There is more to LEED than just recyclable content,” he said. “It looks at the long-term life expectancy of buildings and [LEED] is here to stay; it is not just a trend.”

Of the five LEED credit categories (sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality) two areas in which the glass industry can offer a lot are indoor environmental quality and energy and atmosphere. “These two categories represent more than 50 percent of potential LEED points,” said Taylor.

For example, in the energy and atmosphere category the goal is to optimize energy performance, which can be done through the use of thermal framing systems and high-performance glass. 

Under the indoor environmental quality category the goal is to have 75 percent of the interior working space accessible to natural lighting. Replacing punched openings with ribbon windows can meet this criterion.

Taylor said one of the keys to maximizing LEED is asking the architect what his strategy is for achieving points. “Saying this will impress the architect,” Taylor said. “He wants to hear how you can help him achieve his goals.”

Closing Remarks

The final day began with a look at problem details in storefronts, windows and curtainwalls led by Kirk Osgood of Curtain Wall Design & Consulting Inc. He began by explaining that each project is unique, and said the requirements and considerations for different projects are never the same.

“It’s not only the windows, but how surrounding materials and conditions interface with the windows and curtainwall,” he said. One potentially problematic area about which he cautioned attendees is EIFS, exterior insulation finish systems, or, as Osgood called it, “expect installation failure soon.”

“Cover yourself if you’re trying to put a window in around this,” he said. “If there’s a leak the window guys will be called first.”

With EIFS, Osgood said, sealants must be applied to the base coat, not the finish coat; determining the coat thickness is also difficult. He added that a consistent coating depth is hard to achieve.

Another morning speaker, Thomas Culp with Birch Point Consulting LLC, introduced attendees to the 2006 International Building Code. Some of the points he covered included changes that affect fire resistance, structural design and testing, glazing requirements and energy efficiency (Turn to page 80 to read Culp’s detailed look at the 2006 IBC).

Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia Inc. and GANA president gave the day’s final presentation on North American laminated glass trends. She provided product descriptions of laminated glass, as well as processing trends, application trends and also protective glazing. She explained the differences in safety glazing (protection from unintentional damages to glass) and security glazing (protection against intentional attacks).

Attendee Reaction

After two days of presentations and discussions, those who took part were able to take home an abundance of knowledge.

Oscar Echevarria and Jonathan Johnson, both with PCC Construction Components in Gaithersburg, Md., were first-time conference attendees who said they learned a great deal that will be beneficial to their work.

“The information presented was very good,” said Echevarria. “We really got a lot out of attending.” They agreed some of the presentations that were especially helpful to them were the laminated glass discussion, Osgood’s design discussion and the presentation on spandrel from the previous day.

Plans for the 2007 CGEC are still in the works and more information about the conference and GANA are available online at www.glasswebsite.com.

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