Volume 42, Issue 7 - July 2007

All in the Details
Key Themes for GANA’s Contract Glazing Educational Conference
by Ellen Giard

If there was just one word to describe the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Contract Glazing Educational Conference (CGEC), it would have to be “details”—details in everything from project management, to glass products to jobsite safety. Conference speakers carried this message throughout the two days of presentations, May 16-18, at the Hilton Atlanta Airport Hotel in Atlanta. Eighty project managers, estimators and many others involved in glass and glazing took part in the conference, which also included a tour of Arch Aluminum & Glass’s plant in Villa Rica, Ga. (see sidebar). The range of topics on the agenda generated strong discussions among the crowd. Here’s a look back on just some of what was covered.

The Procurement Process
GANA’s Greg Carney, technical director, began the conference with a discussion on the procurement process chapter of the GANA Project Managers Reference Manual. He began by asking everyone in the audience to stand.

“Anyone who has not yet examined the glass in [his] hotel room window, please sit down,” Carney said. No one sat. Next, he said, “If you think you could tell me the make-up of the outboard lite, please continue standing.” A few people sat down. The third, “If you think you could tell me the strength of the inboard lite, please remain standing,” left only Don McCann from Viracon standing. Carney then asked him, “Can you tell me how old the IG unit is?”

“I didn’t look at the spacer,” McCann answered. 

“The IG units will be 20 next year,” said Carney. “These are all details,” he said, explaining how critical attention to detail is during the procurement process of project management. Carney covered areas such as creating a project checklist, contract and schedule requirements, submittals, approvals and many others, as well as the project manager’s roles and responsibilities. 

Under specification requirements, for example, he stressed the importance of crosschecking the architectural drawings and the specifications to ensure conformity.

“If you don’t check the documents to make sure that what everyone says is going to be on the building is actually there, you’re going to be in trouble,” said Carney.

He encouraged everyone to pay attention to all of the elements in all of the stages. “The procurement process is complex and difficult to manage,” Carney said. “Success is found with constant and extreme attention to detail.”

Playing it Safe
Jim Waugaman with Turner Construction gave a presentation about the importance of job safety.

“Everyone’s involved with safety, wherever you’re working,” Waugaman said. “Pre-planning is the most important part; that’s where we’re proactive instead of reactive. You can head off a lot of problems then before they arise in the field.”

Unfortunately, Waugaman said, the pre-planning stage is often skipped because contractors and subcontractors say they don’t have the time, costs are too high or they just see it as unnecessary. Pre-planning, though, can help reduce risk, create a safe work environment and improve productivity and profitability.

“Pre-planning is a review of means and methods before and during construction, in order to identify and reduce risks associated with workers and the general public.”

Mike Minkoff from Bruce Wall Systems Corp. talked about the production and logistics chapter of the GANA Project Managers Reference Manual. Part of this, he explained, is managing suppliers and determining what exactly they are bringing to the project as far as their skills and abilities.

“Overseeing supplier activity during procurement and production does not mean micro-management,” Minkoff said. “A key element of managing production and logistics is establishing communication with suppliers.”

Other key elements he noted include order acknowledgement and tracking site schedules and changes.

Unitized Curtainwall
Henry Taylor of Kawneer made a presentation about unitized curtainwall systems and how they are different than stick-built systems. He explained these systems are now becoming more popular because they can reduce field labor.

With a stick system, Taylor said, the wall is assembled by components, piece-by-piece, onsite. “It’s very dependent on field labor, but it’s very flexible and you can start on it at different levels,” Taylor said.

He continued, “Unitized goes up in modules and it’s all built in a controlled factory environment.” This, he explained, shifts the responsibility for quality control from the field workers to the shop workers.

Next, Taylor provided a step-by-step look at the unitized process, from shop fabrication and glazing, shipping, hoisting and installing the unit. He advised that forming a partnership early on with the whole building team is critical.

“The earlier you assemble the team, the better off you will be,” Taylor said.

Structural Glazing
Three sessions focused on various aspects of structural glazing, beginning with John Kimberlain of Dow Corning Corp. who shared his company’s silicone sealant structural glazing presentation. He explained that in these applications the silicone sealant provides the adhesion, compatibility and strength that this type of glazing demands.

There are two types of structural silicone glazing. The first, two-sided, gives a building a ribbon-like look. Four-sided creates a total-glass look. The session also included a structural glazing panel discussion by Kimberlain, Don Earnheart from Trainor Glass and Kawneer’s Taylor. Taylor reminded everyone that, to many in the curtainwall industry, “structural glazing” is just glass. When talking about structural silicone glazing it includes many other components including mullions, spacers, structural silicone, etc.

Earnheart added that with structural silicone glazing, “no exterior metal is exposed to the elements so you get better thermal performance.”

Positive Feedback
Many conference attendees said this year’s program was beneficial. Joe Clabbers, president of National Glass & Mirror Co. in Horsham, Pa., said he found the sessions to be beneficial.

“I always seem to pick up something out of the interactive sessions with the other attendees, and it’s always beneficial to foster relationships with suppliers and technical representatives in the industry,” said Clabbers. “These are the resources we rely on every day in the conduct of our business.”

For more information about GANA and its events visit www.glasswebsite.com.

Inside the Plant: Touring Arch Aluminum & Glass
Have you ever seen glass “spontaneously break” on a tempering line? Some CGEC participants did during a two-hour tour of Arch Aluminum & Glass company’s plant in Villa Rica, Ga. The 8-year old plant houses insulating, tempering, laminating and spandrel lines. It also has capabilities for drilling and notching heavy glass, such as that used in shower doors. In addition, the facility has metal fabrication capabilities and equipment.

“This is our [aluminum] hub for all of our locations,” said Scott Goodman, area sales representative. “We sell to all of our branches.”

Arch’s Villa Rica branch stocks jumbo sheets of glass—mostly 120 by 200—and receives about three truckloads of glass each day.

“There are more than 12,000 insulating glass combinations in the industry,” said Goodman, “and in Villa Rica we can make about 3,000 of those.” 

the author:
Ellen Giard is the editor of USGlass magazine.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.