Volume 42, Issue 3 - March 2007

A Week of Glass
GANA Members Take Action During Glass Week 2007
By Megan Headley

During a Glass Week seminar on the technology available for protecting buildings from blasts—including laminated glass, window films and catcher systems—Joseph Smith, senior vice president of Applied Research Associates Inc., made a keen observation: to work properly, the system must be installed correctly. In one video he showed a blast test. Viewers could see the monolithic lite of glass break into the inside of the building, as the unit had been installed backwards, based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Improper installation was just one of the many issues discussed during Glass Week 2007, sponsored by the Glass Association of North America (GANA). Attendees of the January meeting in Sarasota, Fla., also discussed subjects such as quench marks, glass damage and closing capillary tubes.

During his presentation, Smith commented that the windows in the test had been installed based on the manufacturer’s instructions, and the error was not on the part of the glazier. 

“About 40 percent of the windows we have procured—from three major suppliers—have been mislabeled,” Smith says. By installing the test windows backwards, he says, “I’ve actually increased the hazard in the inside of the facility.” 

Smith recently worked on one project with particularly high degree of quality control. “Only” four windows had been installed backwards, he says, still a dangerous situation. 

“I highly encourage you guys to work on the quality control issues,” Smith says. 

Later in the week, during GANA’s insulating glass division’s technical committee meeting Greg Carney, GANA technical director, took Smith’s advice by asking the committee if this was a topic that needed to be addressed by the association through establishing a procedure for proper labeling.

“If you have it labeled incorrectly … that’s a huge liability,” commented John Davis of Applied Materials. 

Carney suggested that the group could produce a document to provide a uniform way of labeling the glass.

“You have to assume they have a practice for doing it right, they’re just not following it,” says Tracy Rogers of Edgetech IG Inc. 

Without consensus, and with limited time, the issue was added to a list of concerns to discuss further at the association’s fall conference.

Glass Protection
Also during his presentation on hurricane- and blast-resistant products, Smith reported the comments of a terrorist who had been arrested a year ago. The terrorist targeted a courthouse in Minnesota “because it was made of a lot of glass and it was close to the street.” Smith says that the image of vulnerability is beginning to change thanks to the use of blast-resistant products.

But courthouses shouldn’t be the only market for blast-resistant glazing. The buildings around these and other high-profile structures are ripe for this glass, according to Smith. When it comes to protecting structures from blasts, collateral damage is an important consideration. Smith expects to see more voluntary focus on protection from collateral damage in commercial construction over the next 10 to 15 years. 

He also addressed hurricane-resistant products, by revisiting damage done in Mississippi by Hurricane Katrina. “We are working diligently with the [Mississippi] government to develop a hurricane plan similar to what is in Florida,” Smith says. “That will be an emerging market for many of you.”

In particular, Smith discussed the Gulfport, Miss., courthouse, which features both blast- and hurricane-resistant glazing (see related article in the October 2006 USGlass, page 66). The building’s Katrina-inflicted water damage came primarily from roof problems.

Smith’s inspection found that only the exterior lites had problems on the hurricane-resistant windows, and that failure occurred on fewer than 25 lites. Only one interior lite was cracked, and even that remained in the frame.

Intrigued by whether it was the hurricane-resistant products only or the combination of hurricane and blast products that saved the building, Smith modeled losses based on different standards. He found that the combination of hurricane- and blast-protection performed only slightly better than hurricane-resistant windows alone. 

Smith also detailed some of the differences between designing for hurricane and wind protection versus blast protection. 

For hurricane protection, designers must be cognizant of the severity of impact loads, the importance of maintaining the envelope, that most injury is caused by flooding and that products are often proof-tested. For blast protection, designers should observe, contrarily, that pressure loads are more severe than impact loads, envelope maintenance isn’t the critical factor that it is for hurricane protection, most injury is caused by collapsing structures and products are often demonstrated by field testing. He also noted that for hurricane-resistance, insurance drives the market, where as life safety drives the blast protection market. While blast protection does not have a huge impact on the insurance industry, he foresees the government insuring these acts in the future. 

Following Smith’s presentation, members of the protective glazing committee listed some topics it hopes to address in future glass informational bulletins. Among the topics were impact-resistance for detention facility glazing, a draft of which is being circulated to members. Related to hurricane-resistance, Valerie Block of DuPont, chair of the protective glazing committee, noted the association has “done very little as an industry on hailstorms, tornadoes … and earthquakes.”

Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia, GANA 2006 president, volunteered to produce a resource on glazing in earthquakes for architects. The group also showed interest in developing a standard on assessing glass surface damage following hurricanes. 

Squelching Quench Marks
Technology also rose to the forefront when Chris Barry of Pilkington looked at the visibility of quench marks. He noted that a quench pattern is an inevitable function of heat-treated glass; it is not a defect. Even so, customers are complaining more today about the appearance of such spots. 

“In today’s construction it is regularly visible,” Barry says.

Barry says that part of the problem is that glaziers are providing more clear heat-treated glass and that the quench pattern is more visible with thick glass, high-transmission glass and multi-layer glass. To help reduce complaints, Barry recommended supplying clients with architectural samples to match the final specification—even if it means heat treating a 12-inch square sample—and viewing a full-size mock-up on site under a blue sky. 

Barry also warned that the effect cannot be eliminated in treated glass. The pattern is reduced with less concentrated quench air, and anti-reflective coatings can reduce, but not eliminate, the marks.

One attendee quipped that beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder. In his mall at home quench marks from a skylight are cast upon a sporting goods store at certain times of day. Seeing this, his wife had once noted, “That’s beautiful—how do they do that?”

Addressing Glass Damage 
Carney addressed the problem of damage to glass surfaces during an afternoon’s joint technical update luncheon. 

“We get questions all the time about damage to the surface of glass; specifically people want guidelines on what should and does not need to be corrected. I can’t really answer these questions, because there’s no common answer,” he says.

Carney adds that there has been ever-increasing interest by GANA members in the development of a document that would classify damage; outline inspection procedures for evaluating glass surface damage; and define criteria for replacement of architectural glazing units with surface damage using engineering principles. 

The request was met with a positive response by most in attendance. 

“We will begin evaluating the process,” says Carney, who also provided the group with an extensive update on ANSI, ASTM, ISO and other standards affecting the glass industry.

Carney says that safety standards for furniture glass are now being addressed and that there is activity by at least two groups on this (see June 2006 USGlass, page 24).

“It’s an important topic,” he says.

John Kent of the Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC) and the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) provided luncheon attendees with SGCC and IGCC updates. Kent says procedures had been changed recently to require that testing be done by labs in North America.

“These are North American standards that the product is being tested to,” he says, “and we felt that, in order to ensure the testing company has experience doing the testing, we should require that it be done in North America.”

Crimping the IG Division’s Style 
As the insulating glass division meeting opened, Edgetech’s Rogers brought up a new concern that he hoped the division could begin to address. 

“Something that came up with our company is … the use of capillary tubes in insulating glass units,” he says. “No association has put together a standard practice for using capillary tubes.” 

The division members discussed the usefulness of drafting such a document.

Rogers’ motion to have the technical committee address this topic was approved, and a task group under that committee was formed for this purpose. 

Glass Week Firsts 
Two firsts took place during this year’s Glass Week. The decorative glass division met to discuss its goals and objectives under the leadership of its first elected chairperson, Kris Vockler of ICD High Performance Coatings. The new group has its hands full developing a survey for architects on decorative glass products, hearing requests for new glass informational bulletins and planning design awards for decorative glass products (see sidebar on page 48). 

Meeting for the first time was the Fire-Rated Glazing Council, chaired by Jerry Razwick of Technical Glass Products (see related article on page 50). Council members hope to use the group as way to promote fire safety and the use of fire-rated glazing materials in buildings. GANA will hold its Fall Conference September 12-14 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. To learn more visit www.glasswebsite.com

GANA Re-Elects Two as Division Chairs, Names Third
The Glass Association of North America (GANA) announced the re-election of two division chairs for a second two-year term. Re-elected were Max Perilstein of Arch Aluminum & Glass Co., as the chair of the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) division; and Bob Larson of Craftsman Fabricated Glass Ltd. as the chair of the insulating division.

Additionally, Stephen Weidner of Pilkington North America Inc. assumed the role of Flat Glass Manufacturing Division chair, which was previously held by Henry Gorry of Guardian Industries Corp. The Flat Glass Manufacturing Division chairmanship is a one-year rotational position.

“We greatly appreciate the commitment of our division chairs,” says Stanley L. Smith, GANA executive vice president. “We continue to rely on them to push the association’s standard of excellence forward as we address the needs of the commercial glass and glazing industry.”

GANA Gets All Decked Out
GANA members were asked to think about the aesthetic possibilities of glass during a presentation on emerging products in decorative glass. Rachel Long of Hospitality Design magazine discussed trends where she sees possibilities for more glass. Her slides were filled with images that demonstrated five trends she has noticed: iconic aspects of decoration; high contrast between materials, textures and colors (picture sleek glass walls on two sides of a bathroom, and brick on the others); chameleon materials (in one of her examples lighted glass columns shifted and blended into the materials around them); and the trend toward building green, with examples of how glass can let natural light into a space. 

“Lighting plays a very important part of our product because it comes to life with light,” says Jane Skeeter of UltraGlas Inc. 

Skeeter followed Long with numerous slides of the creative possibilities for using glass. The slides showed glass tiles in water features, dichroic glass creating light patterns in architecture, glass chairs, glass sculptures and even a glass outfit Skeeter had created.

Later in the week the decorative division met to discuss its goals and objectives. 

Learning more about architects’ use of decorative glass was the first question of the division’s marketing committee; the committee has developed a survey aimed at gauging the architectural industry’s awareness of and interest in decorative glass products. The committee plans to distribute the survey during the AIA show in May. 

Since the committee anticipated that not every architect would be familiar with all of the decorative glass choices listed in the survey, the group will also begin work on a glossary of terms related to decorative glass. The glossary is expected to evolve into a project for the decorative glass technical committee, and someday become a reference manual. Since the association’s Glazing Manual is due to be updated for its 50th anniversary in 2008, and presently has no mention of decorative glass, Greg Carney, GANA technical director, says the potential glossary could be used to develop such a section. 

The decorative glass marketing committee also expressed its interest in following the lead of GANA’s mirror division by initiating a decorative glass design award. A list of further initiatives for the division to look into—from the creation of new glass information bulletins to requests for standards—promise to keep the division members busy until its fall meeting. 

the author: Megan Headley is the assistant editor of USGlass magazine. 

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