Volume 47, Issue 8 - August 2012


Ontario Requires Heat-Strengthened Laminated Glass in Balconies

Ontario glaziers are now required to use heat-strengthened laminated glass when close to the edge of a balcony, effective July 1, following revisions to the province’s building code that were made in order to reduce instances of balcony glass breakage in newly constructed buildings, according to an announcement by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The use of heat-strengthened laminated glass or heat-soaked tempered glass if balcony guards are inset from the edge of the balcony also will be required under the new regulations.

“[The regulations] are intended as an interim solution to ensure public safety while the Canadian Standards Association develops a national technical standard for glass panels in balcony guards,” writes the Ministry in its announcement.

The current building code revisions were established by the Expert Advisory Panel on Glass Panels in Balcony Guards, which was made up of 25 members including engineering consultants, building code consultants, developers, contractors, professional designers, municipal building inspectors, insurance providers and members of codes and standards-writing bodies. The panel was created after the City of Toronto and the Residential Construction Council of Ontario called on the Ministry to “address the falling balcony glass panel problem” after a spate of incidents that occurred last year and have continued this year (see related story in March USGlass, page 44).

The revisions apply to new construction projects and do not affect modifications of existing buildings, according to the Ministry.

The panel references a report, “Balcony Glass and Guard Matters,” released on January 24 by GRG Building Consultants, which suggests that the cause of the glass failure was related to “nickel sulphide (NiS) inclusions in the glass and glass-to-metal proximity. According to the panel’s report, Mark Brook, P.E., of BVDA Façade Engineering LLC, was one of those involved in the investigation.

“His finding was that the primary cause of the glass failures was NiS inclusions,” writes the panel. “He also identified windloads on guards and installation defects as secondary risk factors.”

Mike D’Agnillo, vice president of Toro Aluminum Railings Inc., also participated in the investigation, and he attributed the breakage to possible deficiencies in railing installations; the suggestion that “balcony glass is not designed with glass breakage in mind;” impact-related incidences; and NiS impurities in the glass.

AAI Reaches Agreement on WTC Contract
American Architectural Inc. (AAI) and Skanska USA, a general contractor with whom AAI had been working on the interior glass work and interior glass railing for the World Trade Center’s PATH Hall, have reached a proposed agreement in a dispute about the subcontract. Skanska had motioned, as part of AAI’s bankruptcy case, for the court to order AAI to resume or reject the subcontract in an expedited manner (see related story in July USGlass, page 10).

The two companies have filed a proposed stipulation agreement noting their “desire to resolve the motion by fixing a date certain by which [AAI] must assume or reject the subcontract and, in the interim, establish a temporary joint check payment procedure for the payment of trust fund beneficiaries’ claims incurred from the date hereof and to provide for the payment by Skanska to the debtor and certain trust fund beneficiaries for work performed on the project during the interim period.” The agreement defines “trust fund beneficiaries” as those who have completed work as subcontractors for AAI and/or have supplied materials for the project.

The proposed deadline for AAI to file a motion to assume or reject the subcontract is now September 14. According to the agreement, if AAI rejects the subcontract, the company will be required to provide “all materials and drawings (in CAD and PDF format) in [its] possession for the project [to Skanska] and assign any and all subcontracts and purchase orders as directed by Skanska to [ensure] a smooth and orderly transition to Skanska or a replacement contractor.” In addition, the parties agree to resolve any amounts Skanska owed to AAI (as of September 14) within 30 days.

In its original motion to expedite the court’s consideration of the matter, Skanska had alleged that it had paid AAI $696,485 for work completed on the project during the month of May, and that, at the time of the motion, at least two vendors had ceased work on the project due to AAI’s alleged failure to pay them.

At press time, the court had not yet approved the stipulation agreement.

CBO Glass Denies Allegations That It Failed to Pay Local Unions
CBO Glass recently responded to and denied allegations that it failed to pay Trustees of the Iron Workers Local Union No. 5 and Iron Workers Employers Association, Employees Pension Trust, which claim the company failed to make payments to the groups from November 2011 to March 2012, a total of about $157,000. The unions have alleged in a lawsuit that CBO has not upheld the “terms and conditions of employment” included in the contract.

According to CBO’s response, the company denies allegations laid out in the initial complaint filed by the unions that claim in addition to the monthly payments, the company owes other costs including liquidated damages, interest, court expenses and any other relief deemed appropriate. CBO has requested that “ … the court dismiss the complaint with prejudice and grant such other and further relief as is appropriate and just.”

CBO further claims that “the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” according to the response. Additionally, the company claims it paid “ … some or all of the amounts [the] plaintiffs claim are due and owing” and that the “plaintiffs released some or all of their claims against CBO Glass.”

The unions had alleged that “ … an employer who fails to pay the amounts required by the Collective Bargaining Agreement on time shall be obligated to pay, in addition to the contributions owed, liquidated damages in the amount of 10 percent of the total amount due, plus an interest at the rate of 12 percent per annum from the date through the date of payment.”

This suit is one of two suits that CBO Glass currently is facing. The International Painters and Allied Trades Industry Pension Fund also filed suit against the company in March, alleging that the company and two of its officials (Gilbert DiMaio, president and CEO and Paul F. Hogan, principal) owe roughly $470,000 “ … under the Labor Contracts, Trust Agreements and Plan.” CBO has denied these allegations as well. Additionally, DiMaio and Hogan have filed two separate motions to dismiss. The first, which alleged lack of jurisdiction, has been denied. At press time, the court had not yet ruled on the second motion to dismiss, which alleges that the group failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

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