Volume 50, Issue 3 - March 2015


BEC’s All the Buzz
Manuals and Documents Remain a Key Focus

by Chuck Knickerbocker

The technical committee of the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) division has been busy on several fronts. We recently completed an update to the Blueprint Reading and Estimating Course, which should be available late this summer. One item that’s changed a lot since its original publication is the positive impact computers have had on the efficiency and accuracy of estimating. As a result, the course is due for a name change, and we’re open to any suggestions.

The Project Manager’s Manual
is also going through a review process as well. The BEC technical committee is focusing on updates, as the manual is almost ten years old. We’re adding and revising a lot of information, given the complexity of managing even the simplest window and curtainwall projects. Same as with the Blueprint Reading and Estimating Course, we’re working to include the myriad of new computer-based tools now available.

For a number of years, BEC has been working on a curtainwall primer titled “Curtain Wall Fenestration” to educate people who are new to the glazing or architectural worlds. This primer will introduce the basics of curtainwall types, design parameters, installation means and methods, and testing regimens. We’ve completed the primer’s first section on system descriptions and are now pairing the submitted photos with the text. Our goal is to publish it before the end of the year. The next section will address design considerations.

While the manufacturers that make up GANA and BEC have been working with their architectural customers on building information models (BIM) for their products, glazing contractors haven’t been significantly involved in this area yet. The manufacturer members who are most experienced with it are at the early stages of compiling a document to help glazing subcontractors use BIM to their advantage. That document will also discuss how manufacturers and suppliers can assist glazing subs with models they can manipulate themselves for optimizing estimating, value engineering or installation operations.

"We’re adding and revising a lot of information, given the complexity of managing even the simplest window and curtainwall projects."

Division Efforts

In addition to the BEC technical committee, other divisions are exploring topics and undertaking efforts that impact contract glaziers. For example, the insulating division is currently considering whether IGUs should have frame members supporting the edge in all instances. Architects are asking curtainwall manufacturers if they can delete horizontals in some curtainwalls, which can, in turn, require changes to the IGU to support the weight of the glass.

Questions being considered include:

• Without a horizontal, where will the setting blocks be located?

• Does the glass have to be thicker if the setting blocks are at the corners?

• Can butt-glazed IGUs be used in storefront walls without a supporting mullion behind the joint?

The insulating division is also evaluating whether ceramic frits reduce glass strength.

The laminating division is considering the impact door hardware might have on laminated glass. For example, does clamping door-hinging hardware affect the strength or safety of the glass by squeezing the laminating material?
Does the hardware’s performance change?

Likewise, with glass handrail issues being a hot topic of discussion, the BEC technical committee is paying close attention to what the laminating division reports on that topic.

If any of these issues are of interest to your company, I encourage and welcome your involvement, not just within BEC’s technical committee, but also within the association. Also, if there are new technical issues you’re dealing with that you feel should be addressed across the industry, or if you think there’s got to be a better/cheaper/faster way of doing something, please let me know.

Finally, big thanks to the numerous people who are helping update and write new manuals.

the author

Chuck Knickerbocker
is the curtainwall manager for Technical Glass Products and chairs GANA’s Building Envelope Contractors division technical committee. He also writes a
blog for USGlass magazine available at www.usglassmag.com/fieldnotes. Email him at chuckk@tgpamerica.com.

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