Chicago was in the throws of preparations for Saint Patrick’s Day as well as the start of the college basketball playoffs: what better place to have an industry conference? It certainly proved a perfect backdrop for the Protective Glazing Council’s (PGC) annual spring meeting, which was held March 14-16 at the Chicago City Center Hotel.
PGC also announced that its website, www.protectiveglazing.org, has seen a recent increase in unique visitors, mostly from the United States, with Canadian and Chinese visitors also representing a significant number of the website hits. Marketing director Brian Pitman told the assembled members that the website will receive an updated look before the Fall Symposium, which is scheduled to take place October 17 and 18, 2006, at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
“We’d like everyone who is interested to attend,” said Kim Mann, general counsel for the PGC.
“Welcome to Chicago for those of you who have traveled out to visit us and for those of you from Chicago, thank you for having us,” Haddock said.
The first speaker was Joseph Smith of Applied Research Associates. A popular and returning speaker, Smith’s presentation, Blast Hazard Mitigation 101, offered AIA credit and focused on blast-related threats.
“When you’re bidding a job, it’s important to remember that you need to have both pressure and impulse specified. If they don’t give you the impulse they’re not giving you all the tools you need to do your job. Whenever you see just the pressure, you know you don’t have everything you need to respond to that project. It happens a lot more than you realize. They hear the pressure and stop there and then don’t take it a step further,” he said.
Bob Ford, commercial market manager with Solutia, followed Smith and provided a look at windstorms and hurricanes.
Explaining how hurricanes form and how they are categorized, Ford explained why a level 3 hurricane is more likely to cause the damage that industry products are often called upon to mitigate.
“If you have anything coming in as a Category 1, the chance of something being blown off the ground is pretty limited,” he said.
Rounding out the morning seminars, Ron Waranowski with ASTIC Signals Defenses, took to the podium to deliver and elaborate on the subject of an electromagnetic interference, electromagnetic pulse and the vulnerability of the American public.
“If the LAN budget is upped so that people on cell phones inside can get five bars of service, that’s five bars of signal also being emitted outside, up to 1,500 feet. Anything can ride those signals right out of the structure. What’s the answer? If I were in real estate, I’d say buy as much real estate as possible and keep the bad guys away,” said Waranowski.
“I can’t stress how vulnerable we are in this electromagnetic world. I feel like I’m planting the apple seed anywhere I can to let people know.”
Waranowski explained that when you’re using your cell phone and driving down a well-traveled road, such as Interstate 95 on the East Coast, if you lose signal it’s a sign of electromagnetic pollution, rather than of bad cell phone service. He described one business with which he does some consultative work that is located near a cell phone tower. He explained how he cannot use the keyless entry feature on his car because the radio waves emitted by the tower override his system.
“You will recognize immediately that you are producing a better building [when meeting LEED criteria]. The rule of thumb is that, on average, buildings that are certified up to silver level will show a 20-year payback of 10-to-1 on a 2-percent investment, especially on the low end of the spectrum,” said Duffy. “It’s more than wanting to hug a tree or pet a bunny.”
Duffy explained that the energy efficiency demands of LEED criteria and the aspect of security glazing, in particular, come together where the U.S. Department of State Overseas Building Operations’ (OBO) demands for U.S. embassies are concerned.
“Embassies are supposed to be representative of our society,” Duffy continued, showing photos of the U.S. embassies in other countries before the events of September 11, 2001, since that time and projections for the future. Some older embassies, such as that in Oslo, Norway, had hardly any setback distance in a full side of fenestration.
Duffy noted that since 2001, the design of several U.S. embassies contained significantly less glazing and more closely resembled penitentiaries. That said, Duffy then showed slides of designs for embassies yet to be built, noting that many of the designs are incorporating more and more glass.
However, the OBO criteria for these new designs include meeting the goal of having all new facilities designed to LEED-certified levels and complete energy savings performance projects while still, of course, having the protective glazing element to secure building occupants.
Rounding out Wednesday’s seminars was Dan William with the Chicago chapter of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who discussed threat assessment in Chicago.
“If you try to look back over the history of terrorist attacks both in the [United States] and overseas, [terrorists] are looking to make a statement, have a high body count. Obvious targets are the Sears Tower—for its size and visibility—then the Hancock Tower,” William said.
Stating that there had been no arrests in Chicago for suspected terrorist activity, William discussed some of Chicago’s vulnerability, as well as how the local FBI unit handles tips for terrorist threats and some of the general and more common concerns of building owners and managers that he and his coworkers field regularly. Opening the floor to questions, his audience did not disappoint; asking some thoughtful questions, ranging from the differences in studying domestic versus international terrorism to what percentage of blast-related tips they receive. (The answers are: a separate division handles domestic terrorist threats and, though he has no actual numbers, William estimates that the majority of the threats they receive are blast-related).
Once the buzz about that died down, the conference began with a panel discussion titled “Quick and Dirty: A Job Analysis from Alpha to Omega.” The panel included Darrell Barker of ABS Consulting, Michael Lowak of Baker Risk and Joseph Smith of Applied Research Associates, who took questions from the audience.
Discussion began almost immediately, with a question about how protective glazing implemented in the Gulf Coast stood up to Katrina and other devastating hurricanes of 2005. Questions rolled on to those ranging from technical advice to simple inquiries such as what information consultants are looking for to help them help clients. All three panelists noted that the more they work with a client, the more they know and understand the client’s needs.
“Now you guys tend to ask [questions] two days before the bid is due. If you can send it over earlier, we may be able to point out things [you may have overlooked]. There are questions I might notice that you need to ask and if I don’t get the bid early enough I can’t help you ask those questions. We give vendors an idea of what it’s going to take to meet that spec plus we add in what it would cost us to help them with what they’ll need when they get that bid,” said Barker.
“Based on all the questions, the key is knowing what you need to do to provide the product you want to provide,” said Lowak.
“I’d just add that the area you’re working in with protective glazing and window systems, is a boutique industry. Think of yourself not as a products provider but as a solution provider,” said Smith.
“Education is a real key and something that’s missing. The PGC has been great about that for a long time, educating clients, but vendors need to educate their own sales staff. I talk with lots of clients who are inundated with claims that are just bogus because the salesmen are a little overzealous,” said Barker.
Bednar, whose voice is used on the General Services Administration (GSA) website created to educate firefighters on emergency ingress/egress into buildings with protective glazing, detailed the website, which has been available since the summer of 2005. The website was first introduced to the PGC at the Fall Symposium in November of 2005. Since that introduction, more than 2,300 firefighters have been certified, passing the final test at the end of the session with a score of 80 percent or more.
After Bednar’s presentation, Barker returned to the podium with his discussion of choosing the right technology for the project.
“You need to know the protection requirement. Are we trying to protect everybody? Is it acceptable to have injuries? Is it acceptable to have fatalities? They’re not going to want to answer these questions, but as a blast consultant, I’m not the one who should be making the decision about who is expendable,” he said.
Already running earlier than planned, the collective decision was made to go ahead with the planned seminars and wrap up everything before lunch. Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia moved her presentation ahead several hours to discuss blast mitigation. She began her presentation by discussing a Ducker study Solutia commissioned on the use of protective glazing and consumer awareness.
“If you go and look for a definition of protective glazing, you won’t find one. We had to create one: Glass set or made to be set in frames serving to keep the body or materials from being damaged, attacked, stolen or injured,” she said, describing the breakdown of the protective glazing market and the priority list of what building owners and managers are seeking when they decide to implement protective glazing.
Schimmelpenningh then segued into a look at standards used to determine the capability of products used in protective glazing, comparing the ASTM and GSA requirements with which many in the protective glazing industry are familiar, as well as other standards and specifications that are in the works.
With the close of Schimmelpenningh’s presentation, the spring general session ended and attendees were invited to the reception and booth exhibits. WF
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