From the Fabricator: The "Other" Codes
The last several weeks, I have been hitting energy codes pretty heavily, and below, I have more of my interview with Avi Bar on that subject. But leading off this week is another code angle, and that’s the one of safety and security glass. As we push for energy improvements, we cannot take our eye off the protective glazing side. I think catastrophic events can spur action, but sometimes they draw attention to only a specific issue. So while there is a major focus on school security (as there should be), there still needs to be a sustained focus on the other areas of protective glazing, including fire rated. (One take of mine: no more wire, please.)
I believe our industry has a great handle on this product segment, but there’s still more education needed. If we still have people in the field who don't "get it," we fail as an entire industry. That said, I think Glass Magazine covered the issue perfectly this month with its edition on the entire protective glazing field, from the product basics all the way up to the advanced.
- I had the opportunity to listen to the latest construction industry economic forecast this past week, and for the most part, the analysts were in a very positive mood. Although acknowledging there will surely be bumps in the road, optimism ruled the day. However, one item did come up that bothered me: One analyst noted that if you want to build “green,” you have to build new. I disagree. With some of the technology our industry has out there, we can surely make a serious difference in a retrofit application. Once again, we need to educate!
- As some of my loyal readers know, I loved the TV show “24.” Amazing stuff. Well, the news this week is that 24 and Jack Bauer might be coming back. Please make that happen. In the meantime, the show “The Americans” is now my favorite, though I am still five episodes behind.
- Last week, my interview with Avi Bar, vice president of Advanced Glazings, really got people talking. This week, I wrap up our talk with a look at the architectural side of things.
In your dealings with architects and designers, are you finding that they are paying attention to the codes, or are they more focused on the products they want to use?
AB: My overall experience is that the architects and designers are becoming more aware of energy codes; however, [the codes] aren't easy to implement. The prescriptive methods don’t easily translate into their designs, and the modeling methodologies are complex to include in the first pass of designs. Therefore, it’s an ongoing, iterative process. There is a disconnect in the design community/owner relationship as fees for services continue to tighten while the technical competency for designers increases. The complexity of the analysis process that the architects are now bound to ... is a problem for them, and perhaps an opportunity for a proactive glass industry. The more stringent the code, the more anxiety I see in designers. This is a call for help to the glass and glazing industry to innovate and support them.
A lot of the economic indicators for construction and architecture are trending upwards. Are you seeing the same thing?
AB: It’s hard for us to tell, as our products are not commodities and have seen an overall increase in business, even during the recession. With that said, our current demand is growing at a much higher rate. Is that due to better economic conditions? Or is it finally a signal that the market for high performance translucent glass is maturing? We can’t say. Perhaps a mix of both. All in all, we are optimistic.
The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.