Last week, industry representatives gathered online and in person for the 2021 Fenestration & Glazing Industry Alliance Hybrid Fall Conference. According to organizers, the event drew about 250 in-person registrants and more than 100 online registrants. The conference took place Oct. 18-21 in Phoenix, Arizona, and included a mix of task group and committee work, alongside presentations about industry trends, business and management strategies and more.
1. Push for turtle-friendly glass continues in Florida
FGIA continues to work with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, which is tasked with protecting sea turtles. Hatching sea turtles can become attracted to the light within glass structures and migrate inland instead of out to sea.
So far, glass is required to meet 45 percent light transmittance in affected coastal areas in Florida, but Jen Hatfield, ICC and Florida code consultant, described potential changes the FWC is making to an even more restrictive 15 percent. FGIA met with the FWC, sharing glass samples that illustrate how dark a 15 percent light transmittance would be, and continues to monitor the situation.
2. Cities adopt stricter codes
In reviewing codes and standards changes across the U.S., Kathy Krafka Harkema, U.S. technical operations director at FGIA, noted that some cities are stepping out ahead of states in the adoption of building codes. Biloxi, Mississippi, for example adopted the 2021 International Building Code. Boston city council also unanimously voted to require buildings taller than 20,000 square feet to eliminate carbon emissions by the year 2050, similar to measures put into action in New York City and St. Louis.
3. Building maintenance requirements are on the rise
Harkema also noted that cities, states and code bodies are placing more emphasis on maintenance codes and property maintenance after the Florida condo building collapse in June which killed almost 100 people.
4. Look out for vaccine mandates for contractors
President Biden’s Executive Order 14043 requires federal employees to be vaccinated, and that will include contractors and subcontractors with the federal government, says Harkema. Though the Order did discuss having private companies with more than 100 employees have a vaccine mandate, the deadline for this has not been stated, says Harkema.
5. U.S. rolls out new emissions standards
“We’re seeing the federal government put things into place at a record pace,” says Harkema, speaking on new emission standards. Executive order 14037 is accelerating the move to electric vehicles, and there will be new fuel standards for both cars and trucks.
6. U.S. Federal Government will regulate antitrust activity
Executive Order 14036 gives the federal government power to police unfair, deceptive, and abusive business practices, says Harkema. The Order is designed to promote competition in the American economy, giving the federal government the power to challenge transactions it sees in violation of antitrust law.
Of note, the Order allows the government to compel businesses or individuals to disclose even proprietary information if it relates to antitrust proceedings. The guidelines also will reconsider the nature of horizontal and vertical mergers, and will prohibit noncompete requirements for employees.
7. Security experts recommend active shooter training
Mike Britt and Donnie Hawkins, experts in the field of personal security, led an active shooter response training. They stressed the need for companies to have an active shooter response plan for their facilities, especially since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not have an active shooter requirement for mitigating workplace violence.
Companies should include training for employees on how to lockdown areas, running active shooter exercises, and making sure instructions and emergency numbers are available in the right locations, they said.
8. Dispel common myths about body language
Janine Driver, body language expert and author of several books, served as the keynote speaker during the conference. Driver dispelled common myths about body language and offered more helpful tips and tricks for discerning when an individual is uncomfortable with a subject or is withholding information.
For example, one of the most common myths in body language is how to interpret someone's arms being crossed, Driver said. “Crossed arms are believed to be confrontational or defensive, but it actually connects both sides of our brain, right and left,” she said. “It can help us solve a difficult task or problem. It shows someone is thinking. Crossed arms get a bad rap.”
9. Georges Thiret receives FGIA Lifetime Achievement Award
The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance awarded Georges Thiret, Graham Architectural Products, the first-ever FGIA Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious award recognizes an individual who has dedicated significant resources throughout the majority of his industry career to guiding and achieving the strategic objectives of the organization, and who is distinguished in thought leadership, extensive contributions, vision and impact relative to the organization and the industry.