Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blacklisting Battle

On the General Contracting side of the construction business there’s an interesting battle happening that is due to come to a head this coming week.  This issue at hand is what the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is calling “Blacklisting” which is coming from a 2014 executive order from President Obama that is titled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces.”  According to the ABC, the concern is that the proposal possibly could result in quality federal contractors being unfairly left out (or blacklisted) from future federal contracts by newly designated bureaucrats.  According to the ABC:

The proposal imposes a sweeping new regulatory scheme on federal contractors that will disrupt the federal procurement process, significantly increase red tape and costs for both government and industry, and serve as a barrier to federal contracting for many businesses.

Comments on this are due this week and it will be interesting to see if the ABC gets anywhere.  How this affects our industry is obvious… blowback from GC’s that may have previously done the work and now could be booted and also more red tape?  No thank you.    With government work a major piece of many company’s pies, this bears watching.  If you want deeper information on this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Elsewhere…

--  The “app” for GlassBuild is now out- if you still have from last year, just click on it and it will update to the info for this year.  If you do not have, go ahead to the App Store or Google Play and download it.  You do not want to attend this show without it.  It’s like having a personal assistant right with you making sure you are seeing and experiencing all you can.

--  The Architectural Billings Index hung in there in July.  Slightly down from August but still solidly in the plus range.  If there’s a worry now it’s the struggles of the stock market.  Last week was ugly, I am afraid to see what this week will bring.  I guess you can never get too comfortable with our economy…

--  For those of you much smarter than me and those into the environmental responsibility angle, the folks at Enclos wrote a fantastic piece on Health Product Declarations for glass.  Worth the read or at worse a bookmark for when this issue comes across your desk.

--  A HAPPY belated 40th Anniversary wish to my pal, TGP’s Chuck Knickerbocker and his wife.  Chuck is as smart as they come in our world and passionate about what we all do.  Thrilled that he has such a great milestone to celebrate with his bride!

--  Normally this would go in my links but this is too good for that area.  17 legendary locales, must visit places… shown as you imagine and then shown in reality.  Incredible.

--  Last this week… I noted previously my excitement over Hawaii doing what they are doing energy wise.  Now comes news that the city of Boise, Idaho is presenting a new standard for all buildings in that community to be built following a “voluntary” green building code.  While the push is voluntary the city seems to be going out of its way to make sure that everyone understands the benefits of building sustainably.  Hopefully by doing it this way, people will embrace the effort, grow it organically and do right for our universe.  Good for Boise, and the best thing to come out of Idaho since the football hall of famer and super glass guy Dave Michaeli.

LINKS of the WEEK

Tremendous story of a person that was thinking.  And of course he’s from Canada, so I expect nothing less!

Good piece on why Millennials struggle in the workplace.

And you knew it was coming… going to be a cold and snowywinter says the Farmers Almanac

VIDEO of the WEEK

I love good stories and love college football- so combine the two and I’m good.  Many schools like to surprise their walk on players when they end up getting scholarships. It is so cool to see the reaction of the teammates to one of their own getting that step up.  This one is from Notre Dame.  Love it!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Growth of Unitized Glazing

As an industry we’ve seen quite a few impactful developments, but it could be argued that unitized glazing may be the most important advancement of them all, especially when it comes to labor and efficiency in the field.  The whole unitizing process is a game changer and the excellent article by Bethany Stough in the latest Glass Magazine really helps bring those who are unaware into the light.  With finding qualified workers harder and harder, processes like unitizing take on a larger role for sure.  Obviously not every job can use this style of install, but I have a feeling as time goes on, you will see more and more jobs that can be unitized, going that way.

Elsewhere…

--  Also in the latest issue of Glass Magazine, I had to pick my favorite ad of the month and it was a tough one with many great choices, especially with excellent new ads from past “winners” of mine Cardinal, Kawneer, and GGI.  However this month, tip of the hat goes to marketing genius Rob Struble of PPG for their “trust” ad.  Smart and eye catching for sure.  Well done Rob and team!

--  Good for the state of Hawaii in passing a mandate that says the state’s utilities must reach 100% renewable energy by 2045. The law, effective July 1, sets 30% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 70% by 2040 interim targets.  You will now see more Net Zero work there featuring higher performing products including dynamics and solar.  I love it. 

--  Speaking of solar, it was good to hear from several people that the stats I posted last week- specifically that BIPV was a 3 billion dollar industry were off.  I thought so… nice to get some confirmation.

--  I have really gotten into using the excellent database at www.Esourcebook.net- I suggest you click that link and “favorite” it as you’ll want to have it when you want to look for products and services in the industry. 

--  Gas prices.  You know I always have to hit it.  So while oil prices are at a historic low, those of us in Michigan and in other parts of the Midwest are paying 50-75 cents per gallon more this week than last.  Why?  Evidently some sort of a refinery issue at ONE of the gas manufacturers.  It’s amazing how that industry gets away with volatile price swings with never a whiff of collusion or really anyone at the ambulance chasing lawyer level caring.   

--  Last this week… Happy/Sad news from the industry… a great one has moved to a different company outside our typical product lines.  The always sharp dressed; never sweating Jay Phillips has left Guardian Industries to take a new gig as VP of Sales within the Masonite organization.  So while Jay will be dealing in windows and doors, we probably won’t see much of him on our side of the tracks anymore and that is too bad.  Jay did a ton for our industry, worked hard, volunteered and cared a ton.   I am thrilled for him as I believe he’s still on the fast track to continued greatness, but bummed I won’t see him like I used to.  In addition our industry is down another extremely talented person.  Good luck Jay- we’ll miss ya!

LINKS of the WEEK

--  Count me as one guy who hopes Tom Brady wins his appeal- big time.  I can’t stand Roger Goodell.  Anyway, speaking of that, how about the brutal courtroom art work?  Isn’t it time for cameras?  It’s 2015…. We can do it.

--  Somewhere in South Africa there’s an out of work marketing person after this horrendous ad. 

--  Cool story on the Beatles playing Shea Stadium.  Love the line in here about them not being able to even hear themselves play- so they just stopped. 

VIDEO of the WEEK

I absolutely love this video.  Little guy learning Taekwondo.  Good stuff!



Sunday, August 09, 2015

Must Attend Event

We are now basically one month from GlassBuild America and there’s one event that deserves your strongest consideration on attending.  The 10th annual Glazing Executive Forum (GEF) will be held on the September 16th and it has the subject matter that truly is crucial to you both personally and from a business standpoint.  The keynote is “Building a Stronger Bench” and I think every single one of us in this business knows how crucial the development of the modern workforce is.  In addition a panel on managing lead-times, so incredibly important in the world of tighter supplies, will surely be a segment that can give you vital insight.  Mix in several breakout session options and of course the always must-attend economic outlook by Jeff Dietrich and you have an event that you simply cannot miss.  I know everyone is busy right now, but this time investment is surely worth it given the subjects about to be covered.

Elsewhere…

--  This past week a report came out that said BIPV technologies would reach the 9 billion dollar mark in 2019.  Now I love BIPV technology.  I have been a fan for a long time and still believe; some day it will disrupt our world.  That said I couldn’t even come close to believing this report.  Heck the report states that industry is at 3 billion right now.  Can that be right?  If it is, that’s one amazing sleeping giant out there.   Anyway, I call on my pals on that side of the industry for their insight because if that 2019 potential is true, the world is surely going to be disrupted….

--  Quick catch up… thank you to all who sent in Civil War recommendations.  I am loading up the various queues.  I appreciate it!  Now I have to find the time to take it all in. 

--  So some of the June construction data results are in and it’s pretty interesting.   As you know if you’ve been following along here, the Architectural Billings Index has been doing well for a while.  Only a few blips here and there.  But the Dodge Momentum index has been flagging some.  And in June, it suffered some more.  However looking deeper at the numbers shows, that 2015 is still pacing well ahead of 2014 and we’ve just had our best 1st half of a year since 2006.  Add in the positive spending and put in place reports, and confidence remains high despite the downward trend of the DMI.  Obviously it will still bear watching to see if there’s any weak points and I know in some pockets of the US, things did slow up a bit in June, but I am looking at that as more fluke than fact at this point. 

--  Last this week… 24 million people watched a debate for an election that is more than 15 months away.  Either the Donald really has drawing powers or this election really has people engaged already.  Here’s hoping for a competitive set of primaries on both sides with lots of choices and more debates….

LINKS of the WEEK

--  Groom suing new wife for fraud….

--  C’mon Kansas!  Get it together with support of your teachers!!


--  Pretty wild story around the baseball trade deadline on a trade that wasn’t and a very emotional player…


VIDEO of the WEEK

Fascinating/scary video here where a couple of guys dress up and act like security people in Las Vegas.  Amazingly easy to pull off it looks like.  Interesting what they went after.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

A new option to consider

Some interesting news broke this week initially via the twitter feed of John Wheaton.  John linked to a press release that was posted a couple weeks previous about Underwriters Laboratory, UL, getting into the testing and certification for the building envelope.  This is pretty significant news because UL is simply a giant in the overall world, (they’re everywhere really) and having them now a part of industry will surely make some waves.  At this point it’s obviously too early to tell if the addition of UL to the landscape will be positive or negative.  However those of us who worked with UL on the solar side of things know they are tough and challenging to say the least.  This one bears watching folks…

Elsewhere…

And a few more notes speaking of certification or testing and the like…

--  Since the NFRC announcement of a commercial program reboot and my blog, I’ve heard from a few people about their frustrations with the current program and its software bugs.  The folks at NFRC surely have a hill to climb on this one as it sounds like more than just collaboration is needed to fix the program.

--  A few weeks ago I wrote about the glazier certification movement NACC, and noted first certified companies were due in July.  Well the first four to make it through the process have been certified and from what I understand several others sit in the queue awaiting final approvals.  This is a big movement for the industry; it has the potential to at least give credit to those organizations that are doing business the right way.  I believe you will see more on this in the coming weeks and months.

Now for the non certification pieces of the week…

--  Can those of you who live in the states with full service gas stations (New Jersey, Oregon) explain to me why?  It is just so bizarre for me to pull up to a station and have someone swipe my card and pump my gas.  I’m amazed that some states still even have it.

--  I really enjoyed this article by Bryan Bush about the value of GlassBuild America.  Bryan is currently the chairman of the board of the NGA and a very successful businessman in his role at City Glass in Omaha, NE.  He knows what value is and I think gets the message across nicely here.

--  Last this week… can you believe it is August?  This year seems to be flying at a record pace.  Fall is now so close you can see it, especially with football starting up within the next 30 days or so.  I know many parts of the country are going through serious heat waves but I for one am not ready to return to the sub arctic temps that we get in winter.  So world… time… slow down some eh?

LINKS of the WEEK

--  So are we now far enough from 9/11 that some people don’t realize if you cause trouble on a plane, the other passengers are not going tobe kind?

--  I’m still blown away that the song “Happy Birthday” is not only copyrighted but still involved in legal proceedings.

--  I LOVE stories like this- the goodness of people’s hearts… and I too have gotten brutally lost in Jersey as well… so I know the guys frustration!

VIDEO of the WEEK

I was pretty infuriated by the killing of Cecil the Lion… I just don’t get the thrill of a game hunt and the after math of leaving the carcass to rot… well it’s upsetting.  And I was not alone… but I think Jimmy Kimmel summed it up best.



A ne

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This 'n' That

Every once in a while a bunch of subjects come up that interest me and I feel like would interest all of you.  So in no particular order, here’s a batch from this week that may get you going.

--  I noted last week to watch the Architectural Billings Index and if you follow me on twitter you would’ve gotten my tweet on it’s incredible number.  A 55.7!  That is the largest rating since 2007.  I know we all sometimes doubt these numbers but my goodness that’s an exciting one to see.

--  I saw a great article via the Twitter feed of Kawneer’s Donnie Hunter.  It’s about how architects are not overly enthusiastic about specifying new products.  I like the insight it shows and quite frankly presents a heck of a challenge to product manufacturers in trying to get their materials out there.  Good, quick, and interesting read.  Thank you Donnie. 

--  So two big mergers in the health care world and rates are also going up for 2016.  I think no matter what system or plan is out there (Old way vs. Affordable Care Act) and what side of the political aisle you are on, this will continue to be a nightmare for everyone involved. 

--  Do you have 200 million dollars laying around?  If so you too can build an experimental “ghost city” to test new technologies.  This is fascinating.  I guess if the real world won’t incorporate it first, this is next best idea. 

--  How in the world “The Americans” does not get an Emmy nomination for best drama is beyond me.  That show is beyond excellent. 

--  I often note industry websites that impress me and this week, I point to Galaxy Glass and Stone.  Eugene Negrin and company have a fantastic site.  Love the use of pictures and creative layout.  Well done!

--  There is now research that it “pays to be green” when it comes to building.  Obviously this study will be used by many in this business- and probably by the folks at USGBC who actually probably hurt the process, but that’s another story… for another time.

--  Because of all of the controversy on the Confederate flag, I find myself looking for more info and insight on the Civil War.  Anyone have a good documentary or book to recommend on it?

--  Last this week… The buzz I am hearing about GlassBuild America is really blowing me away.  More and more people are planning to attend and in my research of the show floor, I’m thoroughly impressed by some of the products and services that will be on display.  For the innovation/diversification angle, this event will surely provide tons of it.

LINKS of the WEEK

--  Funny and true comic strip

--  The hacked Jeep story is one that was sent to me by a few people.  Scary.

--  Do I have to say anymore than “Naked Artist in a Tree”

VIDEO of the WEEK

Pretty cool…. How they speak in Australia… abbreviate it all!