Monday, April 26, 2010

Yikes, Here we go again!

For the last several years I have been among the folks sounding the alarm on the goings on at NFRC. Sadly the new program is here and we all have to deal with it, but at last week’s meetings stark reminders came out on who drives the bus and who makes the cash… so get ready, the hands are still out and waiting for all of you to pay. It’s bad enough that professionals dealing with professionals, with legal contracts are not good enough, but now coming soon, prepare to pay up even more. At last week’s meeting one of the labs, with support of the other testing labs made moves to have the database, which is like not even 6 months old or even close to being populated, regulated for shelf life. Basically, the labs, figuring that once everyone gets their materials into CMA, a part of their gravy train will be finished, so they now have come out and said “we need to test every couple years” you know to ensure the products are still performing the same way or are still viable…. Or in plain terms, we need to keep our cash flow going! And while you’re at it, let’s also include testing Spandrel in our little adventure… even though the brain surgeons making that call have no idea what Pandora ’s Box they are opening there. So the more things change, the more they stay the same. And judging from the outright confusion and frustration of the people that are being forced into this mess, it’s surely going to be an ugly road ahead.


-- I did laugh when I saw in one of the many press releases from NFRC last week that they raised a whole $420 for New Orleans during the meeting. Considering the windfall that NFRC and the labs and others stand to make from this mess, it sure seems pathetic doesn’t it? Especially when you factor in how expensive it is to even go to one day of meetings… $420? Really?

-- Switching gears… Congrats to Brad Austin on his new gig as President of Harmon. Brad is a tremendously talented guy and also a very strong industry person (a key player in the success of GANA among other things). No doubt that switching to the “other side” will be a challenge, but I am confident Brad will do very well.

-- Got a lot of good feedback to my e mail on the LEED and Frank Gehry stuff from last week. The key always has to be that energy efficiency and performance need to be the drivers and not certifications. Hopefully that catches on.

-- What is it with our industry and MIT lately? Last month Don McCann of Viracon spoke at MIT and now, I get wind of an awesome Sun Shade project that Doralco along with Karas and Karas did there. ( I am guessing you’ll see it under “Great Glazing on E Weekly one of these weeks) Sun Shades are one of those really cool products that continue to grow in popularity and it’s nice to see the folks designing at and for MIT get it. Kudos to friend of the blog Tom O’Malley and his gang on a job well done.

-- Cool blog alert! The Chicago Window Expert… you can find it HERE. Has some really cool interviews with real diverse characters. Doesn’t update it very often but when he does its quality stuff.

-- I am embarrassed to say I don’t know a ton about this ongoing lead and EPA issue, but the stuff I am reading is pretty frightening. The release from the NGA was very powerful and hopefully some action will be coming to right the wrongs. Obviously the main scary point for me is NFRC started this way, hitting more from a residential side before seeing the money stream and coming to commercial….

-- Last this week, the New York Times had an interesting piece over the weekend that basically said that the economy is ready to roar again… my gosh this would surely be a time to get a story right eh? Anyway it does paint a rosy picture and if you want to see for yourself, the story can be found HERE.

Off to the Links!

-- Interesting read on Facebook being the next big competitor to Google….And since I’m not a Facebook guy I guess I’ll never know what the fuss is about.

-- If you missed it, the world’s newest millionaire thanks to Powerball… and he worked at the store that sold the ticket!

-- I love Twitter but this is crazy… it’s now being used as a dating site… No doubt trying to get dates on Twitter is below the bar scene…

Video of the Week:

Back to baseball with this amazing play from the college ranks… basically the third baserunner does his best “Superman” imitation and goes high above to score the run… very cool stuff…

Monday, April 19, 2010

A legend and LEED

In the last few weeks world famous architect Frank Gehry has been in the news because of his stance on LEED. He has basically come out and said he is not a fan that architects are designing for the LEED seal of approval and not for the good of the building or project. He also said trying to get LEED can be a waste of time and money. As far as I know Gehry is the biggest architect (or “starchitect” as some people call him) on record noting his disdain for the process. The question now is will anyone care? Sadly, probably not. LEED has improved over the years but it’s still a program that more people follow for the wrong reasons and in doing so they probably step over good energy efficient or energy performing products in order to meet a LEED requirement. And when that happens no one wins. The complete article, with some interesting comments can be found HERE. Oh and as for the whole green product issue, check out the following quotes from another story… very interesting….

"While green buildings have many positive benefits, there is also strong evidence surfacing to suggest a direct correlation between new products and innovative design with building failures," says Paul Roecker, an attorney with Orlando, Fla.-based Roetzel & Andress, who focuses his practice on environmental litigation. "From a risk perspective obviously there are a lot of products coming to market very quickly that advertise themselves as green. Many of them have not been 'tried and true' tested," he said. "They are new so in their applications of their efficacy … their potential to actually create a risk is really unknown."


-- U Value vs R Value…. Slowly but surely more and more people are talking with R instead of U when discussing that part of the glass performance. R has always been used in other building products and really more from a residential angle. A quick look around the web at commercial players web tools and it’s still all “U” – wonder when someone will flip that switch. (and yes I am aware of how easy it is to figure the R from the U….but still…)

-- Stoked to share blogging space with guys like Chris Mammen, Bill Evans, David Walker and so on. Very interesting takes these guys take and you always learn something from them. Which is a different outcome than when you read my stuff….

-- Do you know when you have made it as a marketing genius? When your ad is sitting framed in a random glass shop in Idaho. It was there I saw the famous and awesome Glassopolis ad. (the one with the senior citizens working the jobsite). The folks at this shop loved the ad so much that it sits prominently, framed, on their reception desk. Yep, that is what you call a major marketing hit.

-- Some of the main Solar media must be closely listening to Apogee’s Russ Huffer as they are starting to echo a lot of his sentiments towards solar. Last week a few pieces hit the streets wondering if Solar really does have a future in the market. I am still a believer but I do also agree that the costs must come down to make this fly. I don’t think they have to come down as far as some folks think, but they do have to start tracking down, or performance has to really shoot up- and I don’t see that happening soon. All that said I did see the announcement where Architectural Glass & Aluminum (AGA) has partnered up to get in the Solar game. AGA is very well run company and I know they did big time due diligence here, so that is a very interesting sign.

-- The NBA Playoffs started this weekend, so I have to jump in and make my picks… in the East, it’s hard not to go with the Cavs… LeBron just too good. In the west, I am going to say the Nuggets… but it doesn’t matter who comes from the west, it’s Cleveland’s year.

-- Last, I gotta touch on the NFRC meeting from last week… but I actually am saving that for another post. Some very interesting notes that I received from the meeting and its coverage, so check this space either later this week or in next week’s schedule for those comments.

Off to the links!

So what do links on this website and the TV shows “The Jefferson’s” and “Private Practice” have in common? Hmmm…. Anyway on to some cool stuff!

-- Amazingly interesting story on the effects of the Volcano of 1815… and makes you think how the current Volcano we have right now may affect us in the future. A short must read.

-- Last week I experienced my first ever earthquake… it was minor, but still an experience. Obviously nothing like the massive one that hit China… and as for that quake, one person got out thanks to her ability to sleep through it!

-- The update to the big “Carry on” bag controversy. The Senate is stepping in. Wonder if they will fare any better on this then how they fared when they tried to stop the World Trade Center from using Chinese glass (same Senator involved and yes for the record that whole WTC thing still infuriates me)

Video of the Week:

Got several good submissions from last week and if you have a video that you think should be here, just drop me a note at … anyway the video of the week is the reaction to Whitney Houston’s comeback tour in Australia. Evidently she was really bad, and this report talks to people who went to the show… brutal!

Monday, April 12, 2010

And off and running!

Welcome to From the Fabricator… if this is your first time here, I’ll give you a quick primer… for those of you old hands at reading this, go ahead and skip to the next paragraph… Since 2005, this blog has been a week to week take on the glass industry with some smattering of other subjects mixed in. It’s a therapy session really as I get to tackle angles that could be positive or negative to your world and I also try to shine the spotlight on the good people in the industry as well. My pet subjects are China and the NFRC, but I also love to take on the DOE, code bodies, and bad trade show booths. Basically this is not a traditional blog but a lead story followed by quick nuggets, links and ending with a video that can help you not think about business for a couple of minutes. If you want to catch up, feel free to scroll below or click on the links on the right side… and if you have comments you can leave them, or feel free to e mail me direct at . So now in the words of boxing ref and judge Mills Lane… “Let’s git it on!”

Top story this week is the code battle that will have an effect on your business. If you have not heard about what is going on with ASHRAE and the move (among others) to cut down the square footage that glass could have in a building, you need to start boning up on it asap. A good breakdown can be found HERE. The main issue at hand here is that glass does not get the respect it deserves and now people are looking to take advantage of that. The positive news is the industry is pretty united in their efforts to work through these issues. The bad news is that we still are outflanked all over. The key now is to try and stop the bleeding… slow the crazier notions of anti glass crusaders (which include FtF fave John Hogan, who from his perch as an employee of the City of Seattle somehow has nationwide powers) and continue to grow new technologies that can meet the standards being set. Hopefully the industry efforts will keep from our square footage getting reduced anymore than it is, or else we’re all headed to the brick and masonry industry.


-- Nice pairing alert... Saw the announcement on the hook up between Agalite Shower Doors and Guardian and their ShowerGuard product. This is a great matchup without a doubt as both have tremendous reputations in the industry and both make a quality product.

-- According to a new report from Reed Construction Data, the construction materials market is now stabilizing. Hopefully this is a trend that will stick and not a blip that will be reversed 3 months from now. But it does bear watching….

-- Speaking of watching, there are not a lot of things better than playoff hockey… and that kicks off this week in the NHL. Sadly I don’t think my beloved Penguins have the juice this year to get it done… so the picks here (and remember I am now on fire coming off my Duke winner in the NCAA) are Washington and Vancouver… with Ovechkin and company raising the Cup in June… (yes playoff hockey takes 2 months!)

-- This week is the NFRC spring meeting in New Orleans (sponsored by the Chinese….oy) and I do hear several big players are going back to the meetings for the first time in a while. Hopefully I’ll get some feedback to share… the big issue is probably where the CMA program is now and where it’s going. Basically it’s still looking like the Titanic….lots of issues to be worked out there… woulda been so much easier if the program was allowed to have true input from the people who are stuck with it instead of grandstanding by labs and folks like John Hogan. Also woulda been easier if they rolled it out in parts and pieces and worked out the kinks… but that didn’t happen, that iceberg is dead ahead!

-- Check this out from my friend and former industry mate, Drew Vass. He has a pretty incredible music career coming along and he created this pretty awesome website to show off the talent. Click on it and check it out and you can say you knew him when he picks up his first grammy. Dude has serious talent.

Off to the Links!

The “Link Chick” on fire again this week… good stuff below…

-- Getting a house from the reality show Extreme Makeover, Home Edition does guarantee you can keep it… foreclosures are happening…. Yikes. Next up, I am betting on lawsuits from “Undercover Boss”

-- This better not catch on… paying for your carry-on bags… Spirit Air is doing it and the logic is just stunning.

-- Where are the world’s newest architectural wonders? Check em out here!

Video of the Week:

Baseball opened this past week and you won’t see many plays as good as this one all season… Mark Buerhrle of the Chicago White Sox makes an insane play… last year he threw a perfect game… this year this web gem! (and the mix of announcers going crazy, very cool too)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Schedule Change

Quick advisory... the weekly posts will now be here on Monday nights instead of Weds. So look for a new post starting tomorrow- April 12th.... and I'll continue to post when news and issues warrant... but the weekly one will now appear on Monday nights...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What a combo!

(Shorter than normal post ahead....)

What happens when you have two of the things that frustrate you the most meeting and teaming up? Your brain explodes…. And mine did just that with the news this week that sponsoring the upcoming NFRC meeting will be China Southern Glass! Yep the NFRC and China… together… a true axis of evil in my mind…. Unreal. The whole sponsorship of the NFRC meetings is severely hokey as it is, but now getting the Chinese involved is just pure insanity. Yep ladies and gentleman the Titanic now has the endorsement of China….


-- Last summer I predicted $4 per gallon gas… and was wrong (THANKFULLY)… this summer though $4 per gallon gas is a mortal lock… its over $3 in parts of the US and it’s not even prime travel season yet….

-- I picked DUKE to win the NCAA…. And was right for the first time since 1986. (Yes I keep track, 1986 was the last year I picked an NCAA tourney winner) The blind squirrel finds the acorn here…

-- Also speaking of sports… opening day in baseball this week… love it…. So my predictions since I am on a roll… The Phillies win the series in a rematch against the Yanks…

-- I write every week on people and companies who I think “get it” during these times. Companies that make moves to improve instead of turtle. This week’s example is General Glass. The news that they are creating a new architecture and design department is brilliant. Jumping on the trends and milking them… very shrewd.

-- Saw the piece on line that shows construction spending is at an 8 year low… No doubt things are ugly but I stand behind my comments that companies that are picking their spots, bringing in new people, and expanding their presence and offerings are the ones that will escape the mess first and be better for it.

-- Last, the rumor has it that when Viracon’s Don McCann spoke at MIT he was awarded a honorary doctorate. So I guess we all need to address him as Dr. McCann….

Off to the Links!

The “Link Chick” as always is scouring the interwebs for your enjoyment….

-- Look out if you live in the upper Midwest and Rocky Mountain areas… a mass infestation of grasshoppers is on the menu for this summer… yikes.

-- Classic dumb luck story... baseball player hits a foul ball into the stands… and who does that foul ball hit? His Mom…. Oh no…

-- I’m a huge sportsfan as you know but not this huge… this couple named their kid after their favorite college… hmmm you know maybe I shoulda named my son Bobcat…

Video of the Week

Every year after the NCAA Tourney is done, CBS does a video montage called “One Shining Moment” and usually its awesome… this year was decent, but not as great as it used to be. In any case it does boil the tourney down to 3 fun minutes of video…