Sunday, October 31, 2010

The battles will continue

The IECC hearings were held last week in Charlotte and as an industry we did get a couple of “wins” but overall we are still chasing our tails. Codes and code implementation and enforcement are usually positive things from a business sense, but not when they are illogical or impossible to produce with some sort of efficiency. The ironic thing in these fights is usually most of the manufacturers are one side and the consultants and advocacy group are on the other. Why we can’t ever take the best of both (like Dr. Tom Culp always tries to push) is beyond me. As an example, I truly believe the manufacturer side is not B-S’ing you when they talk about structural integrity. Believe me they know and work with the products- have installed it etc. So when a consultant or politico breaks into a speech that a Vinyl curtainwall can go 20 floors in the sky and hold up the same as metal or steel… well sorry, not in my world. Anyway, bottom line is the fight goes on.

Elsewhere…

-- I have to say that no other cause has ever done a better job of being commercially active than Breast Cancer Awareness. The folks behind that effort in getting the pink involved EVERYWHERE should be commended for their efforts. It’s all over the place- in magazines, TV, Football players, hockey players using pink sticks and so on. It’s absolutely amazing. Hopefully all of this will lead to the advancements needed to strike down this and other related diseases.

-- Last week’s note on USGBC raised several comments to me personally and one on the post itself. The issue that some people have is the program is just not realistic in some levels. People will use products to get “points” or “credits” and they may not be the best products for the long term life of the structure. It becomes a game in a way. And quite frankly the fact that glass doesn’t count as recycled material or powdercoat and liquid paint count the same are among other issues. I don’t deny that it has made people aware of green building and it does do some good things- but the issues that Henry Gifford and other naysayers have are legitimate.

-- I missed making my NBA picks last week… so here they are… take em to the bank… in the East… no doubt despite having no other players the Miami Heat will win. LeBron is just a beast and once these guys figure out how to play 3 on 5 every night…look out. In the West… hard to argue with the Lakers- just too much talent there… funny that Kobe is now more popular than LeBron. And in the finals I like the Lakers to repeat…

-- The PPG story on the supply of the WTC glass at least is happier than it was a few months ago. It’s a shame the glass will be fabricated in China though, but I guess it’s still a win. Kudos to PPG for staying on it like they did as the initial reaction on all parties was that this deal was done and there was no turning back. Kind of proves that some things are not over until they are over.

-- Last, this election day is huge as you may know. This really will be fascinating to see what happens but end of the day, let’s hope that the folks we are sending to Washington start working for US and doing what needs to be done to advance this country.

LINKS of the WEEK

Thanks to the many incredible and aware technology savvy people who sent me how to do the links popping up in a new window. Trying it today- let’s hope I don’t screw it up. Anyway THANK YOU all for the help!

-- It’s funny I have my daughter helping me with some on line stuff… but not as intense as FireFox hiring a 12 year old boy to search for bugs in their system. There’s actually good money in finding “bugs” so my friends who helped me with these links, you all should look into that!

-- Moral of this story, never trust your buddy to get you a tattoo… because you may not like that lewd image on your back…

-- This guy caught a HUUUUGE fish in the Hudson River… scary man, scary.

VIDEO of the WEEK

The trend of animating scandals has been growing… there was Tiger Woods and others but now the craft folks have done an animated video of what went down with Charlie Sheen last week. It is quite comical I must say. Almost feels like you were there…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

USGBC in the crosshairs

For years I have been blogging about the NFRC and along the way I had more than a few people tell me I was missing the boat. That while the NFRC had issues, my sights should’ve been on the USGBC and their LEED program. I understood their angst but I never really dug into it. Well I guess now I don’t have to as a class action lawsuit against the USGBC has been filed and this one should be very fascinating to follow. The suit was filed by a gentleman named Henry Gifford who for years has been outspoken about the USGBC and LEED programs. Gifford basically alleges everything and more that the anti-USGBC crowd has been crowing about for years. After the suit was filed the blogosphere blew up with articles and comments about this issue as it will be a hot one. Right now the USGBC OWNS the green building world. Many others have come in and tried (Spirit, Green Globes, SEED, etc) and never came close to getting the footing that USGBC and LEED enjoy.
Great reading HERE for the actual complaint and HERE for an opinion piece comparing Gifford to Rosa Parks. Check out the comments below on the 2nd link as some interesting takes including Gifford himself with a quick comment. As one poster there said perfectly it’s like “as the Green Building Turns”
H/T to the Green Building Law Blog for great coverage.

Elsewhere…

-- Somewhere I think the Phillies and Yankees lost because I predicted them in the World Series… anyway I look forward to a Giant-Ranger tilt… love the stories behind the Rangers… but this will surely be a series of great pitching (Giants) vs. hitting (Rangers)…. Surely not as sexy of a match up (like Yanks-Phils_ but should be very good.

-- The good news that the overall Architectural Billings Index breaking the magical 50 mark for the first time in almost 3 years is probably tempered some by the regionality of the scores. The scores for the Northeast and Midwest surely skewed the score as the West and South are still showing very meager results. Still though, positive news is awesome. If the momentum continues it would jive with the predictions that the comeback will hit our industry in the 2nd half of 2011. Still a long way away but at least possibly light at the end of the tunnel. To read the official report on the ABI, click HERE.

-- And speaking of the links, I have been trying to get them to pop up in their own windows but I am inept at making that work. No clue why it won’t work for me, so until I figure it out (or someone smarter walks me though) I apologize for making you click forward and back.

-- Back to the good news economy wise… you have to assume PPG having a record 3rd quarter earnings wise is also good news for the overall state of business. Though I am sure that the PPG sales guys probably hate when announcements like that come out for the obvious reasons…

-- I was in Vegas last week and every 2nd commercial was for a personal injury lawyer… that’s what the world has come to out there- which is sad. Best tag line from one of these classic ambulance chasers was: “In a wreck… Get a check”…. Yeesh…

LINKS of the WEEK

We already hit a few links above… but a couple more industry related ones actually…

-- First a quick slideshow on fraudulent construction products and how close they look to real…

-- Cool video story of a new “liquid” curtainwall. Very interesting concept but is it realistic?

VIDEO of the WEEK

Saturday Night Live took on the latest Brett Favre controversy with a classic approach… making fun of his Wrangler Jean ads… classic!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Big News!

Update 10/18 -6:30AM

As you will read more in EWeekly, our industry has won a pretty significant victory in the code world as the ASHRAE appeals panel has OVERTURNED the two most controversial and possibly damaging code items from ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Folks, plain and simple this is a great moment for us as an industry. The plan for reduction of the window to wall ratio and the new minimums for Visible Light/Solar Heat Gain have been rebuffed. The excitement is because our industry worked together with a common goal and for the first time since we started this concerted process (I started in 2004) we have a victory. (We've even lost when we won votes at NFRC 49-6... so believe me to get a win like this is huge) The bottom line is we are stronger as an organized group than we are as individuals and quite frankly we are only trying to do what's sensible. No one is against energy efficiency- quite the opposite really, but we want to do it logically without destroying our industry. This announcement surely starts that process. Congrats to Dr. Culp and the Aluminum Extruder Council, Urmilla Sowell and Bill Yanek of GANA, Marg Webb and IGMA, Guardian, AGC, and Pilkington for filing the appeals and fighting it to the end. Truly monumental!


Elsewhere…

-- I was completely bummed to miss Solar Power International last week in LA. When I went last year it was an amazing show and people were so incredibly hopeful. So to those of you who went, any insight on the mood there would be great. Something tells me it wasn’t as cheery as last year but probably still better than most shows have been.

-- Best line of the week… the guy who said the housing market forecast was in various “shades of lousy”… oh man that line just hit it on the head. So if the housing market is “shades of lousy” the commercial building market must be shades of words that can’t be typed on a family blog eh?

-- Is there anything more frustrating than flying? Seriously? Last week I saw TSA make a big issue out of an IPAD. The TSA agent said the IPAD either had to ride alone in a bin OR stay in the guys briefcase. Umm, I don’t get that logic- do you? Well when the guy complained off to extra screening he went.

-- Then on the plane- the packed, steamy hot plane… two rows ahead me (and shockingly not my row) a young lady boarded late holding a child that had to be at least 1. She only had one seat. A middle seat. And so that row, even though the child was small, it sure wasn’t a “baby” in my mind had 4 people jammed in for 3 hours. Miserable. The thing I thought was that baby is bigger than a lap top, yet you can’t hold a lap top on your lap for takeoff or touchdown….

-- Look out Ashley Elementary, my son was passed the activist gene… young Zach was elected to student council… I can’t wait til he starts a blog railing about the new evil lunch procedure and how the lunch ladies just mark in lockstep with the paraprofessionals working the floor.

LINKS of the WEEK

-- Every so often someone comes out raging about the LEED program. Add this Toronto professor to the list- great arguments here.

-- A bizarre experiment with a Happy Meal… what will it look like 180 days after buying it…

VIDEO of the WEEK

Folks this story is 7 minutes long but simply amazing. Its about a soldier that was impaled by a live rocket propelled grenade. Simply stirring and interesting and props to good friend Greg Carney for sharing it. Check it out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

End of era

Up and down news week for me…. First on the down side, the depressing news about the closing of Mid Ohio Tempering by the UGC… It really is very sad and upsetting news…. aside from folks losing their jobs (which is very depressing obviously and the most important) there’s a historical piece here as the original founder of this company, Jack Deyo, is another one of those guys (like I noted Eric Rapp to be last week) that would be first ballot industry hall of famers (in my opinion). Seeing his place go down in this manner, with him helpless to do anything (UGC and Jack parted a few years ago) had to be pure misery. The facility, which possibly could’ve had a buyer (especially with rumors of a west coast guy opening up in Columbus) will be remembered in my mind for its commitment to quality and customers. I guess stripping the facility and sending equipment elsewhere was the better deal in their minds. My thoughts go out to all of the folks affected by this news and I hope they can land somewhere good. (And if the rumor of someone opening in C-Bus is true, the new company has ready-made and motivated workforce)

Elsewhere…

-- Now on the upside, the UGC location in Pittsburgh made a great hire of Rob Taliani formerly of Arch. Great guy and yes I am biased as Rob is a very close friend. But still he will do extremely well for that group, especially now that he won’t have the worries of competing with his fabricators or having to go after general contractors like leadership from his old company has been quoted on. (Yep I know I am beating that dead horse... but those interviews were blog material gold!)

-- Ok, enough bad news for now… a major congrats to Darand Davies of Dallas Glass (Salem, OR) for winning the Hartung/Guardian “Beat the Heat” competition. Darand is a tremendous guy and operator and it is very nice to see people like that get some great publicity.

-- Usually on line discussions in or about our industry aren’t very popular. Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of opinions out there shared privately everyday but putting yourself out there is rare. Well recently a phenomenon of sorts took place over at business social media site LinkedIn when they question was asked “do we have a dearth of qualified people in the fa├žade industry?” This discussion brought tons of replies and really is an interesting question overall. We as an industry do have some holes, especially in attracting new/young/fresh talent… though we also sometimes mis-use or miss flat out quality talent as well. End of the day though I found it interesting that there was a pretty good on line discussion of an issue that will have ramifications somewhere down the line.

-- Last week while in one of my hotel stays I came across the movie “Taken” starring Liam Neeson. This is one of those movies that I just love to watch… he’s like Jack Bauer, so that’s big, I love the action, and quite frankly is my daughter ever got in trouble (like his in the movie) I wish I could morph into that character. Simply awesome.


-- By the way I did not make a post season pick last week for baseball because my choices back in April- Yanks vs Phillies is still alive. I do though want the Rangers to make it, as I love that line up and the storylines with the Rangers are amazing. (Josh Hamilton’s comeback, Ron Washington’s issues, Ian Kinsler being the rare Jewish baseball stud and so on)

LINKS of the WEEK

-- I have had some cool structures featured here… and you can add this one to the list… the balancing barn!


-- Thanks to an old pal, AKA “The Freight Train” for this one.. a great story on Barry Sanders Jr. as he is headed towards some of the same greatness his father showed. Something tells me Lions fans are hoping that he can come to Detroit!

-- The newest disease for the tech world… “Toasted Skin Syndrome” for when you work too long with your lap top... on your lap…

VIDEO of the WEEK

From a friend of the blog in New York… just an awesome shootout style of goal in Hockey… kids name is Kaspars Daugavin and I have a feeling you may be seeing his name more often in the future.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Mid Term Test

We are just a few short weeks away from a moment that could have a massive effect on our business lives. Like no other time in my life, the mid-term elections are something to follow and hope that whatever the outcome, positive movement for business happens. It’s seemingly every month that the ABI totals mention the icy cold credit markets, which is pretty much hampering a large part of our industry. Will the outcomes in November be able to get things to thaw? I hope so. Regardless and sadly we are headed for a very cold winter that’s for sure. I do look forward to what the analysts and experts in our industry predict for 2011 and I’d expect to start seeing some of those comments soon.

Elsewhere…

-- Hey did you see that construction spending went up 0.4% in August? Break out the champagne! The increase was led by government projects… you know like there’s anything but government projects these days…

-- One of these years I’m gonna have to get to glasstec. Just reading all of the coverage makes it sound so unreal.

-- Saw at glasstec the announcement of a new warm edge spacer technology. The material from Infinite Edge Technologies was founded by Eric Rapp and I think it’s just tremendous to have Eric and family back in the day to day grind of our industry. I’m a big fan of the Rapp clan and quite frankly when the Glass Hall of Fame opens; Eric Rapp needs to be a charter member. Best of luck guys!

-- We had winners in Solutia’s awesome World of Color Awards. The winners were very cool, so unreal uses of color and style. To view the winners and some awesome runners up, you can click HERE. Kudos again to Solutia for a great concept.

-- The whole “Death Ray” glass theme that played all over the network morning shows was comical to me. Everyone I know outside of the industry sent me a link to it, asking me about it etc. Only in our industry can we get the oddest publicity ever. I do have to say though having been at many Vegas pools during the summer, that if it was even hotter than normal, it must’ve been insane.

-- The inane Donald Trump window order debacle is sad and infuriating. There is no doubt several people could’ve supplied windows for his building instead of going to China, but at the end price won out and he played the supply card. It’s the same thing that happened on the bottom floors of the new WTC when the Port Authority took the money and ran, then made a ton of excuses to cover their behinds.

-- Hockey starts this week!! And I am so looking forward to it… and I am sure you are looking forward to my picks to win it all… I think the West will come down to Vancouver and the Red Wings, with Detroit going back to the Cup yet again. In the East, it really is time for Ovechkin and company to take it and they’ll get there with an epic 7 game win over the Pens. (It hurts to even type that) And the Cup will go to DC, with the Caps winning in 6. And yes I’d be thrilled to be wrong.

LINKS of the WEEK

-- Funny link… Top 10 songs that make men cry…. And I have to disagree with some of these but fun none the less. I cry at the end of movie's like Rocky or The Natural... not at songs.

-- This is awesome… ever see the commercials with the “Most Interesting Man in the World”? It’s for the beer Dos Equis and the commercials have reached cult status… well this link introduces you to the actor who plays the role and his background just cracked me up!

-- Remember that crazy US Open Tennis video from a few weeks ago with the fight in the stands? Well the young guy who was in the middle of it, just got in trouble again.

VIDEO of the WEEK

You may have seen this, but it’s from Australia’s Top Model and the announcement of the winner goes woefully wrong. The big question is do you think this was an honest mistake or a plan… because the coverage they are getting from this screwed up announcement is bigger than ever. (At about 50 seconds in you see the host change the decision. It’s like trainwreck)