Sunday, March 27, 2016

Windows Follow Up

Last week I wrote about a window job in Hawaii that I had significant concerns about.  I was thrilled to hear from many people with additional thoughts on the project and I wanted to cover a few of them this week as a follow up.  First off, I did get told that the windows were not floor to ceiling.  They are floor level but only going up 30”.  So that obviously makes a difference in the scenario of an adult walking through it.  Even with that I am still not a fan of the design and still don’t believe it’s logical.  The opening still can be very dangerous for a child or a pet.  How that’s not a bigger issue is surprising to me.   Plus as I mentioned last week- without a safety screen this makes it an opening for debris to fall and cause damage on the street below.  I guess this make up is common, though it really makes no sense to me.  If you want fresh air, it seems to me that there’s got to be other ways.  The other avenue that a few brought up was energy loss.  That’s a healthy opening to allow air in- how does this effect the energy usage?  I am not sure- I’d assume the climate in Hawaii may be OK for this as the AC may not need to run at night if you can get air flow from the window openings.  Anyway, it’s been a fascinating ride and I’ll continue to monitor.


--  The Architectural Billings Index popped back into positive territory for February.  I had a feeling that was going to be the case.  The real positive takeaway was that the AIA feels March and April will be strong- so here’s the thing to watch… Most expect 2016 to be a good year.  The put in place spend is already there.  2017 is something we just don’t know.  This forecast (because it hits our industry a year out) is one of those indicators that could give us a clue- so the next few months are important in relation to the start of the 2017 cycle.

--  If you have not seen the incredible video from Guardian Industries on how float glass is made, do yourself a favor and check it out.  Well done and a great tool for showing those in the industry who have never been to a float- how it works.  Kudos to the team at Guardian responsible for this one!

--  Time is running out for you to get your nominations in for the prestigious Glass Magazine Awards. April 8th is the cutoff.  So many great projects and products in our industry- I love this stuff!

--  So time for another list… Forbes did a rundown of the Top 10 most traffic-clogged cities… so I know have had this subject before because it always intrigues me.  This one is missing a doozy location in my opinion… here’s the countdown

  10- Honolulu- Wow I may move HQ of this blog to Hawaii since that area keeps coming up!  You know to be closer to the news and action of course!
  9- Atlanta- It’s bad- but not top 10 bad for me- those who live there may disagree
  8- Chicago- Absolutely brutal.
  7- Boston- When it rains- this is top 3.
  6- Seattle- Traffic a mess because of layout of city.
  5- New York City- Is this true or reputation?
  4- Houston- Been there, taken side streets to avoid the backups, only to be more miserable
  3- San Francisco- All of the public transport doesn’t help?
  2- Washington DC- no question- deserved…
1-    Los Angeles- Is this like NYC?  Reputation over reality?

Who’s missing?  Dallas/Ft. Worth.  That is a top 5 traffic nightmare city for me.  Between construction and rush hour and those crazy GPS destroying on and off ramps, how this is not in the top 10 is amazing to me.

LINKS of t he WEEK

Denver got crushed with a blizzard last week.  Thank goodness I was not there for that…

Good stuff- hopefully this young man can keep climbing at that organization


If you know me- you know I LOVE dogs.  This video is great- a stray dog, living on the streets is rescued and rehabbed.  Video captures the amazing journey…

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Windows in Paradise?

Hawaii is experiencing a building boom and with it comes adventures.  One such issue popped on my radar this week with an almost completed residential skyscraper using a window in an application that to me is downright scary.  At the Ritz Carlton Residences on Waikiki Beach, the windows go floor to ceiling, but they project out at the bottom (floor level) at least 4 inches.  (Window opens out, not up)  That may seem harmless in print, but looking at it in reality it makes no sense at all.   The opening is at the floor, and surely large enough for almost anything to fall through it and be a dangerous projectile for those on the ground.  In fact at least one cell phone has already fallen through.  But the bigger safety issue to me is the human factor.  While a child or an adult can’t fall through a 4” opening the fact that the window opens outward momentum from a human can potentially push them right through.  Amazing this design meets code because there is a 3” lip at the floor in front of the window.  Because it meets code, the city planners say their hands are tied.  Thankfully there’s now a push locally from home inspectors (props to Wayne Blackburn of Inspector Homes for leading the charge) and others to get this issue addressed.  For me it’ a common sense thing- I just can’t grasp why a designer would choose this style of window for this application and why no one is thinking of the liability that will certainly come.  I am not a big window guy, maybe this design is common, but I’ve never seen it in an application like this.  The Honolulu Star Advertiser has a great story on it, but it’s behind a paywall so I can’t link here.  I’ll keep following the process, as this structure is due to officially open in April. 

UPDATE:  Wayne Blackburn of Inspector Homes provided this picture to me so you can see exactly what I am talking about.  Thank you Wayne!


--  Great news on an honor being bestowed on one of the best our industry has.  Julie Schimmelpenningh of Eastman is receiving the Award of Merit from ASTM International.  This is the highest award an individual can get and it so deserved.  The time, effort, and care Julie puts into representing her company and our industry is incredible.  It is awesome she is being recognized for those efforts!!  Congrats Julie!

--  One of the commercials during March Madness basketball was for a business insurance company called CinFin, also known as Cincinnati Financial.  The commercial featured a glass facility- looked like a fabricator actually.  So who was it?  Which company got featured?  If it’s you don’t be shy and let me know… and way to go on getting featured in the commercial… hopefully you got a break on rates!

--  Really excited about the news on the expansion of GlassBuild America.  I really love that things are progressing in our industry so well that the show can grow.  The event this year is later than normal- October 19-21 in Las Vegas, and it will be the perfect place and time to wind down 2016 and budget, prep, and plan for 2017.  Can’t wait. 

--  Last this week… would you hire a photographer for your vacation as noted in this story.  It’s becoming a bit of trend where people are hiring professionals to documents everything on their trips- the reason I find this at all interesting is in the digital and smart phone era, picture taking has taken off, everyone thinks they’re a pro now.  I guess not “everyone” is after all.


7-11 is now selling a slurpee flavored donut.  I am sure it is low calorie and fat free.

THIS is an awesome story!

The first movie I ever saw in a theater was the original Willy Wonka.  Now it looks like the Chocolate Factory is coming to life at Universal Studios.


My son has totally gotten me back into watching Saturday Night Live (though I watch the next day.. I’m too old to stay up…lol) and it’s been good.  This past week Ariana Grande was guest host and this performance, which I also believe she did on the Jimmy Fallon show was great.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Renovate and Remodel First!

A lot of things drive me crazy.  Those of you who know me, know that I surely have my quirks.  One thing that gets me going is when you see an empty building or strip mall, and then on the site right next to it or in front of it, a brand new structure is being built.  It’s insane when we build new commercial spots when we have empty or underused ones in virtually the same place.  So I was quite pleased this week when I saw the story of shoe and clothing company Under Armour remodeling an old “Sam’s Club” building into a major office space for themselves.  This article should be shared with city and municipal planners everywhere and note before you approve that new retail structure 500 feet away from a perfectly good unused one think about how great this turned out. I know people prefer “new” but we as a society really need to improve the existing for many reasons….


--  Good news on the Dodge Momentum Index with a positive gain in February.  The next release of the other metric I follow regularly, the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) is set for March 23rd.

--  The e-mail virus scams are continuing to plague consumers and businesses and the latest one is having great success with it’s approach- so beware.  The e mail will come in and it will say something along the lines of “Invoice attached” and since we are all usually on our toes with regards to bills, clicking that link or attachment is almost 2nd nature.  However these e-mails have become a carrier for a nasty computer virus.  So if you are not used to getting invoices via e mail or do not recognize who is sending it to you, please do not open- delete. 

--  I am so pumped the best show on TV returns this week… “The Americans” are back and I simply can’t wait.  Awesome stuff.  If you have not caught the show, start from the beginning- it truly is a treasure, and if you do watch it, buckle in, I have a feeling this is going to be a very interesting year!

--  Congrats to my friend Devorah Serkin for her new gig at General Glass International (GGI)- Devorah is an extremely talented person and it was a pleasure getting to work with her in her past life at Dip-Tech.  She will do great things at GGI for sure. 

--  Last this week, just wanted to pass on congrats on a position I care a great deal about- the chair of GANA BEC.  Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning has completed his term and he did a fantastic job.  I have noted Jon’s impact here previously and that surely will not be forgotten.  Stepping in as the new Chair is Gus Trupiano of AGC.  This is an excellent selection for the role.  Gus is tremendous man who will bring a new voice and vision to the position and keep the division & industry moving forward.  This is excellent news for all who are involved in that world!


--  For my HR friends- you can enjoy this… the most ridiculous things listed on resumes.

--  Amazing picture and props to a dad with a very sore forearm… he saved his son from a flying bat. 

--  We have small dogs and unfortunately we are  having coyote sightings- so I think I’ll be ordering 3 of these for our pups.


It’s March Madness…. So time to remember a great moment from March Madness past… for my friend Tony Clark….

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Inside Bird Friendly Glazing

One of the subjects that came up at the GANA Annual Conference last week was bird friendly glazing.  I have mentioned that effort here a few times and recently I had the opportunity to talk with a few people very connected to that world- specifically the folks involved in getting an ASTM standard created for testing.  It’s been an extremely interesting learning experience for me as I knew about the products but had little idea on how the testing worked.
I was able to ask a few questions to the co-chair of this ASTM committee working on this standard, Dr. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy to get some insight on the process.

Max: How far along is the ASTM committee so far in this effort to develop the standard and what are some of the challenges?

Dr. Sheppard: We have a great committee, and a large one, with experts from diverse parts of the glass industry, as well as architects, ornithologists and conservation biologists. We posted a first draft of the protocol and got a lot of good comments. Stefan Knust, my co-chair, has just posted the protocol, summaries of the comments and other materials, in preparation for scheduling our first conference call.

The most obvious challenge for this process is that ASTM has never had a protocol that includes live animals before. So we have to figure out what needs to be explained and what doesn’t. For example, our test involves working with specialists who safely net, handle and monitor the songbirds we fly in the tunnel.

Max: Is there anything that stands out for you with the (current glass industry) efforts or is there a long way to go?  For me it just feels like more and more people are understanding the issue and respecting it- determined to help with solutions than a few years ago for sure.  So I am curious if you are seeing that from your position in this process.

Dr. Sheppard: I think I’m seeing exactly what you are (and I think ABC has had a lot to do with it) – there is an increasing awareness of the issue that is leading to change. There is still a long way to go – the glass that’s already out there is killing a billion birds a year –  but you don’t have to give up glass to save birds – you simply have to think about birds early in the design phase. Enough buildings have been constructed and remediated to show that considering birds doesn’t impede creativity, impair function or bust budgets.

Thank you Dr. Sheppard for your time as well as the all of the people on the committee including folks like Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell of GANA, Sylvain Denis of Walker Glass, and Dr. Neil McSporran of Pilkington for doing what they are doing here.


--  Some additional notes on the (Glass Magazine) excitement I mentioned last week.  I forgot to note with the physical edition of the magazine an actual full sized map came with it- showing the world of glass- that was awesome.  I always loved when Glass Magazine did the maps in the past, so to see this feature return, I was pretty pumped. 

--  Also the ad of the month from that issue… the winner is the folks at Intermac.  Loved the ad for their water jet style cutter- they had a great focused shot of the machine in action with the water splashing out- very very eye catching and sharp.  Well done folks.  And overall- a lot of excellent ads this month- the creativity is flowing for many right now!

--  Last this week- a congrats to Alissa Schmidt of Viracon- she picked up an award from the Owatonna Business Women Group as the winner of the 2016 Young Careerist.  Very cool recognition for Alissa, Viracon, and our industry as so many times younger people don’t believe there’s a great career in the glass industry but the opportunities are out there and I am thrilled that it’s being noticed!


--  My family has this rule when we get those rare times (thanks to un-ending Dance and hockey) together for a meal… so I am all for it.

--  We can have many conversations about “millennials” and the way they do things but this one- the reason they don’t eat cereal- just scares me. 

--  Sad and depressing note of the week.


I have always believed you could have Morgan Freeman narrate anything and it would be incredible.  This week Jimmy Kimmel did just that- and it is true!