Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Confidence Index

We’ve got a new entrant into the world of forecasting the construction industry and this one in its initial report provided some very interesting insight.  The USG & US Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index provided by Dodge Data made its debut and it’s a quarterly index of commercial construction through the eyes of the contractor world.  The report featured a “Confidence Index” that pegged in at 76, which meant it was squarely in the “healthy market” zone and included a ton of survey detail on everything from hiring to green building practices.  The eye-catching thing for me was the green aspect and what I would consider a surprising lack of enthusiasm or usage on such products.  The survey showed that only 26% of respondents see requests for energy efficient products and only 30% seek them out in a major way.  68% either seek them out a little or not at all.  The majority of people requesting or working with energy products are from larger firms (100 million and over) where 48% request and use green related products vs. small ones (under 10 million) who checked in at 7%.  There are a few things here though that jump out at me… is it possible that the respondents don’t realize they are seeking out energy efficient products?  After all so many products have gained performance over the years.  Do you consider a double silver low e an “energy efficient” product?  Or does it have to be triple silver?  Or with BIPV?   Not knowing how someone one defines energy efficiency is a major question for me.  Still it is scary that so many in a major position of power admit they only sparingly look for products that could make an energy difference.   I would assume a lot more on this will be coming out over the next days/weeks/months and I look forward to the 3rd Quarter report to see what else is involved and how the “Confidence Index” is doing.  I’ll obviously keep you appraised on here…


--  Its been a while since I have given props on a new or updated website… so time to shine the spotlight again and this one goes to WAWilson for their awesome refresh.  Yes, my brother Steve is an owner there but even if he wasn’t I would absolutely point out the fresh and very effective approach that they took.  So congrats to my brother, Bobby Hartong and everyone at WA Wilson who made this happen.

--   Really interesting read here on the trees being planted at Apple’s new campus HQ and the difference they will actually make with regards to the carbon footprint. 

--  GlassBuild America note… when you registered did you sign up to come to see Cam Marston at the opening session?  Remember the opening session is open to all… so if you are going to be there and ready for the show, I strongly recommend adding this to your schedule.  Those who have seen Cam speak previously raved about the insight he brought so I don’t think you will want to miss it.  A note in an e-mail from GlassBuild summed it up:

   Build your workforce. Key to addressing the industries' workforce challenge is recruiting young people. GlassBuild America attendees will have the opportunity to hear generational expert Cam Marston address this subject during the GlassBuild America Opening Session—OPEN TO ALL. He will share how understanding the differences of each generation, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, can help attract and retain a new generation of employees. Attendees will walk away with actionable ideas to help them effectively manage across the generations.

--  Last this week… can you believe football season is about to start?  NFL preseason kicks off this coming week.  College (which I love) is a month out.  My goodness.  Time is flying at warp speed.


The Pacific NW has had a brutal run with their highways… last week eels… this week dough.  Lots of dough…

Our schools are a mess.  This story is a part of that.


Tom Dixon is an up and coming country artist and one that has his heart in the right place.  He does tons of charity and his latest is the song “Alive Day” that supports the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes charity that I have noted from time to time.  The official music video is strong….

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trending Positive

2nd half construction forecasts now have been released by a few of the groups I follow and the news continues to be good.  Depending on the analyst, non-residential building is up 5-7% so far this year and the backlogs/starts continue to be strong lending quite a bit of confidence in the belief that 2018 and now 2019 should be solid.  You may see some reports showing forecasts slower than this but keep in mind these forecasts get revised and in the last 2 years pretty much every one has been revised upward.
Obviously the political landscape all over the globe has the ability to change all of this immediately but for now, the trend is certainly our friend.  Also the Dodge Momentum Index and the Architectural Billings Index both just reported strong results in their June reports and both have been on fire all year.  This is surely a great run from economic side- lets make the best of it industry wide!


--  We as an industry have a ton of providers of materials on a job.  There’s the glass, metal, hardware and components like sealants, caulk, shims etc.  We all want to promote everything we do… but context is needed when the promotion comes.  If you show a picture of an entire skyscraper but you only did a fraction of the material and it’s not really shown, should you promote that entire job as yours?  Or at least leave the impression that it is?  It’s misleading and not right.  Our industry had an example of that online last week and it was disappointing in that it happened, but also that it was never addressed or corrected.  As an industry we take a lot of heat on many things that are not our fault, so it sure would be nice to not bring on extra woe unnecessarily...especially a potential misrepresentation of product on a project.  So when you see the beautiful photo and not a rendering of the completed 609 Main project in Houston, credit for the massive amount of glass in the picture should go to Viracon (tower fa├žade) and Novum (Podium).  Harmon was the glazier.  Congrats to those companies for a job well done!

--  Get Well SOON wishes to an old and great friend Danny Danese of Thompson IG.  Danny is an awesome man that has a heart as big as the globe.  I have absolutely no doubt that he’ll be back at it on the road and out and about in no time after this health concern. 

--  Congrats to Seth Patterson of Thermal Windows on his promotion to VP of Commercial Sales.  Seth was always very welcoming whenever I would see him at GlassBuild and he knows his stuff!  Good to see him moving up the ladder…

--  One week ago I talked “green” rating systems with WELL vs. LEED… After posting I got some excellent feedback from one of the people I consider the smartest in our world- Kerry Haglund of the Efficient Windows Collaborative.  Kerry left the following message on it.

Max, just a bit of clarification on LEED vs WELL. LEED is about energy efficiency/conservation and the built environment. WELL is all about the health and well-being of the people in the buildings and occupied spaces. WELL focuses some on efficiency strategies but only if they are for the benefit of the occupants. So, the two standards/rating systems are not comparable. Though they can be done in conjunction and there are a few strategies and preconditions/optimizations that can satisfy both WELL and LEED. If you need more information, just let me know, I'm a LEED AP as well as a WELL AP :-)

THANK YOU Kerry- I appreciate the additional information and I think with how important this subject is (overall sustainability and how we rate and track) I will be getting with you to get and share more insight with the industry!

--  Last this week, the Top 300 Architectural Firms list was released and for the 6th straight year Gensler was number 1.  Not a lot of movement amongst the top 25 showing the big players continue to dominate.


Hard to believe this is true… 27 contacts… in one eye…

You know this is coming to the US somehow. 

Get ready for more mosquitos…. Yikes.


The new baseball stadium in Atlanta is getting rave reviews (though I can’t get on of the glazing companies to ever talk to me about their role… that’s another story for another time) and I love seeing time lapse videos of how things are built.  Check it out!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It Takes Two to Get It Done

Last week on Katy Devlin had an excellent blog post on our industry and breakthrough innovations.  If you have not had time to read it yet, please go and check it out.  My take on this is two fold.  There is absolutely no doubt that we as an industry are mired in a glacial like pace when it comes to innovation and change.  There is an absolute fear of disruption and match that with a lot of companies that prefer a more conservative route and you have the incrementalism that Katy covers in her piece.  The other issue is the many companies that ARE working on change and processes that could truly push our world forward are doing so in a bubble.  They are doing it without any true industry insights and thoughts and so they end up drifting blindly into our space and then find it to be unwelcoming and uninterested.   So in my mind the key is both sides need to give… the industry MUST be open to trying new things, pushing new approaches etc.  These developers and inventors need to engage the industry earlier in the process to get true and real insights so they can prepare for the potential objections and work over them.  So if you are one of the hundred of companies incubating change for our world- reach out!  Don’t wait.  Do it earlier in the process than later.  And from an industry standpoint if one of these folks reach out to you- take them seriously, engage with them, work to see where it can come into play.  Be willing to disrupt for the good and for the growth.   Let’s do this….


--  The GANA Fall Conference schedule is out and it is different than its predecessors.  With GANA Fall now integrated into GlassBuild America changes were made and the result was a smart, streamlined conference that allows work to be done and networking achieved while doing it in an efficient manner that truly serves the stakeholder.  Have you registered yet?  Do it today. 

--  Kudos to Rob Struble and the team at Vitro on the launch of their Inspirescapes Blog. This is really a nice resource to have and constantly visit.  It’s a good mix of promotional and informational.  I especially liked the piece on full sized mock ups.  Good work folks!

--  What is everyone’s take on the WELL Building Standard™?  As most readers of this blog know I am not a fan of LEED.  Is WELL a better option?  Does it do more for the environment?  Is it a better program that has potential for more acceptance?  Or does this end up with many other “green” rating systems that tried and ended up being footnotes thanks to massive shadow of LEED?

--  Last this week…  It looks like our friends in Kansas City are going to get a new airport terminal.  As anyone who has flown through KCI can attest, it really was not a terminal set up for the rigors of post 9/11 security and when flight delays happened, you were really in trouble.  So its good to see this happening for that- plus we all know tons of glass and aluminum get used on these projects, so that’s cool too.  The thing to watch is what Architecture firm wins the bid- some serious powerhouses involved in the process… I’m excited to see it all play out!


Wild story on a man trapped in an ATM machine.

Tennis is a fascinating sport; you don’t have to be a certain height to be successful.  Thisstory and picture shows it….


My guy Dustin Anderson was at it again breaking glass… this time with recently retired NFL star Justin Forsett.  Great stuff as always!!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Ready for GBA and look back at GPD

We are now just 9 weeks from GlassBuild America 2017 and the show is really shaping up very nicely.   The amount of people I am hearing from with regards to attending is really exciting.  There is no question that more and more in our industry are realizing that they HAVE TO COME to events like this to be able to gain knowledge and networking.  If you have not registered or booked your hotel yet, do it now. Atlanta, September 12-14.  And if you have any questions on what you may find when attending the show, feel free to drop me a line.


Last week Glass Processing Days in Finland wrapped up (Katy Devlin provided fantastic coverage on Glass Magazine twitter feed) and I wanted to catch up with Chris Fronsoe of ICD High Performance Coatings who had the extreme honor of presenting during the conference.  Below is my quick Q&A with him.

What did you speak about at GPD?
    A current challenge happening to spandrel glass is occurrences of thermal stress breakage that can be costly and potentially dangerous. Silicone opacifiers were examined as a solution to prevent strength reduction in HT glass, therefore reducing the risk of instances of thermal stress breakage.

How do you think it was received?  Any reaction from the audience?
     Our group’s topic was well received by world-class glass fabricators and industry experts. Scientific data, in addition to a demonstration video showing silicone opacifiers having no weakening effect on the glass – in some instances greatly improving glass breakage resistance – was powerful and thought provoking. Many conversations post-presentation revealed genuine surprise and awe.

What was it like to speak at an event like this?
    Speaking at an event like Glass Performance Days is truly a privilege. Gathered in one place are the top industry experts, architects, designers, suppliers, etc. Each has come to see the latest and greatest innovations, and address and solve the top concerns in the industry. Presenting a solution to a global problem in front of an audience of brilliant, open-minded, forward-thinkers is a remarkable experience I will never forget.

Any other insights you picked up while there?
    I picked up so many ideas that the applications where I can apply my company’s technologies to are hard to number. In one presentation, given by Daniel Vos of Heintges, NYC, the need for precise harmonizing colors for spandrel glass was highly evident. Daniel showed photos of large architectural mock-ups where the spandrel glass color was just slightly off, resulting in a clear visual difference between the reflections of vision and spandrel glass. To Daniel, and many others, color always matters.

Thank you Chris- I look forward to hearing this presentation when you give it in the US sometime in the future.

A couple of quick tidbits to end this post…

--  If you do e-mail blasts to folks in Canada- you need to read this and prepare accordingly!

--  Congrats to Bill Daubmann and family on a very cool recent honor.  D3 Glass was selected to be on GrowFL’s 2017 “50 Companies To Watch” list.  It is believed that the Daubmann’s are the first family to have two businesses selected for this honor with their MY Shower Door operation being highlighted in 2013 join this latest recognition.


Those alerts that come blaring on your phone can be loud but they sure are needed… still some don’t see it…

Interesting story…I do love when nasty customers are put in their place but there is also karma too- be careful dancing on someone too much. 


The next season of “Last Chance U” gets released on Netflix July 21.  Pretty interesting mini series on junior college football at a Mississippi powerhouse.