PGC Spring Meeting Winds Down Today

CHICAGO - The Protective Glazing Council's (PGC) Annual Spring Meeting finishes today, winding down two successful days of seminars.

Breaking from lunch after Ron Waranowski's seminar on electromagnetic protection yesterday, the group reconvened in the afternoon first to hear Michael Duffy with the HNTB Federal Service Corp. expound upon the benefit and connection of LEED criteria and protective glazing.

"You will recognize immediately that you are producing a better building. The rule of thumb is that, on average, buildings that are certified up to silver level will show a 20-year payback of 10 to 1 on a 2-percent investment, especially on the low end of the spectrum," said Duffy. "It's more than wanting to go hug a tree or pet a bunny."

Duffy explained that the energy efficiency demands of LEED criteria and the aspect of security glazing particularly come together where the U.S. Department of State Overseas Building Operations' (OBO) demands for U.S. embassies are concerned.

"Embassies are supposed to be representative of our society," Duffy continued, showing photos of the U.S. embassies in other countries before the events of September 11, 2001, since that time and projections for the future. Some older embassies, such as that in Oslo, Norway, had hardly any stand-off distance in a full side of fenestration.

Duffy noted that since 2001, the design of several United States embassies contained significantly less glazing and more resembled penitentiaries. That said, Duffy then showed slides of designs for embassies yet to be built, noting that many of the designs are incorporating more and more glass.

However, the OBO criteria for these new designs include meeting the goal of having all new facilities designed to LEED-certified levels and complete energy savings performance projects while still, of course, having the protective glazing element to secure building occupants.

Rounding out Wednesday's seminars was Dan William with the Chicago chapter of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who discussed threat assessment in Chicago.

"Chicago has the largest number of tall buildings over any metropolitan area. If you try to look back over the history of terrorist attack both in the U.S. and overseas, [terrorists] are looking to make a statement, have a high body count. Obvious targets are the Sears Tower-for its size and visibility-then the Hancock Tower," William said.

William discussed some of Chicago's vulnerability, as well as how the local FBI unit handles tips for terrorist threats and some of the general and more common concerns of building owners and managers that he and his coworkers field regularly. Opening the floor to questions, his audience did not disappoint; asking some thoughtful questions, ranging from the differences in studying domestic versus international terrorism to what percentage of blast-related tips they receive. (The answers are: a separate division handles domestic terrorist threats and, though he has no actual numbers, William estimates that the majority of the threats they receive are blast related).

The Thursday morning general session began with a panel discussion titled Quick and Dirty: A Job Analysis from Alpha to Omega. The panel, comprising of Daryl Barker (ABS Consulting), Michael Lowak (Baker Risk) and Joseph Smith (Applied Research Associates), took questions from the audience.

Discussion began almost immediately, with a question about how protective glazing implemented in the Gulf Coast stood up to Katrina and other devastating hurricanes of 2005. Questions rolled on to those ranging from technical advice to simple inquiries such as what information consultants are looking for to help them help clients. All three panelists noted that the more they work with a client, the more they know and understand the client's needs.

"Now you guys tend to ask two days before the bid is due if you can send it over earlier, we may be able to point out things [you may have overlooked]. There are questions I might notice that you need to ask and if I don't get the bid early enough I can't help you ask those questions. We give vendors an idea of what it's going to take to meet that spec plus we add in what it would cost us to help them with what they'll need when they get that bid," said Barker.

Wrapping up, each panelist was asked to summarize his thoughts on the discussion.

"Based on all the questions, the key is knowing what you need to do to provide the product you want to provide," said Lowak.

"I'd just add that the area you're working in with protective glazing and window systems, is a boutique industry. Think of yourself not as a products provider but as a solution provider," said Smith.

"Education is a real key and something that's missing. The PGC has been great about that for a long time, educating clients, but vendors need to educate their own sales staff. I talk with lots of clients who are inundated with claims that are just bogus because the salesmen are a little overzealous," said Barker.

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