Sen. Walker's Response to Thomas Zaremba

I appreciate that as an industry representative Mr. Zaremba (see posting on USGNN.com from May 26) has a different opinion of what is an appropriate alternative to wired glass, and that he has a different version of the events in Kansas. However, he cannot argue the facts:

* The ICC structural committee voted in favor of removing the wired glass exemption both in 2000 and 2001. Mr. Zaremba filed an appeal on behalf of the wired glass industry on technical and procedural grounds, not on the merits;

* The membership of the ICC, in 2002, in Fort Worth, Texas, voted to overturn the recommendation of the structural committee by a vote of 300 to 158, falling only five votes short of the 2/3 majority. You didn't see the proponents of the code change whining about "fatal flaws" in the process - they picked themselves up by the bootstraps and soldiered on to Nashville and Kansas;

* The vote in Kansas was decisive - nine votes more than was necessary for a 2/3 majority. The numbers are irrelevant, however. Simply put, the proposal passed;

* Wired glass is not held accountable to the same test and certification standards as other types of glass qualifying for "safety glazing." The wired glass industry has manipulated the exemption granted to it in 1977 to benefit their own market share. Given they control 85 percent of the market, it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out who has what to gain or lose from the vote in Kansas;

* In 1994, the wired glass industry was required by the United Kingdom to make a better product for sale in their own country, and Pilkington did so … but only for the UK. Recently, the same wired glass manufacturer issued a press release about a more impact-resistant product they began making in response to changing code requirements in the U.S.;

* The bottom line is this: the industry can make a better product - they just choose not to. The ICC's vote made it clear that wired glass will no longer get a free pass, and that Americans and those abroad will be better served because of it.


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