Glazing contractors attending GlassBuild America had numerous educational opportunities
in which to participate while they were in Atlanta. One was a seminar titled "Glazing
and Industrial Hygiene: Reducing Liability Risk Using Science," led by Megan
Canright of Forensic Analytical and Ron Clawson of Looking Glass Inc. The seminar
speakers talked about industrial hygiene concerns when it comes to matters such
as water infiltration, mold growth etc., and liability risks for glazing contractors.
Canright explained that it is important for glazing contractors to understand
the liability issues for water intrusion at the sites where they have installed
or replaced windows. One area of concern is mold.
When it comes to the building envelope, Canright said there were several sources
of moisture, which could lead to mold. Sources include the roof, flashings, drains,
valleys and penetrations and windows.
"Water intrusion through windows can be due to defective or dated windows,"
she said, adding that defective or dated components in exterior doors and sliding
doors as well as skylights can also cause water intrusions. "Interior elements
that can cause water intrusion include bath and shower enclosures, HVAC systems
and plumbing," she said.
Following Canright, Clawson talked about preparation and installation for storefront
and entrance systems.
"The biggest problems I see in the glazing industry are improper usage
of sealants and improper framing and assembly of framing," said Clawson.
"Everything needs to be done according to the manufacturer's instructions.
All companies have a recommended installation practice for their materials,"
He also talked about several resources of information that would be useful
to glazing contractors. One resource is a new publication from ASTM titled "The
Directory of Building and Construction Sealants and Adhesives."
"Every law firm will use this book to hang you if you have not [sealed
the opening properly]," he said.
Another resource he recommended was the "GANA Glazing Manual."
"It has reference material for every standard you need to work in this
industry," he said.
Clawson continued by discussing the proper way to install storefront.
"Start with the sealant application techniques," he said. "Use
a sealant product, stick with it and learn everything you can about it. Stick
with one [product] and you'll do it well." He recommended doing a pull test
to make sure the sealant sticks to the substrate, as well as a water test on the
building once the installation is complete.
During the third part of the presentation Canright talked about preventive
strategies for glazing contractors.
"How do we deal with mold growth?" she asked the audience. "Our
challenge is that there are [only] vague guidelines; there are no accepted exposure
standards," she said. She encouraged the practice of asking and answering
the right questions and following preventive measures, such as a preventive maintenance
program and preventive work practices.
So what measures can glazing contractors take to ensure they are protected
from such liability issues? Clawson offered some advice: "Have the tools:
information, standards, procedures and practices," he said. "And follow
up with documents and testing and show you've done everything to do the job correctly
"As glaziers," he continued, "We don't make glass, we buy it.
The only thing we really have an impact on is the installation."