GlassBuild America Seminar Focuses on Glazing and Industrial Hygiene

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 stressed.

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 for customers."

"As glaziers," he continued, "We don't make glass, we buy it. The only thing we really have an impact on is the installation."

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