PGC Wraps Up Strong Fall Symposium

The Protective Glazing Council Fall Symposium finished early yesterday with two afternoon seminars that explored different aspects of working with customers who want protective glazing.

Up first was John Abruzzo with Thronton Tomasetti. In his presentation he discussed what he has found to be the most important aspects of working with and especially advising commercial clients who are designing new buildings or planning upgrades to their current facilities.

"What the problem is we have no building code requirements for blast and by blast I mean anti-terrorist codes," he said. The best he can offer is for those involved in the planning aspect to use existing codes from federal agencies, such as FEMA 426 and FEMA 427.

Most importantly, he advised, was for architects, designers, suppliers and the like to stay involved with the project even after the initial recommendations have been issued.

"Present [a recommendation] to [a client] and they probably won't understand 90 percent of it. So you need to follow up and make sure they're following along with it. … Why? Because things change. Things are changing all the time. Technology has been changing over the last five years as far as what's available. Manufacturing issues may arise. What typically happens is that existing things aren't what you thought they were," he said.

When he opened the floor to questions, Abruzzo was asked what prompted most of his customers to look into securing their buildings if there were no codes or mandates requiring a level of protection or protective glazing. He answered directly: the fear of litigation.

"Liability. What are they liable for? What we've found is that this is more the case in New York, where they think they have more of a potential threat. We see less of it in Philadelphia for glazing but more for structure. They don't see themselves as being under as much of a threat."

There are different kinds of threats, of course, and most of the crowd at the conference stayed to hear the last speaker, Ron Waranowski, discuss one of the more frequently overlooked threats: electromagnetic attacks. Specifically, Waranowski renewed and updated his presentation on the need for Electromagnetic countermeasures.

"Globalization has occurred down to the individual level," he began, explaining that we are more and more "connected" due to advances such as Blue Tooth and WiFi technology.

"In 5 years you won't be able to have a computer with a wire hanging out of it. BlueTooth with steroids is coming," he said.

After showing his audience a chart of the electromagnetic spectrum and where different devices we use daily are in relation to one another (CB radios are stronger than AM or FM radio, but cell phones are stronger than CB radios), Waranowski explained that electronic security is not always what it seems.

"If you want to steal information, don't worry about figuring out the encryption, sit outside and figure out how to break into the 2.5 connection," he said.

Part of the challenge for builders-and consequently, the protective glazing industry-is that windows are very electromagnetically "open," making options for clear radio frequency and infrared barriers a relatively unchartered territory for protective glazing.

"Certain low-E glasses give you some attenuation. Radio frequency barrier-security by denial-we need to lock the glazing systems down by perspective," Waranowski said.

While the threats of system hacking and electronic eavesdropping may seem like something only exclusive groups would worry about, such as the government, Waranowski also told his audience to check their corporate insurance policies carefully.

"[Some] insurance companies are not covering damage to your electronic assets due to electromagnetic interference," he warned.

Look for a full wrap up of the PGC Fall Symposium in an upcoming issue of USGlass magazine. Stay tuned to USGNN for more information about the PGC Spring Meeting as it becomes available.

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