Fired Up Blog

Fire-Rated Glass and Framing Blog from TGP

Looking for a candid resource on all things fire-rated? Interact, discuss and gain new insights on trends, codes and design solutions for the fire-rated glass and framing industry.

Fire-rated Glazing Industry Ripe for Innovation

A few days ago, I read an article about a young architect in Toronto named Tom Ngo, who is developing a reputation for producing architectural drawings that “gleefully ignore reality.” Although some critique his logic-defying concepts—it is impossible to build structures with candy-cane like stilts and support stairwells with air—I was reminded of the value of unconventional thinking. If we never question the status quo or explore new methods, we will be left with a narrow view of the field that ultimately hinders forward progress. As Ngo so aptly states,  "Our preconception of what is favorable and by extension beautiful in architecture and design is a problem in and of itself." While we may not all be Tom Ngo, we can respond to his challenge to push our respective crafts outside the limits of comfort and orthodoxy, and go beyond the presumed logic of our fields. Twenty-five years ago, it was hard to see past the limitations of wired fire-rated glass. Now the industry is producing advanced products like fire-rated glass floors and fire-rated curtain walls with the appearance of structural silicone glazing. Imagine where the glazing industry could be in another twenty-five years.      Let’s continue to work to overcome the misconception that fire-rated glazing forces a compromise on aesthetics. And if your creative juices aren’t flowing, maybe this comic will help.  

Locked and Loaded: Is your company ready for action?

It could be the altitude, or it could be the approximately 28,000 people in the construction industry that lost their jobs last month, but I’ve spent a few too many hours on airplanes this June thinking about the state of the glazing industry.  On the one hand, the outlook is dismal.  The consistently slow construction market means many companies are still feeling the effects of growing unemployment claims, tight profit margins, higher healthcare costs and slow client pay. But not all is doom and gloom, as a recent Glass magazine article points out.  Fifty percent of the top 50 glazing companies in the publication’s special report said they’d experienced an increase in sales from 2010 to 2011.  This 50/50 sales success split is encouraging.  It provides proof that positive gains are possible for many, not just a few.  So, how do you become one of the successful?  How do you coax yourself to breathe new life into business in a down economic climate?  Here are my thoughts on five ways to take action:  1.      Innovate when business is slow.  No one likes it when the clock strikes five and they have little to show for their work.  But if you have extra hours in the day, use them to your advantage.  Companies that find the time to innovate and differentiate their product offerings will remain more competitive.   2.      Network and learn.  You may not be a social media buff, but you can still talk to people the old fashioned way.  Speak with glaziers, code officials and architects – anyone who is involved in your day-to-day processes – and find out what is and isn’t working.  New methods plus new relationships often equal new business.  3.      Shake it up. For a company or project to be truly successful, it takes the right mix of people in the right positions.  To improve and grow, that may mean some of the people in the mix need to shift their roles.  Don’t be afraid to find that perfect combination.  4.      Give rewards for accomplishments.  It’s been a long haul, but don’t lose sight of the importance of morale.  Simple rewards can go a long way to boosting employee outlook and job satisfaction.  If you’ve reached a goal – treat yourself.  My guess is you’ve earned it.    5.      Don’t compromise.  It’s true that we must “adapt or die.” Just don’t lose sight of your company’s integrity during the process.  Cutting corners to get new business almost always results in a net loss in the long-term.   What are you doing to ready your company for action?