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Associations launch Glazing Systems Specifications Manual for Ontario


October 30, 2008
By Chris Skalkos

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After several years and countless volunteer hours, the Glazing Systems Specifications Manual has been officially launched for the Ontario glass and glazing industry. The Ontario Glazing Systems Specifications Manual is a comprehensive reference to architectural aluminum and glass products as well as technology, building code requirements and relevant design and performance issues.

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 ABOVE: The Glazing Systems Specifications Manual is a comprehensive reference to architectural aluminum and glass products as well as technology, building code requirements and relevant design and performance issues.


Associations launch Glazing Systems Specifications Manual for Ontario

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 After several years and countless volunteer hours, the Glazing Systems Specifications Manual has been officially launched for the Ontario glass and glazing industry. The Ontario Glazing Systems Specifications Manual is a comprehensive reference to architectural aluminum and glass products as well as technology, building code requirements and relevant design and performance issues. It is directed toward several audiences including architects and specifiers offering aid in understanding and specifying the kinds of products supplied and installed by glazing contractors. For contractors working in the glass industry, it serves as a reference guide to related issues that affect their suppliers or customers.

    In August, members of the Glass and Architectural Glass and Metal Contractors Association (AGMCA), the Ontario Glass and Metal Association, (OGMA) and the Canadian Glass Association (CGA) gathered for the official launch and signing ceremony of the Glazing Systems Specifications Manual for Ontario.

    The manual was created by the Glazing Contractors Association (GCA) of British Columbia, a strong and proactive association of contractors and suppliers that was formed in 1983. CGA president, Dave Husson, who was also the president for the GCA at the time, says glaziers in the industry have always discussed the need for a manual to address building code issues and in 1992 the GCA in B.C. designated funds to get it started.

    “It was originally going to be an installation manual, but architects and specifiers wanted it to also include minimum specification guidelines for choosing appropriate products for projects,” he says, adding that it was completed in 1998. “It was made to recognize the design professional’s interest in defining and obtaining work of appropriate quality. It’s our conviction that clear specifications without loopholes creates a level playing field for bidders and serves the long-term interests of the industry,” he says.

    Each chapter of the manual is devoted to one section heading of the Construction Specification Canada Master format and consists of commentary followed by a guide specification. The commentary offers a broad discussion of issues relevant to the specifier and glazing contractor. The guide specifications are more detailed than a typical construction specification as they serve a didactic role, highlighting the relevant issues raised in the commentary and showing how they can be addressed in a specification.

    In 2000, the Provincial Glass Association of Alberta (PGAA) adopted thee Glazing Systems Specifications Manual for its own members. The PGAA is an amalgamated association consisting of the Glass and Architectural Metal Association (GAMA) based in Calgary and the Glass Trades Association (GTA) based in Edmonton.

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Glass industry professionals in Ontario now have an objective guideline to specifying products and glazing installations.

    The following year provincial glass associations from across the country gathered at a glass show in Calgary, Alta., to discuss forming a national association and the Canadian Glass Association was inaugurated in December 2002. One of its priorities was to offer other provincial associations the opportunity to use the Glazing Systems Specifications Manual as a template to adapt to their own building codes. Its president elect at the time, Keith Pynoo, described the manual as a method to improve the communication with the specifiers and create consistency with products used on glass installations. “We would like to see other associations in other provinces come on board and adopt this manual to create uniform manual of standards and practices across Canada,” he said.

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 Huddled around the manual, are from left, John Mastrofini, Dieter Ringler, Barrie Eon, Dave Husson and Denis Haatvedt.

    The next biggest hurdle was getting the two glass associations in Ontario together to work on adopting it for that province.

    The AGMCA and the OGMA formed a committee to revise the manual for Ontario soliciting the help of John Mastrofini, a professional engineer, who specializes in glass and aluminum products. “The difference wasn’t so much in the actual design but in the way the building code is applied and administered,” says Mastrofini, pointing out the Letters of Assurance an engineer produces in B.C. after a building is finished differs from a Certificate of Compliance required in Ontario, for example.

    Denis Haatvedt, CGA vice president and a director of the AGMCA explained that some sections had to be modified or created such as the “Structural Glass” and the “Sealant Sections” that the Glazing Systems Specifications Manual for B.C. did not have. “We re-invented the sealant section. The original was too generic and we wanted to focus specifically on glass and glazing,” he adds. “The committee invited the Sealant and Waterproofing Association in Ontario to assist and help guide the Committee in its selection of material for the Sealants Section. Lee Baker a well known and respected industry participant played an important part in the process.”

    Barrie Eon, executive manager for the AGMCA says the Glazing Systems Specifications Manual is a testament to the progressive thinking of glass associations in western Canada and Ontario who are working together for the betterment of their industry. “There is a lot of experience and knowledge that has been harnessed to put that manual together and now it is being shared across the nation,” he says.

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    Steve Gusterson (pictured at left), an industry specialist, who was on the Ontario revision committee, says the volunteer hours put into re-working, researching and editing the manual was extensive. “We knew this was going to take a couple of years and a lot of conference calls,” he says, adding that he and the others were driven by a desire to help the industry. “In Ontario, we don’t have self-governance for our industry and no technical guidelines other than what the manufacturers provide. We needed something that was objective, something that helps set a benchmark of reference or a place to start for people who have questions,” he explains. “It’s essentially a reference tool for everyone in the glazing industry.” 

Editor’s note: Special thanks to Mike Carter, training director, and Steve Laird, glazing instructor for the Ontario Industrial and Finishing Skills Centre on Toro Road in Toronto, for lending Glass Canada the facilities and glazing tools for this issue’s cover photo. Thank-you also to Barrie Eon, manager for the AGMCA and Dieter Ringler, Oakville Glass and Mirror, for their assistance in the photo shoot.


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