As anyone who has been in this industry for a while knows, getting your
hands on good industry research is not easy. And when you do, it is almost
always proprietary information that isn’t shared readily.
And as anyone who has been in this industry a while also knows, getting
a sense of how its major players feel about the future—a consumer confidence
index for the glass industry, if you will—has not existed. Until now.
Last spring, USGlass magazine commissioned Keytech North America to create
a confidence index for the industry. The idea was to develop a measure
of how various segments of the glass industry view the future and how
much confidence they have in it. Keytech has spent the past several months
developing such an index for USGlass. It will appear in these pages on
a regular basis beginning with this issue (see related story on
page 28). USGlass has commissioned Keytech to provide this research
in five market segments on a semi-annual basis, beginning with contract
glaziers. Indices for retailers, manufacturers and fabricators also are
planned. We also plan to track changes and trends over time.
It is our hope to provide the glass industry, and its suppliers and customers,
with a look at how the various market segments are approaching the future.
For contract glaziers, the USGlass Contract Glazier Confidence Index was
developed after extensive research focused on five major areas:
Measure one: Anticipated backlog change during the next six months;
Measure two: Anticipated changes in number of employees in the
next six months;
Measure three: Overall confidence in the construction industry
during the next six months;
Measure four: Anticipated purchases of equipment and machinery
in the near future; and
Measure five: Anticipated change in profit margins during the
next six months.
A look at the results, available on page
28, show an industry very much in flux, with wide variations depending
This month’s issue also contains two detailed investigative
reports. The first, by editor Megan Headley, delves into the “controversy”
surrounding the incidents of glass breakage that seems to be increasing
in balconies. I am not so convinced there is a higher incidence of such
breakage; I am convinced there is a higher incidence of reporting of such
incidences. And the question of cause—nickel sulfide vs. improper design
or installation vs. under-engineering—has been around for more than 30
years. Megan’s report begins on page
The second article, titled “Could They or Couldn’t They?” by contributing
editor Tara Taffera appears on page 42. It attempts to answer the question
of whether or not the prismatic glass specified for 1 World Trade Center
could have been made. It details the rise and fall of the use of prismatic
glass on the podium wall of the building. The article explains much of
the behind-the-scenes intrigue that went on as prismatic glass was spec’d
on, then off, the wall.
Both editors attempt to answer the questions about what went wrong. One
thing is for sure: there is enough finger-pointing going on to send a
man around the globe. We hope all three features prove enlightening for
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.