June 11, 2024

From the Floor: AIA Conference in Washington, DC

By USGlass Editor

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference on Architecture had some new attendance rules for its 2024 outing in Washington, D.C. One of the new rules included a discounted $50 show floor pass offered by exhibitors. This opened the show to many more contractors and installers, not just architects.

I hope they keep promoting this in the future. Next year, the show will be in Boston, giving local glass companies the chance to attend and see what’s new and in fashion from the architectural side. Of course, the learning lounges and conference lectures continue to become a larger part of the agenda. Education is still the main goal for most attendees, but it slows down the exhibitor floor traffic. Advertising the new exhibit floor passes for the entire year would help overall attendance.

Most glass companies focused on tall doors and bifolds, 10-foot windscreens and more glass with less metal. Most architects visiting the Frameless Hardware Company booth asked how tall they could go and what the energy rating would be. One good thing I heard from architects is that high-end products stay in the projects and do not get value-engineered when it comes to energy efficiency.

I had this paragraph in my blog two years ago after a panel discussion at the Chicago AIA show:

“One consensus of our panel discussion was that next-generation products, which may cost more today but save much more over time, will continue to be value-engineered out of many projects until the building codes catch up and make them mandatory. This sounds like what came first: the chicken or the egg. Everyone wants next-generation products that will be environmentally friendly and save energy and money, just not right now.”

It sounds like “right now” is upon us.

As I have reported in the past, it is nice to have your products in the original spec. Still, most architects I spoke with agree that the subcontractor selected for the job has a lot of influence over what manufacturers can use. Architects are looking for multiple companies to bid.

Things like lead times, quality, and ease of installation are all big factors in selecting products to install on the project. Architects are willing to accept the products as long as they are at or equal, and the correct paperwork accompanies the bid to prove it. Overall, the crowd seemed to be busy and in a good mood. Let’s hope all the plans in motion get built.