commARCH Sept/Oct 2021 Issue - Page 64

Collaborative Effort
We connected with James Wharton , TGP Territory Account Manager , to talk about the Fairleigh Dickinson project and why collaboration between them and the architects was so critical to the success of the project .
commARCH : Why is it important for the architect and building material provider to engage early in a project ’ s predesign phase ?
TGP : I think with what we do , that ' s super important as well just based on cost involved with the higher-end fire-rated solutions as they are today . If people don ' t get out in front of it , they often find themselves in a situation where they want to use the product , but they haven ' t budgeted for it . Or an owner is so surprised by what it costs them , that it ' s just not an option anymore .
That can really undermine the visual intent that an architect has . I give continuing education presentations all the time . And the thing I always say to these guys is , if you think you want to use it , get out ahead of it , give us a call , call somebody , talk to them about it .
cA : How did this process go ? Did you have a relationship with NK Architects ?
TGP : I ' ve worked with NK in the past on different projects from time to time . It ' s not always the same team .
[ They contacted us because they ] needed to understand a little bit more about what the capability is . This one ' s pretty unique . The code makes you think that the requirements at a location like this limits you to a solid non-transparent wall .
Figuring out which products can do what can be tough for them . So they ' ll often call and provide associated code and product information . And I ' m able to tell them we ' ve tested products that look like storefronts and entrances . And , they ' re tested to the same standards as a solid rated wall . back that up ? And of course , all of our collateral has documentation of all of our listings . So we set them at ease pretty quickly .
cA : The opportunity they had was this : We ' re doing cool stuff within this area . Let ' s not hide it . And then you gave them that open environment they wouldn ' t normally have .
TGP : That ' s the idea . How do we make the transition between rated and non-rated not nearly as apparent as it was for years .
We have something beautiful here and something pretty institutional and unattractive here , and if we can make it so the two look the same , I think that ' s really what we ' re striving for . Ultimately with everything that we do .
cA : How did they lay out to you what they were dealing with and what their need was ?
TGP : Typically they ' ll call and say , I have an application — in this case , the 60-minute fire rating — based on where it is , based on what the application is , what the occupation of the building is , we require this level of rating .
And in this case , it ' s the highest level given , which basically says that the product has to act as a wall . We have an array of products that are designed to meet different aesthetics .
I usually say , show me what you want it to look like . We may not be able to do it exactly that way , but I need an understanding of what your vision is . In this case , it was pretty straightforward : single span interior , as uncaptured as possible storefront system .
We ' ll make sure that you didn ' t design anything that we can ' t do and tweak it if necessary . And then , provide the support needed to see it through .
That ' s usually when I get the , oh , that ' s amazing . I didn ' t realize that . I understand now , can you
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