Client News: Tubelite meets ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria for Quality Documentation (AC10)

Tubelite Inc.‘s facilities Walker and Reed City, Michigan, successfully meet ICC Evaluation Services, LLC (ICC-ES) Acceptance Criteria for Quality Documentation (AC10). This third-party inspection by Architectural Testing, Inc. (ATI)/Intertek verifies Tubelite’s quality control process for its products, systems and materials.

“At Tubelite, ‘dependable’ is more than part of our brand identity, it’s part of our everyday culture, our products and our services. Our reputation for dependability is closely connected with our ongoing investment in quality, our continuing improvement initiatives, and our product development and certification efforts,” said Mary Olivier, Tubelite’s director of marketing.

Grace Bartrand, Tubelite’s quality assurance specialist, added, “Being a manufacturer with an AC10-compliant quality system also contributes to achieving Florida Product Approval for our hurricane-resistant, impact-rated storefront, curtainwall, window and entrance systems.”

ICC-ES requires a qualifying inspection of the facilities’ manufacturing products prior to issuing a new evaluation report. According to ICC-ES, “The qualifying inspection is intended to verify that the manufactured products are consistent with the products described in the evaluation report, and that the manufacturer has documented and effectively implemented a quality control system that meets all requirements of the ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria for Quality Documentation (AC10).”


About Tubelite Inc.

Established in 1945, Tubelite celebrates 70 years of dependable service, fabrication and distribution of architectural aluminum products. Part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., the company is an industry leader in eco-efficient storefront, curtainwall and entrance systems, and recognized for its fast, reliable and consistent delivery. Tubelite’s corporate office, fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations are located in Walker, Michigan. Its Dallas location provides additional fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations and its facility in Reed City, Michigan, houses the company’s aluminum extrusion operation.


Client News: Industry mourns Tom Minnon, architectural specification manager at Tubelite

Tubelite_TomMinnonTubelite Inc. sadly shares the news that industry leader Tom Minnon (63) passed away on Fri., May 15. His wife, Hope, and their family members request condolences to be directed to Peabody Funeral Home, 15 Birch St., Derry, NH 03038.

For four decades, Minnon shared his knowledge of architectural building products with thousands of people ranging from architects to glazing contractors and building owners to elementary school students. An advocate for green building and design, he often used his own sustainably built home as an inspirational example.

Minnon joined Tubelite as a regional sales manager and was promoted in 2013 to serve as architectural specification manager. “Tom was a key driver in dramatically improving our specification presence in the architectural community,” said Mary Olivier, director of marketing at Tubelite. “Tom was passionate about the business and has given numerous educational seminars, keynote addresses at national, regional and local industry events.”

Along with delivering dozens of educational presentations each year, Minnon also authored industry articles and earned many professional accreditations including LEED® Accredited Professional through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Certified FenestrationMaster™ through the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).

Olivier added, “He will be greatly missed.”


Client News: Tubelite celebrates 70 years

* Historic Overview *

Tubelite Inc., a leading supplier of storefront and entrance systems, celebrates 70 years in business. It has been fabricating and distributing extruded aluminum products for the glass and glazing industry since 1945.0Tubelite_2015_70Years

Seventy years ago, James T. Miller, an engineer for Kawneer in Niles, Michigan, was on vacation and stopped for lunch in Reed City. He immediately liked the area and decided that it would be a perfect place to start a new business. Not long afterward, Miller set up shop in a 50-by-60-foot alley-front building and began making aluminum doors and frames.

The first five years were successful enough to justify a new small building and, in 1949, Miller moved into the current Reed City site. During the next 17 years, this facility would be added on to 20 times and grow to its current footprint.

TUBELITEoldLogoMiller landed a contract with Pittsburgh Plate Glass to supply the aluminum frames for its glass. The name Tubelite was coined to represent the tubes of aluminum and lites of glass. Within the next two years, Tubelite was buying six million pounds of aluminum extrusions, enough to justify installing the first extrusion press. A second building was erected to warehouse stock doors in anticipation of a national network of PPG distribution depots.

Tubelite leaves private ownership in 1969 and becomes a business unit of Olin Corporation. The product line and personnel grew from relationships with new sister companies and a contract with a revolving door company. The late 70s early 80s were a time of continuous change with two corporate parents and four different management teams.

Oil shortages and a national energy crisis spurred the demand for insulating glass and thermally broken framing like Tubelite’s T14000 storefront. A network of service centers is opened to support the strong commercial construction market. Painted finishes for architectural aluminum become more popular and Tubelite formed a strategic relationship with Linetec.

A core group of Tubelite’s managers, led by W. Robert Keyes, buys the company when parent company, Indal Inc., is sold. Ken Werbowy is named president and “dependable” was born. Tubelite undergoes a rationalization of its customers, services and products to optimize performance. All finishing operations are transferred to Linetec. Regional service centers are consolidated. Door fabrication and warehouse operations are moved to Walker, Michigan. A new Sutton extrusion press is installed in Reed City. Strong gains in share of demand and profitability resulted from changes implemented in the prior decade.

Tubelite_AmyColeTubelite’s excellent performance gets the attention of Apogee Enterprises. It becomes a business unit in 2007. Geographic expansion is identified as a strategy for the future. Satellite offices are opened in South Carolina and Texas.

Amy Cole, Tubelite’s new president, leads the company into the next decade of dependability. Tubelite’s dependable brand continues to give its team direction as they work to meet or exceed the needs of the contract glazing and architectural community. Serving these clients, Tubelite focuses on a targeted project market by consistently providing high-quality, pre-engineered storefront, entrance and curtainwall systems — on time, complete and undamaged.


About Tubelite Inc.

Established in 1945, Tubelite celebrates 70 years of dependable service, fabrication and distribution of architectural aluminum products. Part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., the company is an industry leader in eco-efficient storefront, curtainwall and entrance systems, and recognized for its fast, reliable and consistent delivery. Tubelite’s corporate office, fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations are located in Walker, Michigan. Its Dallas location provides additional fabrication, warehouse and shipping operations and its facility in Reed City, Michigan, houses the company’s aluminum extrusion operation.

Tubelite and its staff are members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), the Glass Association of North America (GANA), and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).


Client News: Wendy Taylor expands role as Linetec regional sales manager

Linetec has expanded Wendy Taylor’s role as a regional sales manager. In addition to working with customers in Canada, she will now serve those in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. Linetec, the nation’s largest independent architectural finisher, provides paint and anodize finishing services for such products as windows, curtainwall, entrances, hardware and other components.Linetec_WendyTaylor_web

Based in Wausau, Wisconsin, Taylor draws from nearly 15 years of experience in architectural building products and services. She started with Linetec in 2001 and steadily has grown her areas of expertise. She was promoted to the position of inside sales manager in 2005. For the last two years, she also has worked as the Canadian regional sales manager. She will continue these management responsibilities for both inside sales and Canadian sales, as well as serving her newly added U.S. sales territory.

Taylor studied business administration at Upper Iowa University and continues her professional development through numerous organizations. As a regional sales manager, she also represents Linetec as part of its exhibitions and educational events with such industry associations as the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Located in Wisconsin, Linetec serves customers across the country, finishing such products as aluminum windows, wall systems, doors, hardware and other architectural metal components, as well as automotive, marine and manufactured consumer goods. The company is a subsidiary of Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: APOG). Linetec is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).


Client News: Rockfon SpanAir Clip-In ceiling panels conceal suspension systems

* ROCKFON is exhibiting at AIA Expo booth #3122 *

ROCKFON_SpanAirClipIn_Porsche205_webIdeally suited for commercial buildings’ renovations and monolithic interiors, Rockfon® SpanAir™ Clip-In metal ceiling panels integrate with and conceal 15/16-inch suspension systems. These panels’ clip-in placement allows for downward accessibility, without special tools, for easy maintenance of the HVAC, lighting, fire suppression, security and audio/video systems located in the plenum.

“SpanAir Clip-In panels make it extraordinarily simple to retrofit and conceal 15/16-inch suspension systems with a fresh, stylish look. These easy-to-install panels provide a dramatic, alternative to exposed gridlines,” says Pat Wallis, ROCKFON’s specialty metal ceilings product manager.

Beyond aesthetics, SpanAir Clip-In ceiling panels also contribute to commercial interiors’ performance and sustainability goals including a Class A fire rating, Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of up to 0.90 with acoustical enhancements, and recycled aluminum content.

SpanAir Clip-In panels feature a square edge design available in solid or perforated panels with dimensions of 24-by-24-inch, 24-by-48-inch or custom sizes. These ceiling panels and their metal components contain no organic compounds that support mold or microbial growth. A broad choice of finishes is offered to suit all interior palettes, providing low maintenance and long-term durability.

ROCKFON’s product portfolio in North America includes an extensive range of solutions from suspended and concealed ceilings to clouds and baffles. To learn more about Rockfon SpanAir Clip-In metal ceiling panels or other ROCKFON products, please visit, email or call 800-323-7164.


Client News: Valspar debuts Fluropon Effects at AIA welcoming architects to a new color space

* Valspar is exhibiting in AIA booth 3717/Learning Lounge 3625LL *

Valspar_FluroponEffects_VideoStill_webThe Valspar Corporation introduces Fluropon Effects, a new line of dimensional colors that feature an additional layer of sparkle, more richly saturated colors and color-shifting pigments. As part of Valspar’s Fluropon high-performance architectural coatings product offering, Fluropon Effects creates a new color space for the design community to explore.

“We are excited to welcome architects and designers to a whole new color space. Fluropon Effects delivers brilliant hues and mesmerizing dimensional effects that have never been achieved in 70 percent PVDF architectural coatings,” says Jeff Alexander, vice president of sales for Valspar’s global coil and extrusion businesses. “We’re not only turning heads by taking color in a new direction, we’re matching it with the highest coating performance available. Fluropon Effects offers an experience that truly transforms the concept of color.”

Fluropon Effects’ first three color families will be unveiled in Valspar’s booth 3717 at the annual American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention and Expo, May 14-16, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. These new color families are:

Nova – Rich color with a vivid sparkle
“In the past, adding sparkle meant sacrificing color integrity. The more of one you wanted, the less you’d get of the other. Not anymore,” explains Nancy Peden, Valspar’s senior project chemist for extrusion coatings. “Using an innovative application process, the Nova family delivers dynamic, eye-catching sparkle in nearly any color you can imagine.”

Rustica – Natural and polychromatic colors
Like a walk through an autumn landscape, the Rustica family features a soothing, nature-inspired palette that has never before been available in the Fluropon line. Rustica provides a calming invitation to richer, more saturated colors, including some with a subtle color-shift.

Resources_Press_SpecialEffects_ThumbnailKameleon™ – Pearlescent hues with active color shifts
With an iridescent, multi-toned effect, Kameleon moves architectural coatings into a new level of color. Expanding on the initial color offering seen at AIA 2014, Kameleon’s color family now features a wider spectrum of intense, vibrant colors that appear to shift when viewed from different angles or in changing lighting.

Also at AIA in booth 3717, Valspar will celebrate 50 years of Fluropon with a happy hour to toast the golden anniversary on May 14, 4-6 p.m. A photo booth with a professional photographer, fun props and Hollywood backdrop will be in Valspar’s booth throughout the expo for attendees to capture and share their snapshots on social media using #Fluropon50. Continuing the celebrations, Valspar will share images from AIA, customer success stories and more about Fluropon Effects on

The Valspar Corporation supports architects and designers with its high-performance coatings, industry-leading technical expertise, color-matching and sustainability resources, responsive customer service and high-priority lead times. Learn more at


Association News: AAMA 2015 National Summer Conference registration now open

Registration for the upcoming American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) 2015 National Summer Conference is now open. The conference will be held June 28-July 1 at the Grand Hyatt Seattle. The AAMA Western Region Summit will immediately follow, from July 1-2, in the same location. Whether attending for the networking opportunities, the panel of speakers, the architectural accomplishments of Seattle or just for the chance to see the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, there are things to see and do.

“Seattle is a beautiful city full of unique architecture and impressive natural assets,” says Rich Walker, AAMA’s president and CEO. “We are confident that our members will enjoy their time in the city for a summer conference filled with top-notch speakers and highly productive working sessions.”

Register Now
Early bird registration ends June 4, and AAMA members receive a $50 discount by registering online, As usual, spouses may attend the conference free of charge, with a full-price paid registration. Stay an extra day for the Western Region Summer Summit for a registration fee of $250, which includes meals and a reception Wednesday night.

Several optional events will be offered during the conference, including a tour of a Boeing plant, a private Duck Tour of Seattle, dinner at the Space Needle, a gardens and glass exhibit, and more.

On Sunday morning, a Boeing Everett plant tour will offer an in-depth view into the airplane industry. Those on the tour will view planes being assembled, including the new 777 and 787 Dreamliner. This tour is $95 per person, which includes transportation, entrance fee, tax and gratuity.



On Monday, those at the event may participate in a one-hour tour of the impressive Chihuly Gardens and Glass Exhibit, followed by dinner at the Space Needle, which is located next door. This event is included in the conference registration fee, and a buffet dinner will be provided. The AAMA group also will have access to the Observation Deck.

On Tuesday, conference participants are invited to take part in a classic Seattle tradition: a Duck Tour of the city. These unique modes of transit can take to the sea or to the land, and those on board will get to do both. For $90, participants board the Duck at the Grand Hyatt and see everything from Pioneer Square to Fremont. The last 30 minutes of the tour will be spent on the water, and all the while a knowledgeable tour guide will share Seattle history and trivia. The group will be dropped off for a dinner at Gordon Biersch Restaurant & Brewery afterward.

The speakers at the Summer Conference will include keynote Mic Patterson with Advanced Technology Studio, who will discuss on Monday, “Divergent Trajectories: Framing the Future of Glass and the Building Skin.” Patterson is a designer, researcher, educator and author who wrote the book, Structural Glass Facades and Enclosures. James Connelly of the International Living Future Institute also will speak Monday on the future of building products.

On Tuesday, professor Ulrich Sieberath of ift Rosenheim will give a presentation on window technology in Europe, touching on both technical performance and sustainability. Later that day, those at the conference will hear from Rich Mitchell from the Green Building Initiative and John Nolan from The Gary Law Group.

On Wednesday, before closing, Colin Craven from the Cold Climate Housing Research Center will speak about certifying windows for areas like Alaska, with harsher climates.

Seattle Attractions
“Seattle is a beautiful city, boasting a rare combination of rivers, ocean views and mountains,” says Walker. The Grand Hyatt is located in downtown Seattle, near attractions like the famous Pike Place Market, many wineries and breweries, a range of dining and shopping opportunities and more.

More information about AAMA and its activities can be found via the AAMA Media Relations page or on the AAMA website,
AAMA is the source of performance standards, product certification and educational programs for the fenestration industry.(SM)


Client News: Chicago’s Intrinsic Schools showcase distinctive, patterned façade finished in Valspar’s Fluropon coatings

* Valspar is exhibiting in AIA booth 3717/Learning Lounge 3625LL *

Opened for the 2014-15 academic year on Chicago’s Northwest Side, Intrinsic Schools’ new 58,000-square-foot Belmont Campus transforms a former lumberyard into a contemporary educational facility designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects (WKA) specifically for blended learning. The public charter school building showcases a distinctive, patterned façade with multiple components finished in Valspar’s Fluropon® 70 percent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin-based exterior coatings. The specified colors were matched precisely in both metal coil coating and aluminum extrusion applications for consistency between the Kingspan exterior panel system, and the Pittco Architectural Metals window system finished by Linetec.

Valspar_IL_IntrinsicSchool_GregFolkins1_webIntrinsic Schools’ Belmont Campus now serves grades 7-12 with capacity for 925 students. Instead of traditional classrooms, learning “pods” combine teacher-led instruction with personalized, online instruction and small group collaboration. Physical spaces are organized by educational format and subject-driven functions. This provides an efficient model for student-teacher interaction, and the cost-effective flexibility to adapt to new technologies and varying class size.

This adaptive re-use project also needed to adapt to fit the site and existing structures. The new school incorporates two buildings from 1911 and 1928 plus a 41,000-square-foot open structure constructed in 1954. The original, 30-foot-high solid wood columns remain as key design elements. In total, approximately 75 percent of the existing structures were retained. Although the total cost has not been disclosed, it has been noted that the approach required a close eye on the budget and for low-maintenance, long-term value.

A field-proven, industry standard for 50 years, Valspar’s Fluropon coatings for Intrinsic Schools’ Belmont campus were formulated with Hylar® 5000 PVDF base resin from Solvay Specialty Polymers. These coatings meet or exceed the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s stringent standard, AAMA 2605 high-performance exterior specification. Coatings that meet this standard demonstrate that they resist humidity, fading, chalking, abrasions and most chemicals, while retaining the intended color, gloss and appearance.

Valspar_IL_IntrinsicSchool_GregFolkins2_webFluropon coatings also present a large choice of colors – from neutral to bright colors, micas, metallics and pearlescent coatings. WKA’s project architect, Daniel Wicke, notes the importance of color selection on Intrinsic Schools’ Belmont campus building: “We wanted to select a color palette that was distinctive without making it too loud in the context of its surroundings. Patterning the exterior in contrasting light and dark panels gave the building its own character and still let it be a good neighbor that fit in with the community.”

WKA created the signature exterior with Kingspan’s Azteco and Benchmark multi-colored, insulated metal panels. “The panels were installed by The Hill Group using a staggered joint method, where each row of panels is offset from the previous row, creating a nice visual effect,” describes Kingspan’s project coordinator James Oyer.

Respectful of the budget, WKA selected from Kingspan’s standard colors for these defining elements. “We specified a mica finish for extra depth and shine,” said Wicke. “It was a nice, cost-effective choice in between the standard finish and the high-end metallic.”

A variety of Valspar’s coil coatings were specified and applied to the galvanized steel panels to achieve the intended appearance. These included 173 Azteco Embossed panels finished in Darkest Dark Bronze in Fluropon, plus 323 Benchmark panels in Zinc Fluropon Classic II and another 210 Benchmark panels in Weathered Zinc Fluropon Classic II. Kingspan also provided flatstock finished in each color to form flashings and trims.

Once the panel systems’ finishes were selected, the other building components were specified to match. “It was critical that the windows matched the panels and fit within the continuous pattern,” emphasized Wicke. “There were a number of variables: The panels and the window systems were from different manufacturers. The panels are steel and the window framing is aluminum. But everyone worked together to get it right.”

Collaborating with WKA, Valspar’s team matched the Weathered Zinc color as a coil-coated finish on Kingspan’s galvanized steel panels and as a spray-applied finish for Linetec’s use on Pittco’s extruded aluminum window frames. To create the 76 window frames on the school’s south and east sides, Architectural Glass Works (AGW) installed 5,700 square feet of Pittco’s 2-by-4.5-inch TMS 114 curtainwall. Pittco also manufactured exterior thermal storefront, interior storefront and doors. Linetec finished all of these systems, and provided the thermal enhancements.

To ensure all of the various metal components finished in Fluropon coatings met the aesthetic expectations, Valspar produced display panel samples for approval by the architect and owner. “The color-matches clearly reflected our intention and let us communicate it to the suppliers,” said Wicke.

“Having an approved color sample can make all the difference in effectively managing color expectations for a building project,” agreed Linetec’s senior marketing specialist, Tammy Schroeder, LEED® Green Associate. “This is especially true when multiple manufacturers and applicators are involved and their products will be seen side-by-side. Working with Valspar, everyone involved in the project can be confident the color is correct and coating will perform as expected.”

Valspar’s vice president of sales for Valspar’s coil and extrusion coating businesses, Jeff Alexander added, “Since its launch in 1965, Fluropon’s performance has been relied on by architects around the world for its vast color palette and high durability.”

Counting WKA amongst them, Wicke elaborated on the value of these qualities saying, “In making budget-conscious decisions, the finishes needed to be durable for a long lifespan and also contribute to the ease of maintenance for the owner. The school is located in a neighborhood that’s going through a de-industrialization and is susceptible to graffiti. Once the owner saw the breadth of surface available on the exterior, there was extra concern for potential graffiti. We had not specified the coatings to be graffiti-resistant. As Valspar’s finishes already provide high-quality performance, we tested a number of cleaners to find a solution without damaging the coating. Thankfully, the school has not needed to use it.”

Wicke concluded with praise, “Ultimately, we’re very pleased with the color, the coating and the final project. Everything worked out very well.”


Intrinsic Schools, Belmont Campus, 4540 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60641
Owner: Intrinsic Schools; Chicago;
Architect: Wheeler Kearns Architects; Chicago;
General contractor: Clune Construction Company; Chicago;
Glazing contractor: Architectural Glass Works; Tinley Park, Illinois;
Curtainwall, storefront and window system: Pittco Architectural Metals, Inc.; Elk Grove Village, Illinois;
Panel system – installer: The Hill Group; Franklin Park, Illinois;
Panel system – manufacturer: Kingspan Insulated Panels; Deland, Florida;
Coatings – finishing services: Linetec; Wausau, Wisconsin;
Coatings – resin supplier: Solvay Specialty Polymers; Alpharetta, Georgia; and
Coatings – coil and extrusion: The Valspar Corporation; Minneapolis;
Photographer: Greg Folkins Photography


Client News: Custom Window by Wausau historically accurate windows offered with true divided lites and custom-machined grilles

* Wausau is exhibiting at AIA Expo booth #2759 *

The Custom Window™ by Wausau 8300 Series historically accurate windows now include true divided lites and custom-machined grilles to achieve modern performance, while preserving the look of landmark buildings.

“Respectful restoration calls for replication of character-defining features. To match the exact, historic detail, Custom Window by Wausau’s grilles are custom-designed and precision-machined,” emphasizes Dave Stevens, Custom Window by Wausau’s product manager. “Narrow, accurate sightlines; true divided lites; and strict attention to detail set apart the fenestration of landmark structures — then, and now.”
Custom Window by Wausau products can replicate nearly any historic sightline in a true divided lite (TDL) window. Stevens adds, “Glassmaking technology in the years prior to World War II limited the size of individual glass lites, mitigating the use of putty-glazed muntin grids. Only TDL design can reproduce this aesthetic with the fidelity required for rigorous historical preservation.”

For more than 30 years, universities, courthouses, museums, libraries, hotels, schools, high-rise residences and other commercial buildings have relied on Wausau Window and Wall Systems’ products to meet both renovation and new construction applications. Wausau’s project teams work with architects, building teams and presiding historic districts to assist in obtaining necessary aesthetic and performance approvals, associated tax credits and long-term objectives. Extra-wide thermal barriers also can contribute to building’s energy saving goals and condensation resistance.

Stevens notes, “Replication is about the entire opening, not just the window. The product must be easy to install and anchor correctly. Appropriate sills and trim must be provided to complete the window and blend it seamlessly with the opening and the building itself. If a window doesn’t do all these things, it’s simply not good enough.”

Custom profiles can be designed for panning, perimeter framing or muntins, including panning systems with “T” mullions to echo existing profiles. These aluminum components may be specified with up to 70 percent recycled content and finished with liquid paint, powder coatings or anodize. Dual-color finishing can be accommodated to match different interior and exterior color schemes. With a palette exceeding 30,000 color choices, painted finishes may be requested with ultra-low volatile organic compounds (VOC) and VOC-free content. Durable, VOC-free anodize finishes also may be selected, such as a patina-free copper.

Custom Window by Wausau products include fixed and project-in or project-out casements; self-balancing double-hung windows; fixed and projected, simulated double-hung windows; hopper vents and historic glazing inserts for swinging terrace doors. Available on an accelerated delivery schedule, these competitively priced windows and doors are backed with an industry-leading warranty of up to 10 years.

Product descriptions, architectural details, AutoCAD files, specifications and technical guides for Custom Window by Wausau products can be found at

Nationally recognized for its innovative expertise, Wausau Window and Wall Systems is an industry leader in engineering window and curtainwall systems for commercial and institutional construction applications. For more than 55 years, Wausau has worked closely with architects, building owners and contractors to realize their vision for aesthetic beauty, sustainability and lasting value, while striving to maintain the highest level of customer service, communication and overall satisfaction. Wausau is a part of Apogee Enterprises, Inc., a publicly held, U.S. corporation.

Wausau and its staff are members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the APPA – Leadership in Educational Facilities, the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), the Design-Build Institute of America, the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).


Client News: ROCKFON’s ceiling systems help new Canadian federal offices create attractive lobby with acoustic, sustainable performance

* ROCKFON is exhibiting at AIA Expo booth #3122 *

ottawa_01_640pxA new 650,000-square-foot, 17-story federal office complex makes its home at 90 Elgin Street on Crown-owned property amongst Ottawa’s national monuments and institutions. The $250 million landmark building features ROCKFON’s ceiling systems throughout its lobby and offices. In addition to helping create an attractive workplace, these ceiling systems also support requirements for comfort, including acoustics; safety, including seismic conditions; and sustainability, including LEED® Gold criteria.

As the 90 Elgin Street’s development manager, GWL Realty Advisors Inc. ensured the building would be worthy of its prominent placement and national significance for the Government of Canada as the landowner and The Great-West Life Assurance Company as the building owner. Designed by the joint venture of DIALOG and David S McRobie Architects (DSMA), the building’s stature and style are consistent with other significant federal buildings surrounding Confederation Square.

Bringing this vision to reality, Ron Engineering and Construction (Eastern) Ltd. served as the design-builder and began construction in 2011. “Maybe about every 25 years a building this big comes to Ottawa. This one takes the cake,” says Mike Tang, superintendent at Ron Engineering. “It’s a very large building with a very large lobby. It takes a team effort.”

ottawa_02_300pxMorin Bros. Building Supplies’ vice president, Gerald Morin, CTR, agrees, “Like us, Ron Engineering had a long-time relationship working with DSMA and they had great faith in the design-build team members they gathered. It was a good group of people around the table.”

DSMA’s vice president, James Salem, acknowledges the project was both collaborative and challenging. He describes the team effort as “design-build that’s value-engineered as you go. We were balancing cost effectiveness with very high quality standard. The request for proposal called for high-quality materials in the lobby such as granite, glass, metals and a wood ceiling. Not only were these high-end finishes expensive, they also are very hard surfaces.”

State of the Art Acoustik Inc. modeled the lobby’s acoustical options and possible solutions. Salem continues, “The ground floor’s public space is an irregular volume with a three-story atrium at the main entrance, and a large concourse intersected by a cross axis with a two-story lobby at one end and a split-level lobby at the other. The models showed that noise was going to be an issue. There was concern that excessive reverberation caused by the use of hard surfaces would make it very difficult to hear any announcements over the public address. The ceiling was the only opportunity to improve the acoustic performance.”

Other challenges the ceiling team needed to address included designing for sustainability and for potential earthquakes. Salem elaborates, “Ottawa is in a very high seismic zone. We’re not quite as high as California, but it’s a very important part of our buildings’ design and construction. To some extent, every part of this building was designed with consideration to seismic standards and sustainability in mind. They were key factors in the ceiling system, too.”

Morin agrees, “The lobby area is one of the most important interior areas in making a great impression. Once we understood the design criteria and parameters, after discussion with the whole team, we could begin to explore alternatives that fit into the budget and met design expectations.”

Familiar with ROCKFON’s capabilities, specialty metal ceiling panels and Chicago Metallic™ suspension systems, Morin sought out their technical services team. With confidence, Morin explains, “I was sure they could produce it. They have the wood-look painted finish on metal panels, which saves a lot of money compared to real wood. They have the know-how and, for the most complex areas, I was certain they could adjust their regular systems to fit the job’s requirements.”

Working closely with ROCKFON and installing contractor Advance Drywall Ltd., Morin Bros. coordinated a full-scale mock-up showing ceiling solutions for the lobby that combined the desired aesthetic of wood and the performance benefits of metal. According to Salem, “The mock-up was really important in helping work through the details.”

Morin adds, “It made a big difference to be able to see and feel the mock-up. Of course, once they approved it, we had to build the thing.”

Delivering the desired aesthetic of wood and the performance benefits of metal, Rockfon® SpanAir™ hook-on, square edge, 10-foot, aluminum panels were painted in WoodScenes™ Lazy Maple with matching custom trim. Additional mock-ups were created for the lobby’s ceiling pods and linear metal ceiling.

Suspended at various planes, the rectangular ceiling pods add visual interest to the main lobby. Achieving the intended look and performance involved more than 5,300 square feet of Rockfon® Planostile™ lay-in, reveal edge, solid aluminum panels. Black, lay-in Planostile panels knit together the ceiling’s rectangular pods and the SpanAir panels.

In contrast to the warm wood-look finish on the SpanAir panels, a sleek metallic Satin Silver anodize was selected for the linear metal ceiling in the lobby entrance on Elgin Street facing the National Arts Centre. To create this eight-story-tall grand welcome, Advance Drywall installed Rockfon® PlanarMacro® 8-inch-wide, square edge, open reveal panels. A similar ceiling system was used for the secondary lobby entrance on Albert Street.

ottawa_03_300pxSatin Silver anodize also was the finish of choice on the ceiling pods positioned at the elevator bays. These pods are composed of Rockfon Chicago Metallic suspension systems, InfinityZ Razor Edge perimeter trim and Planostile lay-in metal panels. An acoustical backer and perforation on the panels offer high sound absorption, achieving a Noise Reduction Coefficient NRC of 0.90. Elsewhere in the lobby, 0.70 NRC was acceptable.

Final details were presented to confirm how ROCKFON’s various ceiling systems integrated with the lighting, air diffusers, sprinklers, security systems and columns. Not only did the ceiling system need to accommodate these elements, it also needed to provide easy access to the plenum for potential repairs and updates to wires, pipes, ducts and other components. ROCKFON’s hook-on panels allow maintenance staff downward accessibility to the plenum and mechanicals, without the need of special tools.

“Ease of access for the maintenance team meant a lot to the owner,” emphasizes Morin. “They wanted to be able to open a ceiling panel in the middle of the lobby and fix or replace what needed attention. They did not want to start at the wall, having to take out all of the panels in sequence, to finally reach the middle of lobby; fix what needed to be fixed; and then have to put all of the panels back in place.”

Elaborating on the benefit of choosing ROCKFON, Morin also noted, “They could meet the acoustic specifications. They could handle the multiple ceiling levels, complicated intersections and multiple systems. And they could cut everything in their factory. The lighting fixtures already had been ordered, so extra care was needed to make sure the ceiling panels were properly sized for a smooth installation.”

Accommodating the lights and air diffusers, the custom-sized Planostile planks were finished in both black and in Satin Silver. The Satin Silver was matched with Rockfon® Infinity™ perimeter trim for a clean, smooth edge. Beyond the numerous sizes of factory-cut panels, the large columns in the main lobby also proved challenging.

Pete Rudd, ROCKFON’s project manager, remembers, “We put a lot of time in developing the details so that it could just go up out of the box. It’s considered ‘modified standard,’ but it’s actually a very customized solution. We created a new attachment for the hook-on system, along with special wall channels, column rings and connectors.”

ottawa_04_300pxRon Engineering’s Tang also noted that finalizing the shop drawings and details for these complicated systems “took a lot of back-and-forth. But when everything started to come in, it was bang-bang and you’re done.”

In addition to the lobby, Advance Drywall Ltd. installed Chicago Metallic suspension systems in the majority of the offices. Promoting team building and enhancing workplace well-being, the offices’ interior design subscribes to the new “Government of Canada’s Workplace 2.0 Fit-up Standards.” This initiative champions the design of modern workplace to attract, retain and encourage public servants to work smarter, greener and healthier.

Workplace 2.0’s goals include noise control and privacy, sustainable finishes and reduced emissions, as well as flexibility in adapting to future uses, configurations, equipment, technologies and employees. These also mesh with the Canadian Green Building Council’s LEED guidelines. “Research shows that happier, healthier employees take fewer sick days and are more productive; all of which helps save money on employee turn-over and training,” says Isabelle Champagne, CTR, ROCKFON’s architectural sales manager in Ontario.

She continues, “We believe ROCKFON’s ceiling systems play a key role in achieving 90 Elgin’s objectives. Our complete ceiling solutions help create beautiful, comfortable, collaborative, flexible and safe spaces. Easy to install and durable, our products protect people from noise, as well as contribute to a sustainable future.”

Aiding in these sustainable goals, ROCKFON’s metal ceiling suspension systems and panels contain no organic compounds that would support mold or microbial growth. Its aluminum ceiling panels contain 100 percent post-consumer recycled content and, after their useful life, can be recycled locally.

The project earned LEED Gold certification for Core and Shell, met all other required performance criteria, and was substantially completed on schedule. “At the end of the day, everybody loves the ceiling,” Tang says proudly.

“It was quite an exercise in coordination and integration. In the end, it turned out very well. It’s a good balance of quality finishes for a good value,” concludes Salem.

Completed in Oct. 2014, the building was named as the James Michael Flaherty Building in honor of the late finance minister and one of the longest-serving Ministers of Finance in Canada’s history. Up to 2,600 federal employees are expected in the building by May 2015.


James Michael Flaherty Building, 90 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario  K1P 0C6
* Land owner: The Government of Canada; Ottawa, Ontario;
* Building owner: The Great-West Life Assurance Company; Winnipeg, Manitoba;
* Development manager: GWL Realty Advisors Inc., a subsidiary of The Great-West Life Assurance Company; Ottawa, Ontario;
* Design-builder: Ron Engineering and Construction (Eastern) Ltd.; Ottawa, Ontario;
* Architect and interior designer – prime consultant, joint venture:
– DIALOG; Calgary, Alberta;
– David S McRobie Architects Inc. (DSMA); Ottawa, Ontario;
* Acoustic consultant: State of the Art Acoustik Inc. (SOTA); Ottawa, Ontario;
* LEED consultant: Morrison Hershfield Group Inc.; Ottawa, Ontario;
* Ceilings – installing contractor: Advance Drywall Ltd.; Nepean, Ontario
* Ceilings – distributor: Morin Bros Building Supplies Inc.; Ottawa, Ontario;
* Ceilings – manufacturer: ROCKFON; Chicago;
* Photographer: Bochsler Creative Services
* Video of construction: