When it comes to specifying air barrier systems for commercial buildings, architects just want a product that works, and contractors want a product that’s easy to install.
In this video, we learn about such a product, and how it was developed.
United States Gypsum Company (USG) is an industry leader in innovation, safety and sustainability for the commercial construction category. Their Securock® ExoAir® 430 System is an example of that leadership.
The Securock® ExoAir® 430 System combines technical expertise and exceptional performance, setting the standard for air barrier systems in commercial buildings.
To learn more about the system, we spoke with Andy Vegter, National Specification Manager for Building Envelope at USG.
Andy described the system and what makes it unique in the marketplace. Specifically, he talks about why architects like the system, and how architects and contractors have been part of the product-development process.
Introduction: The physicist William Pollard is quoted as saying, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” Well, for this commARCH podcast, we talk with Andy Vegter, national specification manager for the building envelope, United States Gypsum Company. They’re a great example of a building product manufacturer focused on key issues impacting the built environment. This podcast is about reducing risk, saving money, faster installation by using Securock ExoAir 430. Here we go.
Dean Horowitz: Nice to meet you. So tell me about your background. You’ve been here 18 years.
Andy Vegter: I’ve been with USG 18 years. I started off as a retail rep with USG. I’ve always been in sales — a retail rep, then I was an architectural sales rep for about 10 years here locally in Chicago. And now in my current position, I’m the building envelope specification manager for USG.
Dean Horowitz: Pretty important role. Because you are bringing the intelligence that they’re not necessarily going to have in house. They have a lot of questions and they can’t put anything at risk and you’re helping them manage that.
Andy Vegter: Right. Exactly. I try to be their resource and not just me personally, but the team building envelope team, to be their resource for anything, any questions they could have about the building envelope.
Dean Horowitz: So who are you meeting with at the architecture firm?
Andy Vegter: We meet with specifiers. We meet with project architects. Many times we’re meeting with consultants that the architect might hire in the building envelope. Those are the primary folks we’re meeting with.
Dean Horowitz: What are some of the questions they ask, specific to this product?
Andy Vegter: Well, with the building envelope, there is risk. They are trying to design systems that will reduce their risk of failure. And so a lot of their questions are around design issues and things that come up on a project that they can avoid a failure down the road. And so that’s the basis of most questions.
Dean Horowitz: What’s the history of USG? How did it get started? How did you get to the point where we are? There’s been a lot of talk about the transitions that have gone on in this organization in the last, I don’t know, maybe 10 years. So can we talk a little bit about that?
Andy Vegter: Sure. Well, so USG is over a hundred years old. We started off with mostly independent gypsum mines that got together and created US Gypsum. Our biggest product line is our Sheetrock brand gypsum panels, which were invented in the early 1900s by USG. Sheet rock is the biggest brand of gypsum panels in North America. Over the last 10 years, our architectural teams have grown substantially, so there are many more specific teams calling on architectural firms than there were say 10 years ago. So we have specific teams calling on architects for ceilings, gypsum, building envelope. So there’s a variety of reps now calling on architectural firms and contractors.
Dean Horowitz: So let’s talk about Securock ExoAir 430, and how an architect would compare it to, let’s just take one other competitor. You don’t have to say who it is, but let’s line them up and how are they going to evaluate those products?
Andy Vegter: The key component to our system versus competitors is that ours has an actual membrane applied to the surface. And that is important in making sure that it performs to the same level as traditional fluid applied on glass mat sheathing. If it doesn’t have a membrane, then you have to question how that is going to compare. Ours does have a membrane. The product itself is our Securock glass mat sheathing with the Tremco air barrier applied in the factory. It’s cured there in the factory and then delivered to the job site together. So you’re combining two steps of installation into one. Depending on the design of the building, once you get the panels up and the joints treated and the fasteners treated and you’re using Tremco Dymonic 100, you could have as much as 85 percent of your air barrier already installed.
Dean Horowitz: So what is the promise land for this type of product? Like what are those aspects that just they get (and say), “We’re not going to look at anyone else?”
Andy Vegter: It’s about going back to reducing the risk of failure down the road, and saving time and money. We don’t see competitive equal products to ours. We really think we compete with traditionally applied, installed fluid on glass mat sheathing. The types of projects that we’ve had particular success on with this product have been school work, hospitals, data centers. These are all owners that are going to be in the building along time. They’ve got a long horizon and they have a very low tolerance for failure.
Dean Horowitz: For Securock ExoAir 430, there are a number of different things you’ve done to make sure that trust is escalated in the product, risk is managed out, and that an entire team represents this brand. It’s a lot of power that most companies can’t provide. Let’s go through what are those elements?
Andy Vegter: We have an architectural team calling on the architects directly helping them in the early stages of design. Then once the project bids and the contractors and GCs are awarded, we have a team of reps that also call on the contractors and distributors and work with them on the job site helping out with any installation type questions or issues that can come up there. So we really try to step the project through early phases of design, all the way through installation with our different teams. Everything is managed. I don’t know of many companies that will do that in the field like we will.
Dean Horowitz: Especially today with the issues that are being confronted with labor.
Andy Vegter: The labor shortages in most markets are very difficult to manage. And so our teams being out there to help with installation questions that can bog them down or slow the project down, keeps things moving and helps to keep the project going forward.
Dean Horowitz: Great product, great company. So much trust there. I’m an architect and I’m reviewing products. How do I reach out to make sure that I get the data I need to do the proper evaluation?
Andy Vegter: There’s a couple of different ways that we can connect with architects. You could go to www.securockexoair.com, which is our website around the product. Or we could have a local rep contact you in your market and there’s a number of them. We could do lunch and learns, product updates, all those types of things, to tell you more about this system.
Dean Horowitz: Excellent. Thank you. Thanks for doing this.
Andy Vegter: Thank you.