2016 Top 50 Glaziers: Supplier Solutions

Advice from glass and metal suppliers about the common challenges facing contract glaziers

CHALLENGE 1: FINDING LABOR

One of the biggest challenges we’re hearing about from the glaziers we work with is the need for qualified labor. This is especially true for those working on high-end jobs. The increase in construction spending has led to buildings with more complex curtain wall, façade and window applications. Finding the laborers with the skillset for these specialized jobs is a real challenge in an industry that’s already spread thin and juggling demanding schedules.”
— Jeff Razwick, president, Technical Glass Products, fireglass.com, tgpamerica.com.

Solution:
“Partnering with top-tier suppliers and manufacturers is one way to leverage your existing labor and effectiveness, particularly when things are busy. From prompt service and professional communication to quality materials made right the first time, first-class suppliers allow your project team to bring closure to a project more efficiently,” Razwick says.

CHALLENGE 2: LEAD TIMES

Lead time is an issue we hear come up time and again. Glaziers have reported long lead times of six weeks for [aluminum] doors, and over 12 weeks for windows. Unfortunately, product availability can significantly impact a glazing contractor’s competitiveness and overall reputation with the general contractor.”
— Brad Thurman, director of sales and marketing, CRL-U.S. Aluminum

Some glaziers have also reported constrained supply and lengthening lead times for some glass products.

Solution:
“To avoid these pitfalls, I recommend that glaziers partner with a manufacturer/supplier that has a strong distribution network, localized stock inventory programs for doors, and rapid customization capabilities for windows,” Thurman says.

“For projects significant in size, it is also important for glazing contractor customers to reserve capacity with a high-quality architectural glass fabricator. Having flexibility in capacity management allows the glass fabricator to meet accelerated or delayed project schedules, and will help ensure architectural glass supply for your projects,” says Gary McQueen, architectural design manager for JE Berkowitz LP.

CHALLENGE 3: COMPRESSED SCHEDULES

We are seeing general contractors trying to compress the construction timeline and close jobs faster. The key to profitability is to get in and out quickly. Now if the glazing contractor has a delay it is compounded by the congestion of working around other trades.”
— Greg Galloway, ProTek brand manager, YKK AP America

Solution:
“Focus on logistics and staging. Get everything in order ahead of time, so you’re not hitting speed bumps down the road. On the product front, it’s important to minimize the use of different systems and configurations. One missing part can halt installation. Having fewer unique parts and pieces on the jobsite reduces the likelihood of a critical outage,” Galloway says.

CHALLENGE 4: RISING PERFORMANCE DEMANDS

In today's market, glazing contractor customers are faced with … educated owners, architects and consultants [who] demand higher levels of facade quality and performance.”
— Gary McQueen, architectural design manager for for JE Berkowitz LP

Solution:
“Glazing contractor customers should consult with a high-quality architectural glass fabricator as early as possible to discuss advancements in high-performing [low-emissivity] coatings, warm edge spacer technology and room-side low-E coatings to meet project energy requirements. Additionally, more project specifications call for tighter optical distortion and sightline aesthetic tolerances. High-quality architectural glass fabricators have the equipment and quality control processes in place, such as ISO 9001 certification, to meet evolving quality tolerances,” McQueen says.

Intro

The List

The Market

Supplier Solutions

Katy Devlin is editor for Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at kdevlin@glass.org.