Courting contractors

Heinaman dives into high-school campus project with favorite customer
Katy Devlin
April 20, 2009

Rendering by HMC Architects, Pasadena, Calif.

Heinaman Contract Glazing, Lake Forest, Calif., #16

Heinaman Contract Glazing
, Lake Forest, Calif., saw sales increase 67 percent from 2007 to 2008, as the company worked through a healthy backlog it had built up for several years. John Heinaman, president, says the company will continue to work through that backlog in 2009, but company executives and managers are staying vigilant to continue to get new work.

While educational projects have only constituted about 10 percent of Heinaman Contract Glazing’s sales in previous years, Heinaman says the company is bidding on more of these projects during the slower economy in order to secure a strong backlog for 2010 and 2011. “Normally, we do not play in that arena. But in these times, we can’t overlook these jobs,” he says.

Educational projects create a different bidding environment for glaziers, Heinaman says. Smaller school projects—elementary, middle and typical high schools—are often awarded to the lowest bidder. Larger, more custom high-schools, and college and university projects, are bid more competitively and awarded based on the contract. “The more complex the project, the more it eliminates smaller companies, and the general contractor feels more comfortable,” he says. “We try to focus on jobs that are larger and more difficult. We like to have more volume in a single job, and we like the more complex projects.”

Heinaman's company often gets involved in school projects when its “best customers” are the general contractors. “When our valued customers end up with schools that are first grade through high school, we’ll bid, even though it’s not what we typically pursue,” he says. This is exactly the reason Heinaman became involved in the Los Angeles Unified School District Central Regional High School #13 project, a multibuilding school campus set for an early 2010 completion.

The high school will be the district’s greenest campus, and is set to feature water management and energy efficient systems, the use of native plants to reduce the need for irrigation, water-saving lavatories and the use of recycled materials, according to a LAUSD release. The project will also feature glass with a high-performance tint.

The project is part of LAUSD’s $20.3 billion new school construction and modernization program to build 132 schools by 2012. Central Regional High School consists of classroom buildings and several shared buildings including a performing arts building, gymnasium, food services building and an administration building.

HMC Architects of Pasadena is the designer, and Turner Construction Co., New York, is the general contractor. The specified glass on the project is ¼-inch PPG Atlantica high-performance tint by PPG Industries, Pittsburgh, to be fabricated by Vitro America, Los Angeles. Kawneer Co., Norcross, Ga., is the framing systems supplier. 

The project will feature a significant amount of fire-rated glazing from Technical Glass Products, Snoqualmie, Wash. “In the past, these school projects would feature wired glass,” Heinaman said. “It appears they have finally realized that it’s not safety glass and can be hazardous, and is not the most appropriate glass to be used in public schools. In this project, they have budgeted much more money for fire-rated glass projects.” 

The rest of the project features fairly standard systems. Heinaman Contract Glazing is currently fabricating aluminum for the project, “basic systems that have been used many times before, and have been previously tested, so there are no mock-ups required,” Heinaman says. “This was done as a matter of economics.”

Going forward, Heinaman expects many higher education projects to dry up, particularly for private colleges and universities built out of endowments. “Those projects are all on hold—I don’t know of any going forward,” he says. Public school projects will continue to go forward based in large part on voters pushing bonds through.

Katy Devlin is editor for Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at

  • The project: Los Angeles Unified School District Central Regional High School #13

    The players: Contract glazier, Heinaman Contract Glazing, Lake Forest, Calif.; architect, HMC Architects, Pasadena; general contractor, Turner Construction Co., New York; glass manufacturer, PPG Industries, Pittsburgh; glass fabricator, Vitro America, Los Angeles; fire-rated glazing supplier, Technical Glass Products, Snoqualmie, Wash.; framing system supplier, Kawneer Co., Norcross, Ga.; security screen supplier, Kane Screens; translucent wall supplier, Kalwall.

    The glass and systems: ¼-inch PPG Atlantica; Kawneer 1600 system 1 and 2 with 350 Tufline doors, Kawneer 2250 IG with 350 Tufline doors; Kawneer storefront 450 VG with hollow metal doors; FireLite standard and FireLite NT fire-rated glass, Pilkington Pyrostop heat-barrier system.