How to ease the spec writing process for your customers

Tips for glaziers, and glass and metal suppliers
March 30, 2011

Editor's note: The "Glass and Metals 201" article on Page 16 of the April 2011 issue of Glass Magazine provided architects a guide to glass and glazing specifications, including tips for specification writing. This corresponding feature offers tips to glazing contractors and glass and metal suppliers to help ease the spec writing process.

Glass and metal suppliers:

  • Have all product data easily available.
    "Provide architects with all the information they need. Post it on the Internet, supply product data with the sample — make sure it's published and downloadable."
    —Monica Lozano, consultant, Curtain Wall Design & Consulting Inc., Dallas.
  • Provide tools to demonstrate and explain performance variables.
    "When performance varies based on the products being incorporated with each other, it is important to provide tools to help understand the variability. YKK AP America uses the AAMA 507 standard to power the logic behind the myThermal Assistant software. myThermal Assistant ... allows the architect/specifier to quickly switch out glass packages to see the impact on the framing system's performance."
    —Mike Turner, vice president of marketing, YKK AP, Austell, Ga.
  • Develop sample specifications.
    "Spend time making sure you provide sample specifications by application — detailed specifications written out that an architect can use, and information about the intended uses."
    —Kris Vockler, vice president, operations, ICD High Performance Coatings, Vancouver, Wash.
  • Listen first.
    "Suppliers should try and listen to what architects want, rather than saying, 'this is what you need.' Listen to what the architect is saying to learn what the design intent is, so you don't take them down the wrong direction with product recommendations."
    —Don McCann, architectural design manager, Viracon, Owatonna, Minn.
  • Educate.
    "Have good product information that teaches architects about product components. One common mistake we see is low-E specified on the wrong surface. We need to educate people [about some of these basics]."
    —Kris Vockler
  • Make unbiased recommendations.
    "Suppliers need to [offer architects guidance] if their product is not correct for an application. A window supplier ... needs to recommend that an architect needs a curtain-wall system if that's what the application requires."
    —John D'Amario, director of sales, C/S Erectors Inc., Architectural Wall Systems, San Ramon, Calif.

Glazing contractors:

  • Look for conflicts and other problems in the specifications.
    "The glazing contractor has to be the last line of defense. They need to be ... looking into the specs, looking for conflicts and finding the data for building requirements. They need to verify that the products specified meet requirements, so their bid doesn't get them into trouble."
    —Christopher Matthews, vice president, senior consultant, Glazing Consultants International LLC, West Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Be an information and education source.
    "Sometimes, at the bidding stage, the architect has not really made up their mind about what product or system they want or need. In these situations, a glazing contractor should ask what the architect is trying to achieve, because [the glazing contractor] might have a better idea of what is required."
    —Monica Lozano

    "Contract glaziers can listen to what the architect is looking for and help them understand our business a little better."
    —Don McCann
  • Ask questions.
    "Contract glaziers are the first line that gets hit when something is not right. ... If you notice a configuration isn't right, say something. Ask questions when you're not sure about an architect's intent. You can't afford to not know."
  • Submit Requests for Information.
    "Initiate and participate in RFI. That's every subcontractor's responsibility. The bidder has a responsibility to get ambiguous items clarified."