Volume 35, Number 4, April 2000



Forging a Perfect Union

Architects are often unaware of the vast choices in glass.”

“Architects and designers are finding innovative ways to add glass to residential and commercial projects.”

“The responsible design professional must carefully consider the performance characteristics of the basic types of glass.”

Each of the above statements appear in the special architect’s supplement which begins on page 32 of this issue. While the supplement is aimed toward the architect, and furthering his or her knowledge of glass and glass-related products, the articles contain information that contract glaziers cannot afford to miss. After all, the relationship forged between the architect and glazier is vital to a project’s

This relationship is so important that when USGlass conducted a survey of approximately 6,000 contract glaziers, we devoted several questions to this relationship.

Most of the responses serve as good news for the architect. For example, when glaziers were presented with a list and asked to rank the top problems having an adverse impact on their business, a mere 4 percent listed “problems with architects.”

And when asked how often an architect or specifier specifies an inappropriate material for installation, the majority of responses came in at the low end of the spectrum.

But, when asked how often glaziers are successful in getting a spec changed to a different material, the results were almost split. The largest percentage (22 percent), was 10-24 percent of the time, but it was followed closely (20 percent) by 25-49 percent of the time. So on this front, half the glaziers are successful in getting a spec changed at least 10 percent of the time.

On average, the above results seem to indicate a positive working relationship between the architect and the contract glazier. The results of one question, however, did not bode so well.

When glaziers were asked to rate the architect’s education level, less than 1 percent said the architect is highly educated about glass and glass-related products. Sixty-eight percent said he is moderately-educated, while 30 percent cited his education level as poor. This statistic alone is alarming. As the individual who plays a large role in the glass or glass-related product to be used on a particular project, the glazier needs to be sure that the architect is highly educated in the products available. The article, “Glass Primer 101,” found on page 36, may serve as the first step toward this educational process.

But, while the contract glazier points to the architect’s unimpressive knowledge level, what the glazier may not realize is that he or she is a valuable source to provide this education to the architect. In fact, this is the subject of the article on page 40.

The author, Pilkington’s Nils Brinkmann, outlines the trends in fire-rated glazing and says architects are now able to specify glass in places where they might not have originally envisioned glass at all. But, a majority of architects may never know the viability of this, and many other glass products, if the contract glazier does not educate the architect.

So, when you’re next lamenting the architect’s lack of education, remember that you can play a role in increasing his or her knowledge level. Of course, this may mean educating yourself as well. You’ll want to read Brinkmann’s tips for how glaziers can keep track of all the glass products available thus strengthening your relationship as a vendor.

The architect’s supplement will be distributed at the upcoming AIA Convention. If you happen to attend this event, stop by our booth (#2813) and pick up a few extra copies so you can pass them on to your fellow architects, either during or following the show.

Hopefully, this will be the first step toward forging stronger relationships between two key members of the design build team.

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Tara Taffera


Copyright 2000 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.