Volume 41, Issue 10 - October 2006


Glaziers Speak Out About Surety Bonding
Surety bonding is an integral part of the glass and glazing business. By law, bonding is required on public jobs. At the federal level, jobs of more than $100,000 require surety bonding and generally those between $50,000 and $100,000 for state level projects require it as well. In terms of issuing a surety bond for public projects underwriters look at the three “Cs”: character, competence and capital of the contractor to determine eligibility. With construction up across the nation, work is plentiful and glazing subcontractors can be more selective in the projects they pursue and forego jobs in the public sector. 

“We view bonding not as a stumbling block but as a component of both our strategic risk management plans,” says Lou Sigman, president of Horizon Glass, a mid-size glazing contractor serving the greater Denver area. 

“It is of value for us to have a reasonable level of bonding capacity and to be able to meet the required criteria when a particular project or series of projects call for such additional coverage. And, when bonding requirements do present themselves, we of course, want to have in place the appropriate coverage at competitively priced premium rates. For these reasons, a strong relationship with one’s bonding agent and their respective surety is as important as meeting the necessary requirements in terms of capacity and financial performance when securing a bond.”

Bill Wiedemann, general manager for Harmon Inc.’s Denver location, says bonding has never been an issue. 

“It’s not been an issue for us because of our parent company, Apogee,” explains Wiedemann. “Bonding often depends upon the owner, town and type and size of the building. Here, it just doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Bonding is often requested as a part of a project. In some cases, general contractors will cover the cost of the bond for those subcontractors who can’t or won’t provide bonding themselves. In other cases, the bond will be waived to get the value of the most competitive bid.”

Bob Busking of Westhampton Glass in Westhampton, N.Y., says he has never been asked to provide a bond nor does he chase that type of work. 

“We have been serving customers in the Hampton’s with custom windows, doors and shower enclosures for close to four decades,” Busking points out. “The way I look at it is the large-scale projects draw in 20 to 30 bidders and typically result in the low bid being awarded the project. The general contractor has to go through a great deal of time and effort to gather quotes, estimates, secure a bond and participate in what can be a lengthy process with an array of pitfalls along the way. Often the project is underbid, which can end up being a mess and it just seems like businesses are beating each other up for no reason.”

“I subscribe to the mantra of developing a niche where I can make money, get as good as I can at my craft and bring in as much work as possible in my area of expertise,” continues Busking. “I treat people well, provide quality materials, highly trained labor and the type of service and workmanship that earns repeat business and decent margins. There is very little haggling in my business and I like it that way.”

by Peggy Georgi

ENR Names Top 50 Companies in Domestic General Building Revenue 
The Engineering News Record (ENR) has published its list of the top 50 companies in domestic general building revenue. At the top of the list is Centex, with a total of $12,510.3 billion. The Beck Group comes in at number 50 with $507.1 million. 

According to ENR, the list was compiled based on 2005 domestic revenue, not including process plants. Listed below are the top 20 companies.

Rank Company Revenue (in $ Millions)
1. Centex 12,510.3
2. The Turner Corp. 6,315.5
3. Bovis Land Lease 3,744.3
4. Skanska USA Inc. 3,275.6
5. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.  2,608.0
6. J.E. Dunn Construction Group 2,265.0
7. Gilband Building Co. 2,256.6
8. Clark Group 2,246.0
9. Structure Tone Inc. 1,863.0
10. Swinerton Inc. 1,830.0
11. McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. 1,639.0
12. The Yates Cos. Inc. 1,568.8
13. Webcor Builders 1,563.4
14. Brasfield and Gorrie LLC 1,487.6
15. Hunt Construction Group 1,442.0
16. hensel Phelps Construction Co. 1,441.5
17. Perini Corp. 1,200.0
18. The Weitz Co. LLC 1,065.0
19. Suffolk Construction Co. Inc. 1,027.6
20. Opus Group 988.1

Colorado Glaziers: Know Your Permit Needs
Contract glaziers in Colorado Springs and El Paso County, Colo., and those that do work that falls under the jurisdiction of the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD) are now required to obtain permits for all commercial glazing replacements, regardless of size and location.

“The only difference regarding the installations of glazing from previous codes is that the 2005 code also requires a permit for commercial re-installation to be obtained by the qualified contractor,” said Leslie Gruen with the PPRBD.

The permit requirements, instituted in 2005, include final inspections which would “eliminate unqualified maintenance people from doing work that requires a professional who understands the type of glazing required by code and is qualified to do the installation,” according to Gruen.

Despite the principle behind it, the permit requirement for reinstallation hasn’t been very popular among the glazing industry.

“We are all in favor of being licensed, but the expense of purchasing a permit for every commercial glass replacement, goes first to us, then is passed-on to our customers—and they are certainly not happy about paying it,” said Jim Davidson, president of City Glass Company in Colorado Springs. 

“In Colorado Springs there is a very negative opinion that the entire issue is strictly a revenue-maker for El Paso County,” he added.

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