Volume 47, Issue 12 - December 2012


Mid-Atlantic Glazing Contractor Sees Backlog Grow Again

Custom Glass Services in Frederick, Md., is among those few glazing contractors starting to see its backlog of commercial glazing projects rise again. The subcontractor serves projects in the Maryland, D.C., Virginia and West Virginia areas and, according to financial officer Jennifer Carr, “Our backlog is probably the largest it’s been in about three years right now.”

The types of projects feeding that backlog are in flux. “I would say it’s mixed,” says Carr of the projects on the company’s table. I feel like we’re always going through hills and valleys as far as workload. Right now we’re seeing a lot of apartment building in the area, so more private work is going up again. It seems like, after the crash, we had a lot of federal work. Then we also saw a lot of local government work. Now we’re seeing lots of private work. It’s more of a mix as federal work is going away.”

According to Carr, strong relationships with general contractors are more crucial than ever, as large numbers of hungry glazing contractors are bidding every available job.

“It’s confusing because we see more budget jobs out there, where it’s in the pre-construction phase. We haven’t seen that in a while, but we’re seeing that again. At the same time we’re seeing public bids going out where there’s 17 general contractors on it, so that gives us a hint that there’s a lot of contractors looking for work,” Carr says.

At present, the biggest trend is moving work from design to construction, but Custom Glass is still seeing some evidence of the demand for “green” projects.

“I can think of one particular job that we’re working on that is a Maryland-funded job and that is a LEED project,” Carr says. “I would say that smaller, private jobs aren’t looking at [going green]. It’s still the state funded ones, definitely.”

To other glazing contractors, Carr offers some simple advice: stick with what—and who—you know. “The biggest thing is [maintaining] those relationships that you’ve built before things started going down. Working on those and doing what you know, not expanding out past that. There’s been a lot of glazing contractors in the area that have failed. For example, Trainor spread itself too thin. So really it’s just working on those relationships that you have and doing the best of the work that you know.

“It’s really about the relationships that you build with your clients before and working with them,” Carr says. —MH

ABI Sees Quickest Increase ’10
Billings at architecture companies rose at their fastest pace since late 2010 with a score of 51.6, up from the mark of 50.2 in August, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for September. Sector index breakdown for the month showed multi-family residential at 57.3, institutional at 51.0, commercial/industrial at 48.4 and mixed practice at 47.8.

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