Volume 49, Issue 6 - June 2014
So if you could tell architects just one thing about working with them that you would want them to know, but don’t have the courage to say, what would it be? I have asked this question of glazing contractors often over the past few years and a clear “top five” list has emerged. Here then are the top five things glazing contractors wish they could tell architects:
1. Glass is not just glass. Glass has many different performance characteristics that can meet almost any spec. Don’t stereotype glass as the material you learned about in architect’s school and don’t discount glass as a material choice without proper research. You will be amazed at what glass can do.
2. Don’t suck my brain dry then say goodbye. Contract glaziers absolutely hate it when you bring them in at the design-build stage, or have them help value-engineer a project, and then award it to another glazing contractor. They have heard all the reasons and all the excuses. They will smile politely and tell you it’s fine, but they seethe inside. It is the single most maddening thing an architect can do to a glazing contractor, and they will never forget it.
3. Your mistakes are not necessarily bad—for us anyway. Yes, give us the inferior drawings, the incomplete specs or better yet, a design that has no prayer of working, because they almost always translate into change orders and extras for us. If this seems a bit harsh, please know that we have tried for many years to alert you to these issues early in a project only to be ignored, doubted and mocked. So now we just keep our mouths shut in most cases and let the extras roll!
4. Think you are getting what you paid for? Think again. You have no idea how much glass installed is not the glass that was spec-ed. There’s a reason that guy down the street was 22 percent lower; he’s “substituting” a lower priced and lower quality product for what was ordered. Reputable glazing contractors don’t do this of course; they just lose jobs to the guys who do.
Deb If you hire a glazing or curtainwall consultant for the job, our price goes up. It has to, as you have just added hours and hours of work, some worthwhile, some duplicative and some ridiculous, to the job. So we have to account for this. And we price by the consultant too. Some cost us more than others.
If this sounds like a harsh indictment of the contract glazing community, dear Architect, please think again. Most of these practices are a result of the bad in the business ruining it for those who are reputable and honest. And, if price is your only determination, then that sends a signal that working with quality companies just doesn’t matter that much to you. Turnabout is fair play. Next month, the architects give their top five to the glaziers.
P.S.: If you are at the American Institute of Architects convention in Chicago this month, please stop by and say hello. USGlass magazine will be in booth 4455.