Through Ups and  
Downs, the Architect-  
Glazier Relationship  
is Important as Ever  
It’s Complicated  
b y N i c k S t . D e n i s  
“We welcome initial, open-  
rchitects and contract glaziers  
may not see eye-to-eye on  
everything, but there’s one  
major thing they both can agree on:  
their relationship with one another is  
often crucial to the successful execu-  
tion of projects.  
USGlass magazine conducted a re-  
search study of contract glaziers and  
architects, focusing on the good, bad,  
and yes—the ugly—aspects of their  
minded interface with architects  
during design development as it  
allows smooth implementation of  
admin requirements and actual  
execution of construction.”  
Crucial to  
Here are the highlights.  
Glazier: How important  
is collaboration with  
the design team today?  
Very important: 71%  
Somewhat important: 25%  
Not very important: 4%  
The glazier’s ability and  
willingness to assist in  
estimating and value  
engineering during  
Architect: How important  
to the pre-construction  
process is the contract  
glazier compared to  
design is a real benefit  
and distinction.”  
other subcontractors?  
Generally more important: 40%  
Generally the same importance: 47%  
Generally less important 13%  
According to the survey, 71 percent of contract glaziers believe collaboration with the design  
team is very important. Meanwhile, 40 percent of architects consider the contract glazier to  
be generally more important in the pre-construction phase than other subcontractors.  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2016  
Input from the  
contract glazier at  
all phases is of  
great value.”  
Get Them in Early  
The recent spike in integrated  
project delivery projects has in-  
creased our collaboration with  
architects. Building relation-  
ships with architects is equally  
important to the relationships  
built with contractors.”  
7% Architects  
9% Glaziers 33%  
Architect: When is it  
important to get the  
contract glazier involved  
as early as possible?  
On every project: 10%  
On most projects: 43%  
On some projects: 47%  
Glazier: How important is it to you  
to be involved with the early stages  
of project design/development?  
This is important on every project: 33%  
This is important on most projects: 36%  
This is important on some projects: 29%  
This is not important: 2%  
Sixty-nine percent of contract glaziers say it’s important  
for them to be involved with the early stages of project  
design/development on most or all projects. More than  
half of architects feel that the contract glazier should be  
involved as early as possible either on most projects or  
on every project.  
A Concerned Glazier  
“On most projects, the glazing contractor is brought into the project  
afterwards. Most of the time, corrections have to be made with design.  
especially concerning load and door hardware. The glazing contractor  
has to work through the general contractor, because that is who the  
glazing contractor is working for. With the GC involved, who is only  
looking at cost, it is impossible for the architect and glazing  
contractor to work closely together to solve the issues of a  
project. Most problems are a simple fix, but with the glazing  
contractor having to go through the GC to reach the architect,  
most issues are not properly addressed and could have been  
resolved sooner, with less money spent.”  
continued on page 52  
May 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
It’s Complicated  
continued from page 51  
The glazier should be  
able to weigh and con-  
sider the importance of  
an architect’s design in-  
tent rather than sticking  
to standard details.”  
Just Do It  
Architects often produce  
designs that are unworkable—the incorrect  
framing systems, lack of adequate wall design  
for reaction loads, etc. The amount of time and  
effort on the glazier’s part to correct an  
architect’s deficiencies is  
% Architects31%  
out of control.”  
16% Glaziers 57%  
Glazier: What has  
been your biggest  
concern with  
Architect: What has been  
your biggest concern with  
contract glaziers over the  
past year?  
architects over  
the past year?  
Their designs can sometimes  
be impractical from a  
Their desire to alter design/inability  
to stick to design: 31%  
glazing standpoint: 57%  
Poor communication: 14%  
Difficulty getting on same  
page in design/engineering: 16%  
Concerns on the jobsite: 3%  
Other: 10%  
Poor communication: 7%  
Difficulty getting on same page in  
design/engineering: 17%  
Concerns on the jobsite: 10%  
Poor quality of work: 10%  
Other: 24%  
More than half of respondents in the glazier category said their biggest concern with architects is that their  
designs can sometimes be impractical from a glazing standpoint. The biggest concern for architects was the  
glazier’s desire to alter the design or inability to stick to it once they get involved. However, when asked how  
hesitant they were about getting the glazier involved early for fear that they’ll want to alter too much of the design,  
83 percent of architects said they were not hesitant.  
A Concerned Architect:  
“Recently, we had a storefront and curtainwall job where the junctures of  
the masonry and storefront leaked like a sieve. The installer ignored the  
architectural drawings and his own shop drawings, and the storefront  
manufacturer’s rep said, ‘The glazier is my customer and I need to accom-  
modate him, not you.’ Who the heck specified the product? Obviously the  
architect. This was a bid job and they just cut corners and ignored the  
drawings, shop drawings and field reports, and later were sued along with  
the general contractor. As we had written numerous letters during construc-  
tion relating to the observed deficiencies, our firm was pretty much suit  
proof, but it soured our relationship with the client, a large corporation.”  
continued on page 54  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2016  
It’s Complicated  
continued from page 52  
Glazier: Consider Future Replacement  
Architects seem to think that the more bizarre and difficult the project is,  
the better. They do not take the end user's ability to replace glass into  
consideration. Many projects we have done involve glass products which  
are no longer produced within only a few years making replacement  
virtually impossible. An open and honest discussion on practicality  
of glass chosen with the end user should be on the top of the  
architect’s list. Boring perhaps, but economical and availability of  
product should be advised to the architect's clients so they know  
what they may face with replacement in the future.”  
On the Horn  
Our major glazing projects have all  
For the last several years  
been executed [by the same glazing  
contractor]. He always participates  
as a full member of the design team,  
identifying both positive and not so  
positive attributes of different design  
directions and often introducing both  
directions and nuances that we’ve  
never considered. I value  
our regional glass association] has actively  
been marketing to the architectural community in  
an effort to bring a better line of communication  
between the two of our industries. As an  
association we have put on multiple lunch and  
learns as well as boot camps to bring our glazing  
community closer to the  
that input very highly.”  
architectural community.”  
Architect: How  
pleased have you  
been with your level  
of communication  
with glazing contractors  
this past year?  
Very pleased: 23%  
Somewhat pleased: 60%  
Not pleased: 17%  
Glazier: How pleased have you been with  
your level of communication with glazing  
contractors this past year?  
Very pleased 21%  
Somewhat pleased: 50%  
Not pleased: 28%  
Exactly half the glaziers were somewhat pleased with their  
communication with the architect community in the past year; 29  
percent were not pleased. The architects were a little more  
positive, with 60 percent somewhat pleased and 23 percent very  
pleased—two percentage points more than glaziers. s  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2016