Steel Encounters used  
a
rotating jumbo power cup from  
Heavy Drive to set the oversized  
glass panels used in the 111  
Main project.  
36  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | March 2017  
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Moves that  
Plan Carefully for  
Handling, Transporting  
and Installing  
Jumbo-Sized Glass  
b y E l l e n R o g e r s  
Matter  
icture this: An Indian Rhinoceros  
weighs in at about 4,600 pounds—that’s al-  
most as much as the heaviest glass panel on the  
newly built 111 Main project in Salt Lake City. It  
tipped the scale at 4,800 pounds.You can imagine how  
lifting something that large from 400 feet above the street  
would require planning,coordination,special equipment,  
machinery and a dedicated team.  
Call it what you will—big, jumbo, over-sized—these  
massive panels aren’t a trend. Glass keeps getting big-  
ger to satisfy architects’ desires for spans and spans of  
uninterrupted facades. The results are impressive, but  
their execution is not easy. From the design to produc-  
tion, fabrication and installation, these projects require  
a comprehensive, well thought-out plan. And you’ve got  
to be all in.  
It Starts With a Plan  
The newly built 111 Main changed the Salt Lake City  
skyline. Designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill  
(
engineer, the project features huge glass panels measur-  
ing 10 by 35 feet.  
SOM) with Eckersley O’Callaghan as the structural  
Steel Encounters, also of Salt Lake City, was the con-  
tract glazier. According to president Tom Jackson, the  
project called for a unique, carefully planned approach.  
The company’s work began more than a year in advance  
of ever being on site. To date, it’s the largest glass with  
which his company has ever worked.  
As part of the design-assist project, Jackson says  
early coordination, communication and teamwork were  
critical. The company’s installation plan began with re-  
view of the architectural drawings and site plans to help  
determine what type of equipment would be necessary  
The biggest glass panels in the lobby of the 111 Main  
project in Salt Lake City weighed in at 4,800 pounds and  
measured 10 by 35 feet.  
continued on page 38  
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March 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
37  
Mcontionuvedefromspatgeh37at Matter  
for the installation. Steel Encounters  
worked closely with its glass supplier,  
Germany-based sedak (see sidebar on  
left), on how the glass would be pack-  
aged and shipped, unloaded, the equip-  
ment needed and to gain an overall  
understanding of the project. Several  
trips to visit the fabrication facility  
in Germany were made. This allowed  
them to see not only the production of  
the glass, but also how it was handled,  
packaged and transported.  
Sedak designs its own wooden crates for shipping, and makes sure that  
height and weight restrictions for the shipping company are matched  
when they are packed.  
From Point A to Point B  
Transporting jumbo-sized glass from  
Germany to Utah isn’t a simple task.  
This, too, requires a lot of planning and  
coordination to ensure the shipment ar-  
rives on time and free of damage.  
From Here to There: Fabricating,  
Handling & Transporting Jumbo Glass  
Currently, the largest fabricated glass in the world is made in Europe by  
the German company sedak. Before transporting and shipping to the contract  
glazier, the jumbo units must move--throughout the factory, and onto trucks,  
boats and possibly other means of transport before reaching the jobsite. For  
this purpose, sedak built a semi-automatic transport and storage rack system.  
Glass packaging is a major  
consideration.  
“Because the glass was too large to  
fit into standard high-cube ocean con-  
tainers, the manufacturer modified  
open-top containers, adding 2 feet to  
accommodate the glass,” Jackson says.  
Once crated, the glass was loaded on  
to a barge for transport by river to a  
seaport,where it was loaded on a cargo  
ship for the transatlantic shipment to  
New York City and then transported  
via rail to Salt Lake City.  
“In order to protect the glass and  
keep it clean and pristine until delivery  
to the jobsite, we rented a warehouse  
with an overhead crane where we un-  
loaded and stored one dozen contain-  
ers of glass,” says Jackson. “Careful  
consideration and planning went into  
finding the proper location where we  
could back the oversized loads through  
the overhead door and under the over-  
head crane to unload. We engineered  
and built custom steel racks to store  
the glass. We received and staged 90  
percent of the glass in that warehouse  
before [installation] began.”  
At some areas it’s handled fully automatically and only on a few stations  
is the glass] supported manually with special suction cups,” says Rana Far-  
man, a sedak project manager.  
We decided to design and build our own wooden crates, based on design  
[
and size of the pieces,” she says, explaining that when the logistics depart-  
ment packs the crates they make sure that height and weight restrictions  
for the shipping company are matched. She says crates are only used when  
the glass leaves their facility. The glass may be stored on an A-frame inside  
a wooden crate or, if necessary, within an open-top container.  
When it comes to shipping, the company has developed its own system to  
make sure that all pieces, whether regular or oversize, arrive on site without  
any interruptions or cracks. Farman says each piece of glass and each proj-  
ect is different so each needs different packaging.  
“The sedak truck will deliver it to the harbor or airport, depending on which  
freight option was chosen by the client,” she says, adding that in the U.S. it  
might be transported on a flatbed truck to ensure it meets height restrictions.  
In collaboration with a freight forwarder and the airport/harbor facility, the  
crates are moved out of the containers/planes with special lifting devices,”  
says Farman. “Due to the weight and height, most of the time sea freight is  
the only option.” One exception, she says, are glass fins with an overall length  
up to 15 meters (49.2 feet).  
Glass over 40 feet is delivered in wooden crates from “roll-on-roll-off ships”  
with MAFI trailers. She says when secured by sedak-attached slings around  
the crates, moving those enormous pieces will be a little easier.  
Jackson says the glass was so large  
they also built a custom trailer for  
transporting the glass to the jobsite.  
It was capable of holding two pieces  
of the 10-by-35-foot glass. Another  
engineering design consideration  
To make sure our clients know what to expect, packing lists including  
each crate piece with overall height and weight are provided before arrival  
on site,” she says.  
If necessary, they will also suggest needed equipment, such as a suction  
cup machine to support overweight pieces.  
For storage, Farman says warehouses should have easy entrance access  
and, preferably, a moving crane system installed.  
continued on page 40  
38  
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Mcontionuvedefromspatgeh38at Matter  
3
Main Considerations When  
was building a trailer to withstand  
high windloads. As Jackson says, “We  
couldn’t have a trailer blow over with  
the glass on it.”  
And when it came to getting the glass  
from the warehouse to the jobsite,Jack-  
son says his company even planned for  
the smoothest delivery route.  
Installing Jumbo-Sized Glass  
Having recently completed the jumbo glass installation on 111 Main  
in Salt Lake City, Tom Jackson, president of contract glazier Steel  
Encounters, offers a few best practices for success.  
Have the right equipment.  
Study the drawings and logistics to be sure you  
1
have the right equipment.  
Coordinate, Communicate  
The plan on how to install the glass  
and the type of equipment that would  
be used was something the team  
worked on long before they were ever  
even on the jobsite. Jackson explains  
that due to tight space at the jobsite,  
an early decision was made to use the  
project tower crane located 400 feet  
above the street to install the glass.  
Communicate with the installers.  
Make sure they understand what they’re doing and walk through  
2
the process carefully, even rehearsing it—that’s critical.  
Communication with vendors regarding quality.  
Quality needs to be vetted out thoroughly before  
the glass ships.  
3
“If you have defective glass and you don’t realize it until installation, the  
cost to deal with it can be astronomical,” says Jackson. “It’s worth going  
to the factory and seeing the glass and how it’s packaged, determin-  
ing what’s acceptable and certifying first hand you’re getting what you  
expect to get.  
We also made another unique  
equipment decision because the face of  
the lobby glass wall was inset 5 ½ feet  
from the exterior of the tower above,  
which required a custom motorized  
counterbalanced jib to push the glass  
“We brought members of our [field senior project manager, who facilitated  
into its final location,” he says. “That team] in for a year before starting the the engineering of the heavy glass wall  
early determination of equipment [was installation. They made the plans for and the team’s planning efforts; Chad  
necessary for] getting specifications to how to unload the glass, where to store Johnson, superintendent, who was di-  
the manufacturer.”  
it [and] what kind of equipment was rectly over all field aspects of the project;  
Steel Encounters worked with equip- needed,” says Jackson.“[On site], every Dave Olsen, estimator, who facilitated  
ment supplier Heavy Drive, also based day before they set the glass they had a the procurement of the custom power  
in Germany, for several unique pieces team meeting to plan every step of what cups and counterweight, even flying to  
of equipment. These included the they would do.I’m amazed by these gla- Germany to visit Heavy Drive, review  
motorized counterweight as well as ziers. These guys were astonishing.”  
their capabilities and negotiate the pur-  
chase of the custom equipment; Brad  
Ney, foreman, who quarterbacked the  
From working with a glass supplier installation crew; and Tim Hall, fore-  
a bi-directional rotating fin cup used  
to pick up a fin, turn it vertically, then Overcoming the What Ifs  
turn 90 degrees, float into the building  
and set in place. A rotating jumbo cup more than 5,000 miles away to the man,who was in charge of maintaining  
was used to set the big base plates. overall jobsite challenges, there’s a lot and operating the power cups and coun-  
Being new to the equipment, the in- to learn when it comes to jumbo-sized terweight system.  
stallation team had an opportunity to glass. What if the glass breaks in tran-  
Jackson also praised the SOM team.  
“Lisa Fullman, Keith Boswell, Peter  
Construction schedules are already tight Lee and Steve Sobel are absolutely  
practice with it before beginning on the sit? What if there is a fabrication delay?  
jobsite.  
Sedak had a customer in Palo Alto, and it can be costly in terms of both time brilliant and inspiring to work with,”  
Calif., that needed assistance installing and money if something goes wrong. he says.“They’re amazing and had the  
oversized glass into a house. This gave According to Jackson, a well-thought- courage to take this risk and design  
Steel Encounters an opportunity for a out plan can ease those concerns.  
dry run. The equipment was trucked “There is a level of concern associ-  
to the jobsite, while six glaziers flew to ated with the unknown, but there was  
California for a practice installation.  
so much careful planning and such care  
something like this.” n  
E l l e n R o g e r s is  
The team installed insulating glass in working with Sedak … that I never  
units that measured 8 feet 6 inches by lost a night’s sleep, not even during in-  
stallation,” says Jackson, who stresses  
the editor of USGlass  
magazine. Follow  
her on Twitter @  
EllenGRogers and like  
her on Facebook at  
usgellenrogers to receive updates.  
3
2 feet 7 inches.  
It was great practice,” says Jackson, the efforts of the team involved.“Great  
explaining the entire project’s success is people put this together.”  
a result of the installation team’s efforts.  
Those on the job included Dan Painter,  
40  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | March 2017  
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