Volume 38, Issue 9, September 2003
Whose Curtainwall is It?
Considering the current state of commercial building construction, it is an interesting time to ponder the state of the industry. After more than 30 years of working in the construction industry in various capacities and experiences, here are questions for the industry to consider if we are to have a prosperous and long-term success with façade system walls:
• Is it the designer who decides whether the exterior is curtainwall or some other type of skin because of aesthetics or other reasons? Could punched-out windows or window walls be
• Is it the architect who decides on the grid of the building to fit the tenant layout as well as deciding on the aesthetic reasons for the profiles? Is proper glass selection mostly based on HVAC requirements or aesthetics?
• Is it the specification writer who writes a performance spec? Is he dictating the required quality or establishing the owner’s criteria?
• Is it the project manager who value-engineers the wall to the lowest denominator to meet the perceived budget?
• Is it the curtainwall consultant who accepts or rejects the given criteria?
• Is it the general contractor who solicits a design build proposal from a subcontractor?
• Is it the subcontractor who presents a façade proposal that he has purchased from a metal fabricator, an accessories manufacturer and a glass fabricator?
• Is the metal fabricator meeting architectural details and specifications?
• Is it the installer (or glass contractor) who installs the metal and the glass?
• Is it the caulking subcontractor who seals the curtainwall?
What is the owner to expect finally out of the above-mentioned process?
• Who provides warranties on what and for how long?
• From the above players on the façade, who has the owner’s best interest at heart?
• What can the owner expect when one or more of the key players is no longer in business or if the replacement components are no longer available?
• What is a realistic live expectancy of the various components?
Since all participating players hope to make a profit from their involvement, who is making decisions in the foregoing process, such as the following:
• Is a good or bad design based on the metal fabricator’s ease of fabrication and shipping or long-term performance?
• Does the design offer the best and easiest options for maintenance, repair and replacement of glass and other components?
• Has the ease of the field installation and/or field assembly been considered?
• Is the best quality control in field assembly and installation or shop assembly and field installation?
• Why has the industry not established criteria to determine what grade of façade is required in relation to the initial cost of life expectancy?
Just a few questions for the industry to consider.
Peter M. Muller
Peter M. Muller Inc.
As an avid reader, the July 2003 issue really stands out. This is my first letter to you, and I just had to send it. “Survival Tactics” should be read by millions of non-glaziers. I needed this article 30 or so years ago.
Mr. Haley and I must be about the same age. I passed through Texas in 1950 on the way to Korea—that’s the only thing we have in common. His just way of doing things has been my creed for thousands of small jobs—basement windows, storm doors, etc. Back in 1955, after finishing a storm door, jokingly, I’d say this door could sit in a field for 500 years and still be OK to use. I’ll give you a lifetime—mine—guaranteed. It’s been amazing to me how many customers have taken me up on my guarantee.
This is what shines through in the July issue. Glass is the only manmade thing that can be used like it’s new at age 50 or more.
I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard as when I was reading Lyle Hill’s column in the July 2003 issue (see page 84). His sense of humor is impeccable. We need more of that in this crazy business.
We at Burhans Glass are close with the folks at Almond Glass. I’ve known Eric for years and find him to be a gentleman and a scholar, but he asked for it.
Thankfully, like the guys crammed in that boat, I crossed the river to Philadelphia about 12 years ago and never went back.
Burhans Glass Co. Inc.
I won’t say which state I am from, as I did not send Lyle Hill a dollar bill and I’m afraid of the consequences. I grew up in Arlington Heights and thoroughly enjoy his articles and the subtle Midwestern humor through out.
His July article was great—keep it up.
He should hang on to that EFCO dollar; now they owe him $1 less in back charges.
David P. Johnson
Interstate Glass Inc.
© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.