Volume 43, Issue 10 - October 2008
The scrap metal business is booming, and as a result a number of construction sites have fallen victim to aluminum theft. On September 18 the London Metals Exchange reported the cost of aluminum to be more than $2400 USD/ton. With these high prices, some contract glaziers have been had to find ways to ward off thieves from stealing aluminum products available on jobsites.
Roger Grant Jr., president of Atascadero Glass in Atascadero, Calif., says he has seen metal theft as an issue for his company, as well as others.
“Our only loss has been in the last month, where some brake metal was taken from a jobsite,” he says. He adds, “When I worked in Sacramento as a glazier, we did have a significant problem with this. I have a brother-in-law who runs a very large electrical contracting business in Sacramento, and he has experienced everything from minor theft to the use of bulldozers to drag off Seatrain/Connex containers.”
John Shum, vice president of operations at Sierra Glass & Mirror in Las Vegas, has seen aluminum theft on jobsites.
“Here in Las Vegas most of our jobsites are casinos and the owners provide very good security, so we don’t see much theft on those,” says Shum. “But when we do jobs on other sites, we can’t leave any valuables on the site; aluminum disappears.”
Some jobsites are more susceptible than others, according to Catherine Best with Benson Industries in Portland, Ore. “With stick-built there are a lot of loose parts and pieces on the site, but with unitized most everything is already assembled in the shop so there aren’t as many pieces lying around,” she says.
But contract glaziers still follow measures in order to protect their jobsites and their materials. Andrew Gum, president of Thomas Glass Co. in Columbus, Ohio, says there are two steps his company takes to combat theft.
“We deliver our frames daily and install them that day and we utilize storage trailers and cans onsite that are lockable,” says Gum. He adds, “We mandate that all of our aluminum frames and panels are not to be left loose under any circumstance.”
“The way we combat theft, is to not leave frames on the job unglazed,” agrees Grant. “If we deliver metal, we install the frames and glaze them as soon as possible. This also frees up the site for the general contractor and minimizes damage to material. It does result in an increased logistical burden, but we think the gains are worth the cost.”
Bert Lee, president, explains that the company is working to remodel an older building, previously used as a transfer terminal for the trucking industry, and the new headquarters will in short order serve as a showcase of the company’s products and services.
“The building just does not show very well, but when we’re done it’s going to be a four-sided glass and composite building,” Lee says.
The additions will use only the products offered by Cherokee Glass.
In addition to providing an aesthetic façade, the new facility more than doubles the amount of space available to the company. ❙❙➤ www.cherokeeglass.net