Forward Thinking: IUPAT Works to Equip Future Glaziers with Project Management Skills

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) hosted a late summer Coatings and Glazing Forum at its headquarters in Hanover, Md. The group’s focus was on equipping glaziers with tools to be successful. IUPAT has hosted regional events before, but this was its first on a national level.

The North American Contractor Certification (NACC) program, managed by Administrative Management Systems Inc. (AMS), was a discussion topic. Jeff Dalaba, NACC program administrator and program development director with AMS, said companies are implementing standardized systems by choosing to become certified. He discussed the importance of quality management systems and a quality manager to ensure follow-through. He also said it’s crucial to find the root cause of a problem.

NACC contract glaziers in attendance agreed the program helped them rebuild their project management processes from the ground up.

“When we joined, we started from the person who answers the phones all the way up,” said Jeff Willett, president of Woodbridge Glass.

For example, having a problem in the field is time-consuming and costs money. “Decide to do all the testing before you get in the field,” Dalaba said. “You’re only installing once.”

NACC technical director Ben Beeler talked about how companies don’t always set expectations. “The NACC requires these to be set,” he said. “You have to measure quality. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Attendees also toured the training facility during a lunch break, and Matt Fox, a specialist at International Finishing Trades Institute, pointed out many of the available tools. These include oculus technology and a virtual welder, which helps excite high school students about a glazing career path. The facility has 10 welding booths, and students can get certified and practice attaching curtainwall systems. “We want to make sure our workforce is the most skilled,” Fox said. “And every glass job is different, so continuing education is important.”

IUPAT general president Jim Williams said the event was a way to introduce the group and welcome attendees to its national training center. “If we can put your best together, we can accomplish great things for working people,” he said.

IUPAT ended the day with a panel discussion devoted to workforce development. Representatives from the Department of Labor, Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency participated.

“Workers are leaving because they are looking for better [jobs],” said Kaitlan Walker Mooney, representing the Good Jobs Initiative. The group talked about efforts such as bringing more women into the trades and ensuring “we are not leaving anyone behind.”

Wood’s Powr-Grip Designs Lifter with 5,300 Pound Load Capacity

As the size of glass increases, so do the machines that handle those large lites. This trend led Wood’s Powr-Grip Co. Inc. (WPG), a Laurel, Mont.-based manufacturer of vacuum lifting tools and equipment, to build a mammoth curved glass lifter with a capacity of 5,300 pounds.

The new lifter has a wingspan of up to 20 feet, is roughly 10 feet long and stands over 6 feet tall. It lifts glass with a minimum radius of 50 inches and is the company’s largest capacity vacuum lifter.

“The end customer, Christopher Glass, for this particular job contacted us around a year ago or more and had asked us to quote a custom lifter for these pieces,” says Ross King, WPG sales manager. “The practicality of owning the unit was not in the cards for them for such occasional use. Christopher Glass had previously worked with Great Lakes Lifting Solutions, so they approached them for a solution. Great Lakes ordered this lifter to provide a solution for this customer and to use in their lease fleet for future jumbo capacity installations.”

Glass sizes will continue to grow as architects and clients strive to build bigger, better, more visually striking buildings. As that occurs, WPG and other manufacturers will be on the front lines designing machines to accommodate the larger lites of glass.

“We are getting more requests than before, but these very large pieces are still an exception,” King says. “With the smaller labor force, there will likely be a trend to produce larger curtainwall assemblies, which will require larger lifters to install.”

LGD Becomes the First NACC Glazier in the San Diego Region

Long Glazing and Doors Inc. (LGD) has earned North American Contractor Certification (NACC). LGD, a family-owned commercial glazing contractor based in El Cajon, Calif., is the first in the San Diego region, 10th in California and 54th in the country to earn the certification.

“We’re a young company striving to be the best and continually trying to find ways to set ourselves apart from our competitors,” says Michael Mims, LGD’s project manager and safety director. “We equated NACC to a building project; we wanted to build a strong foundation for the future.”

LGD worked with NACC program administrators for more than six months to streamline and strengthen processes to deliver safe and high-quality projects. LGD will be evaluated annually to confirm that its business and glazing practices remain at the highest standards.

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