The Twelve Laws – of Contract Glazing

By Lyle R. Hill

On average, two of my articles that appear in this outstanding monthly magazine each year are “repeats” meaning that they have been published previously in this or some other magazine also published by KMR. Sometimes an old article is dusted off and re-run because my weary brain has gone to sleep on me or I just have not had the time to put together anything new. So, if something has not appeared for a few years, it might be re-run. I’ve been told by the publisher that new subscribers are always being added (the magazine has almost tripled in circulation over the past several years), so many readers are seeing a repeated article for the first time. There are also about 12 to 15 articles that people regularly request to have a copy sent or to see re-run. The following is one of those. It’s been slightly modified for this release.


The Law of Consultancy: The length of time an individual has been a consultant is directly proportional to the distance between that person and reality—or the day he was terminated from his last employer.

The First Law of Value Engineering: The profit potential of any given job is inversely proportional to the number of value engineering ideas a given bidder provides.

The Second Law of Value Engineering: The better your value engineering idea, the sooner it will be shared with all of your competitors.

The Law of Architectural Acuteness: The likelihood that an architect knows what he wants is 3 in 100; the likelihood that an architect is able to adequately communicate what he wants is 1 in 100; the likelihood that an architect will blame you when he doesn’t get what he thinks he wanted is 100 in 100.

The Law of Cost Appropriations: The architect’s fee on a given project is inversely proportionate to the quality of the drawings and specifications that he or she will produce for the job.

The Rule of Availability: The greater the architect’s resistance to product substitution, the greater the likelihood that the specified product has been discontinued . . . in many cases for several years.

The Sales Rep Axiom: The likelihood that any insider information or rumor told to you by a sales rep is true is approximately 38.92%. On a day when the rep in question is trying to get an order from you, the rumors are more plentiful and the probability drops to 12.73%.

The Law of Obsolescence: The likelihood that a specified high-performance product has been discontinued is directly proportional to the amount of time and money its manufacturer spent marketing the product in the first place.

The Low-Bid Hypothesis: You will never be told you are the low bidder, even when you are the only bidder.

The Low-Bidder’s Dilemma: Never accept a contract on a job where you were the low bidder unless you were the only bidder.

The Law of Culpability: When a problem of any kind arises on a job of any type or size, the architect will blame the glazing contractor, the general contractor will blame the glazing contractor, the owner’s consultant will blame the glazing contractor and, in an effort to improve his odds of getting paid on the job, the glazing contractor will even blame himself.

The Culpability Corollary: When things go really well on a job, the architect will claim all of the credit, the owner’s consultant will claim all of the credit, and the general contractor will ask the glazing contractor for a price reduction. Thinking that it will somehow speed payments to him; the glazing contractor will apologize for things going so well . . . and cut his price.

Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America, a company providing research and technical services for the glass and metal industry. He also serves as president of, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has more than 40 years’ experience in the glass and metal industry
and can be reached at

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