Material Matters: What You Need to Know for Successful Product Selection

By Nataline Lomedico

Like every part of the construction process, selecting and installing materials is more complex than it might appear. A high degree of thought, experience, knowledge, and skill is required to ensure the project in question is built for durability, longevity, and aesthetic value.

A Unique Approach

When submitting a bid proposal, estimators look at the building plans and specs and assess which materials will be required for the job, and from which manufacturer they’ll be sourced. In larger commercial projects, the preferred manufacturer is usually specified, but in luxury residential or retail projects, contract glaziers may find they have more flexibility to select a manufacturer. In some cases, such as design assist or design build, which are more collaborative, the contract glazier might actively consult on which materials to use, and can choose the preferred supplier. In these cases, the selection often comes down to relationships. While there are countless manufacturers creating excellent glass and glazing materials, many companies, including ours, have developed longstanding, ongoing professional relationships with a select few.

Once a bid proposal has been accepted, contract glaziers can get more concrete about which vendors and materials to use. Perhaps a storefront window is too large to support its surrounding structure, or maybe the architect’s plans left out fire-rated glass where the state requires it. It’s the contract glazier’s job to identify these issues before ordering materials, to prevent bigger problems later.

When it’s time to order materials, it’s essential to also consider lead times and how they’ll affect scheduling and sequencing, especially for installations that are more intricate or customized. Project managers and superintendents should work together to make sure the project schedule is aligned with the material deliveries.

Attention to Detail

Finally, be meticulous with material assembly and follow manufacturers’ directions to the letter prior to installation. This ensures the work is built not only to last, but also to maintain the material’s warranty.

Our team holds internal “pre-activity” meetings and overviews everything from scheduling to assembly technique, to delegation of responsibilities. Having experienced people you can count on is perhaps the greatest guarantee of quality performance for any company.

Nataline Lomedico is the president and CEO of Giroux Glass, headquartered in Los Angeles. The company has been in business since 1946.

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