All Hands on Deck

Successful Project Design and Delivery Call for Collaboration

I’ve worked in this industry for decades, and it still never ceases to amaze me how construction projects come together. The degree of planning, communication and cooperation required to erect a building is so extreme that it’s a wonder anything gets built at all. But somehow, our trade is able to consistently create stable, functional, safe and often beautiful structures.

All hands on deck

Making it Work

Each component of a construction project, from the architect’s plans to the contractor’s oversight, to the individual contributions of each subcontractor and supplier, must be executed with the high- est degree of competence and communica- tion. In order for a building to come togeth- er successfully, all parties involved must work together to combine the best of their knowledge, expertise and energy in service of the given task.

One of the most concrete examples of this type of collaboration is the design-build process. This is something we offer to cli- ents under the term “preconstruction ser- vices.” Prior to formal bid submittal, we periodically are asked to provide insights, suggestions and specialized plans pertain- ing to complex glazing projects. These proj- ects usually involve work that’s required to meet specific health and safety standards, work that must comply with specialized code, or any glazing that requires a high de- gree of detail and precision. In this process, you’re essentially acting as glazing consul- tants, looking at plans to determine what’s needed, what’s been overlooked, and what you can help provide.

Design-build/assist is the fastest-grow- ing delivery method in our industry, rep- resenting almost half of our nation’s con- struction projects. FMI predicts that design build will grow 18% this year. For this rea- son, it’s imperative that as an industry we train and educate our teams to excel in this specialty.

It Starts with Your Team

While companies can coordinate and work with outside parties on these projects, having the ability to provide these services is a product of the collective knowledge, experience and communication demon- strated within a contract glazing compa- ny’s own team. Meeting the engineering and aesthetic standards established by clients calls for all hands on deck. Estimators, superintendents, field foremen, CAD engineers, project managers and oth- ers combine their expertise and resources to find efficient solutions to problems non-glaziers would not be able to predict. The result is a streamlined approach to the project that avoids costly and time-con- suming revisions to the construction. The more proactive we are at communicating, identifying issues, and bringing multiple solutions to the table, the more we set our- selves apart and keep the focus on value in the eyes of our clients.

Everyone’s All In

Every individual on your team has an es- sential role at every level of the construc- tion process. Each person brings important contributions to the work based on their own skills, interests, thought processes and awareness. No one person can build a functioning building alone. But each indi- vidual’s full participation makes an enor- mous impact on the end result. When we each bring our unique capabilities to the conversation, when we respect and coop- erate with one another, there’s no limit to what can be achieved.

The glazing industry has the responsibility to continually groom the next generation. As we take each step learning from the young and sharing from the old, we open the gates to unbelievable innovation.

This article originally appeared in USGlass magazine, volume 56, Issue 2, February 2021