Volume 38, Issue 7, July 2003
Conference for Project Managers Offers Opportunities for Old and New Contract Glaziers
by Ellen Giard Chilcoat
Where can a novice glazing contractor go to learn all the ins and outs of the trade? The same place a veteran glazier can head to stay ahead of the game by learning fresh ideas and the latest trends. The young and old alike joined forces May 15-17 when the Glass Association of North America (GANA) hosted its 2003 Project Managers Educational Conference. The annual event took place at the Hyatt Regency Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, and nearly 60 individuals took part.
Providing attendees an opportunity to step inside the operations of Akzo Nobel Coatings Inc., a manufacturer of architectural coil and spray coatings, a tour was offered on the afternoon of day one. Akzo Nobel operates in a 250,000-square-foot facility on 12 acres where it manufacturers approximately 5 million gallons of coatings. While approximately 200 people are employed in Columbus, the company has approximately 68,000 employees worldwide. Tour participants were able to witness complete coatings production, beginning in the company’s technology lab and development stages through to complete goods and warehousing.
On day two conference attendees were welcomed by Andy Gum, who serves as president of GANA’s Building Envelope contractors (BEC) division, when he is not running Columbus-based Thomas Glass Co. He noted that the BEC division was a growing organization, and added that the division’s Blueprint Reading and Estimating course would be available soon.
The first of the day’s presentations, “The First X Days of a Project,” was a humorous one, lead by Jerry Walters of Toledo Glass, Andy Gull of Model Glass Co. and Bill Sullivan of Heartland Glass Co. The three performed a skit that portrayed typical problems encountered during project stages. Stages covered included the following:
• The kick-off meeting: Cover the scope of the project, sales budget and material labor, contract review and a review of the schedule;
• Budget review: Include cash flow and vendor selection;
• Submittals: Include shop drawings, samples, schedule of values, the glazing contratcor’s project schedule, a safety policy and program, a MSDS sheet and a certificate of insurance;
• On the job site: Meet key personnel, be proactive with the contractor and other trades and have a site access “plan of attack;” and
• The field kick-off meeting: Set goals, begin a production report, review equipment, conduct field material staging and cover field-staffing requirements.
From Software to Curtainwall
Jeff Burmeister of Constructware next spoke on project management software. The Constructware software, he explained, is designed to help improve documentation, which, in turn, will led to increased productivity.
“The market is making us manage differently,” said Burmeister. “The market is forcing us to become specific on documents so as to minimize risk.”
According to Burmeister the software provides a means of centralized data and includes benefits such as easy access, accountability, uniformity and more.
The next presentation came from Kirk Osgood of Curtain Wall Design and Consulting Inc. (CDC), who discussed curtainwall interfacing challenges. He was followed by Jim Stewart of Tremco whose presentation covered commercial glazing terminology and systems.
Discussing the role of sunshades in today’s building envelope, Eddie Bugg of Kawneer led the next presentation. He explained that in addition to trends such as impact-resistant products and a resurgence of pre-glazed, unitized systems, the industry is also seeing a lot of sunshades and variations of sunshades.
“Benefits of sunshades include unique aesthetics, a restriction in occupant participant glare, reduced solar heat gain and the allowance of more glazing options.”
General contractor Steve Laux of Gilbane Building Co. and architect Paul Jaros of FJM Architects next presented on what makes a good glazing contractor.
“We’re looking for [you] to help us achieve our goals,” said Laux. “We’re looking for advice … we’re looking for you to help and give us input during the design phase.”
Jaros stressed the importance of communication.
“It’s the most important thing,” he said. For specs and drawings, for example, he said. “If you see something wrong, tell us about it. Take the time to really look at the job.”
Leadership and Documentation
A discussion on design build leadership (not construction) followed from Mike Foti of Leadership Builders and Cleveland Glass Block. The presentation’s focus centered on designing relationships for excellent results.
"The biggest keys to making money are communication, time management, efficiencies, relationships and productivity,” Foti said. “All have one common denominator: people.”
He continued, “It’s more important today than ever to collaborate and cooperate with others … and the number one problem with collaboration and cooperation is me, myself and I.” He encouraged those in attendance to try and focus more on the team. “As a leader,” he said. “Don’t suck in the spotlight, but reflect it.”
The day’s final presentation came from Don Gregory of the American Subcontractors Association who spoke on proper documentation. His advice included maintaining a superior position on paperwork, being claims oriented and getting a decent contract that establishes the rules of the game.
“Good documentation makes good business sense,” said Gregory.
Learning from Others
You might say it’s become an annual tradition, but the focus group presentation segment tends to be one from which attendees truly benefit, as they are learning from their peers. The presentations kicked off the final day’s session. The day before during lunch, each table was given a question to discuss and then prepare a short presentation. Questions varied and covered topics relevant to the contract glazing industry. The following questions/topics were discussed:
1. What does “backcharge” mean to you?
2. When is it OK to deviate from the installation instructions or shop drawing details?
3. Knowing your contract for protection of material in storage/on the jobsite.
4. How much of a change in your durations for installation and re-sequence of installation can occur before you are entitled to ask for additional money?
5. What do you do when the architectural/structural/electrical/etc. drawings are not coordinated? and
6. What should your sealant supplier do for you?
Concluding the day’s activities, were presentations from Mike Scanlon of EPG and CDC’s Kirk Osgood, who stepped up at the last minute when Mark Dugo of Dor-O-Matic Inc. was unable to attend.
Scanlon’s presentation focused on glazing gasket specifications. Osgood’s was a case study titled “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.”
Issues and Concerns
Many of those attending the conference agreed: the program offered the topics and concerns
that glazing contractors need and want to learn more about.
“I’ve learned that I’m not alone. [My] issues and concerns are all nationwide,” said Scott Harash of Anco Inc. in Davidsonville, Md. “It’s all good information that we all need to hear.”
Tim Gardner of Architectural Wall Solutions Inc. of Bollingbrook, Ill., with just under two year’s experience in the industry, said the program was excellent.
“Being that I’m young, it’s good for me to be here and learn,” Gardner said. “It’s beneficial to be around older project managers (those with more than ten years experience), who can offer their insight into the industry.”
At press time, dates and a location for the 2004 Project Manager’s Educational Conference had not yet been announced.
Ellen Giard Chilcoat is editor of USGlass magazine.
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