Volume 43, Issue 11 - November 2008
Is a glass shortage really on its way? According to some primary glass manufacturers the answer is yes (see September 2008 USGlass, page 44). After all, a number of float glass lines were shut down earlier this year, some companies are undergoing scheduled necessary cold repairs and with the uncertainty of what Mother Nature may do (such as the case for PPG’s facility in Wichita Falls, Texas), it’s not hard to see why some may see a glass shortage on its way. However, with all that contract glaziers have to worry about on the job, the potential of a glass shortage does not seem to be high on the list of concerns at this point in time.
Bill Sullivan, president of Heartland Glass in Waite Park, Minn., says his company has not seen any issues concerning a glass shortage.
“We have not experienced any problem procuring any flat glass or fabricated glass products as a result of any shortages in the industry,” says Sullivan. “As a contract glazing company most of our purchases are fabricated products and I think that insulates us somewhat from experiencing any problems obtaining fabricated products.”
A.J. Carr, vice president of Corbin Glass Co. Inc. in Corbin, Ky., says he doesn’t necessarily see so much of a shortage as much as the opportunity for increasing surcharges.
“Raw materials are becoming more expensive, not in less supply. The construction market may be sluggish for a while, which will be good for keeping material costs down, but as the market picks up I see manufacturers charging more for product and using energy costs as a umbrella,” says Carr. “I believe that talk of a glass shortage is more propaganda by manufacturers than an actual problem we would face.”
According to Carr, concerns regarding freight and packaging are bigger issues for contract glaziers.
“Glass haulers, like everyone else, are dealing with extreme fuel costs and that in turn increases the overall per-load cost of the glass product,” Carr says. “It is difficult to bid and compete in this volatile market due to energy costs. To better prepare ourselves we have to be more serious about how we forecast a project in the bidding process. We have to be smarter and more educated on rising fuel costs, hurricanes, natural disasters, even terrorism, than before.”
There are steps contract glaziers can take to try and prepare, be it for a glass shortage, increasing fuel and energy costs or natural disasters. Carr says in order to prepare it’s important for contract glaziers to not under forecast and to be more diligent in making sure estimates are accurate.
“Stay in constant contact with suppliers and keep a finger on the pulse of the market,” says Carr. “If a supplier has an increase coming, it is imperative we know the day it takes effect and get every project protected to the maximum allowed by our suppliers.” -ER
Census Report Shows Median Salary
A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a median salary of $35,500 for glaziers. The report, which was released in August 2008 and is titled the “Income, Earnings and Poverty Data from the 2007 American Community Survey,” shows a margin of error of +/-$972.
Likewise, the report shows a median salary of $42, 4000 for structural iron and steel workers. This has a margin of error of +/- $3,093.
The report is compiled from the American Community Survey, which includes approximately 3 million addresses across the United States and Puerto Rico, and is conducted in every county throughout the nation.
The information was collected between January and December 2007, and those interviewed were asked about income for the previous 12-month period. According to Michele H. Lowe of the U.S. Census Bureaus no differentiation was made between union and non-union workers. The earnings reported are median earnings for full-time, year round civilian workers; because of sample size among glaziers, only median earnings for men are