To Keep Jobsites Protected From Metal Theft
The contract glazing community is faced with many challenges, such
as timely payments, labor shortages and price increases. Aside from
these concerns, the scrap metal business is booming, and with that
a number of construction sites have fallen victim to aluminum theft.
On August 15 the London Metals Exchange reported the cost of aluminum
to be more than $2700/ton. With these high prices, some contract
glaziers have been had to find ways to ward off thieves from stealing
aluminum curtainwall and other aluminum products available on jobsites.
Roger Grant Jr., president of Atascadero Glass in Atascadero, Calif.,
says he has seen metal theft as an issue for his company, as well
"Our only loss has been in the last month, where some brake
metal was taken from a jobsite," he says. "When I worked
in Sacramento as a glazier, we did have a significant problem with
this. I have a brother-in-law who runs a very large electrical contracting
business in Sacramento, and they have experienced everything from
minor theft to the use of bull-dozers to drag off Seatrain/Connex
According to John Shum, vice president of operations at Sierra
Glass & Mirror in Las Vegas, aluminum theft is definitely a
problem for some jobsites, but for the most part his company has
not had too many troubles with it.
"Here in Las Vegas most of our jobsites are casinos and the
owners provide very good security, so we don't see much theft on
those," says Shum. "But when we do jobs on other site,
we can't leave any valuables on the site; aluminum disappears."
Aluminum theft, though, is not a new problem for contract glaziers.
However, some jobsites are more susceptible than others. According
to Catherine Best with Benson Industries in Portland, Ore., stick-built
projects compared more likely to fall victim than a unitized project.
"With stick-built there are a lot of loose parts and pieces
on the site, but with unitized most everything is already assembled
in the shop so there aren't as many pieces lying around," she
says, explaining that since her company does primarily unitized
work they have not had to face such problems.
But contract glaziers still follow measures in order to protect
their jobsites and their materials.
Andrew Gum, president of Thomas Glass Co. in Columbus, Ohio, says
there are two steps his company takes to combat theft.
"We deliver our frames daily and install them that day and
we utilize storage trailers and cans on site that are lockable,"
says Gum, who adds, "We mandate that all of our aluminum frames
and panels are not to be left loose under any circumstance."
"The way we combat theft, is to not leave frames on the job
unglazed," agrees Grant. "If we deliver metal, we install
the frames and glaze them as soon as possible. This also frees up
the site for the general contractor and minimizes damage to material.
It does result in an increased logistical burden, but we think the
gains are worth the cost."
"If the site has no security, we do not store anything on
site that's not unitized or in a frame," says Shum, who adds
that the price of aluminum is pretty high right now and there are
people out there who will steal most anything to make a buck.
Need more info and analysis about the issues?
HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.