Glaziers Speak Out: Big Building Boom
It's high times for professionals in the architectural glass and
glazing industry. A more than yearlong boom in big building projects,
especially in the high-rise residential market, is changing skyscapes
in cities across the country and keeping glazing subcontractors
and fabricators plenty busy.
"Big buildings are booming in our area," says Jeff Haber,
one of four managing partners of the Nanuet, NY-based W & W
Glass, LLC, the largest glass and glazing subcontractor in New York
and one of the largest in the U.S. "There is still an insatiable
demand for all glass towers, specifically residential condos in
our area. There is a slowdown in some cities but not here. Last
year at this time, the quantity of projects was plentiful but the
quality wasn't there. Now, the quantity is less but the projects
are of a higher quality which makes for a better situation."
Arthur Berkowitz, president of J.E. Berkowitz LLP in Westville,
N.J., also sees growth in this area. "Over the past several
years, with the improving commercial/architectural markets, we have
seen a significant amount of demand for our IG-coated glass products,
for larger/monumental projects, that we define as being in excess
of 100,000 square feet" he says. "To handle them successfully,
it requires a combination of in-house personnel, experienced in
architectural promotion, project managment, technical services,
and quality assurance, along with the fabrication capacity, especially
challenging in both IG, and heat-treating. In addition, our focus
on higher quality standards, particularly in heat treating optics,
and flatness, allows us to meet or exceed the critical tolerances
and specifications associated with projects of this magnitude."
The story is the same along the West coast. "We're very busy
with large building projects across the country and especially here
in our West Coast Region," says Mike McConnell, manager preconstruction
services, from Enclos Corporation's Pleasanton, CA office. For Enclos,
one of the largest and most respected curtainwall and glazing specialty
subcontractors in North America, they are in their element with
high-end, large unitized curtainwall projects.
"This has always been our niche and primary focus," continues
McConnell. "The cyclical nature of the industry definitely
changed in the last year or so. This year the high-rise residential
market has really taken off and is keeping us very busy. The office
building market slowed due to vacancy rates, but expect it to rebound
in the near future."
"In the meantime," McConnell adds, " we'll continue
to step up to the challenges brought about by a healthy boom in
the market and do what we do best."
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