Contract Glaziers Speak Out: Keeping Jobsites Clean Pays

by Peggy Georgi

Glaziers site plenty of reasons to keep their work sites picked up: safety, good customer service, reputation, repeat business and reducing liability. General contractors don't want to clean up a leftover mess and if they do, they'll assess a back charge. Glazing can be a messy job but most glaziers agree that it pays to keep it clean during and at the end of each project.

"If we make a mess we clean it up," says Ervin Martin, president of Hub City Glass & Mirror, in Elizabethtown, Ky. "We don't have it any other way. Things can get pretty messy during the course of a project, but our glaziers know that their job isn't complete until the site has been cleaned. The way a glazier leaves his jobsite speaks volumes about his work and company. We've been in business since 1977 and we take a great deal of pride in how we start and finish each and every job."

Joe Henderson, the project manager for Décor Glassworks in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., agrees. He says his glaziers are extremely diligent about the condition of their worksites. "As far as we are concerned, maintaining a clean and safe worksite is a big deal," Henderson explains, "How you work and the condition of your worksite says a lot about you and your company. It provides visual exposure to the integrity of your shop. Keeping your worksite neat and free of potential hazards helps protect your glaziers, others who work at or pass through the jobsite and reduces your liability."

"At Central Indiana Glass & Glazing in Lafayette, Ind., keeping our worksite picked up and clean extends beyond just aesthetics," explains Steve Julian, project manager. "It's about maintaining a safe work area as well. With representatives from a number a trades all working in the same area on any given project on any given day, it's important to keep track of how the site is maintained--while we work and at the end of the day. We police as we go to keep tools, cords and other equipment out of the way. We clean off excess caulking, sweep up debris and try to keep the area as neat and presentable as possible."

In Merrimack Valley, Mass., Chris Falardeau, a glazier with City Mirror & Glass Co., says he doesn't have an issue with keeping sites clean.

"Our practice is to leave the site cleaner than we found it," said Falardeau, a ten-year veteran glazier who services both the residential and commercial market. "On occasion we will come across a situation where we may have to move a few things at a residential location to get to the job. Generally, however, the site [commercial or residential] is expected to be accessible and ready for us to get to work when we arrive and we are expected to clean it up when we are done."

"Cleaning up after our work is an important part of our business operations," adds Karen Umana, manager for Alfa Glass & Mirror, a small, family-owned glazing contractor who services Fairfax and Prince William Counties in Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C., area. "A part of our glaziers' 'tools of the trade' includes an assortment of cleaning supplies. "Most of our work is from referrals and our customers appreciate the fact that we don't leave behind a mess."

"I've gone in to clean up a site after another company has been thrown out," adds Henderson, backed by four decades of experience in the field. "If you are sloppy on the job, it's an indicator that you are sloppy in other aspects of your work, too. Some glaziers are very messy and some just don't care. For us, [being messy] it's unacceptable."

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