field operations

Glass and Glazing Contractor’s Guide to Managing Field Operations

Chances are that you see the work that glaziers do on a daily basis, even if you’re not aware of it. From the windows you see on skyscrapers to the display glass on your favorite storefront, none of this comes together without the work of glaziers. However, many laymen, and even contractors in other industries, aren’t fully aware of the work that glaziers do. Here’s a closer look at the different aspects of being a glazier and how existing glaziers can improve and refine their businesses/field operations.

 

glazier

Photo by Dmitry Kalinovsky

What Is A Glazier?

What is glazing exactly? A glazier is a trade professional that works with glass and substitutes for glass. This includes cutting the glass into appropriate shapes, as well as installing and removing it as needed. The work that glaziers do can take a variety of different forms, including:

 

Windows

Displays

Storefronts

Skylights

Doors

Sashes

Moldings

 

glass

Photo by fanjianhua

 

There are other responsibilities that a glazier has as a part of their job as well. For example, glaziers are tasked with choosing the ideal materials for each job and properly interpreting blueprints, like other construction professionals. In addition, there are other aspects of their work besides the actual glass installation that they are responsible for. For example, a glazier is responsible for transporting all necessary materials to a job site, as well as installing frameworks for structures like doors or windows. They also need to lift and secure their glass structures with items like cement, screws, and putty.

 

Most glaziers tend to specialize in a certain niche of buildings. For example, a residential glazier would focus on things like household doors, mirrors, and windows. By comparison, an indoor commercial glazier would work with security windows or room dividers. And of course, we have the curtain walls and glass panels that come with large-scale commercial structures. Each of these requires different equipment and materials, which is why you don’t see a lot of crossover.

 

steps to become glazier

Photo by Yuriy Golub

 

Say that this sounds like a job you’re interested in, and you want to become a glazier yourself. Qualification is relatively simple.

 

Step 1:

Earn your diploma/GED. You’re not required to get a college degree, but having one in an appropriate major may improve your resume.

 

Step 2:

Have an apprenticeship. This is the most important step in the process. Generally, an apprenticeship entails you working alongside a professional glazier over the course of four years at around 2,000 hours a year. Some programs combine this with classroom instruction. You can get an apprenticeship by working with a union, contractor, or technical school.

 

Step 3:

Get a certification or glass and glazing contractors license

 

Getting some form of professional qualification will increase your chance of getting a job, and in some states, it is mandatory. This can be done through qualifying for a course and passing an exam or getting your certification. You can get certified via a professional organization to qualify for entry-level positions.

 

cut glass

Photo by noprati somchit

How To Improve Field Operations as a Glazer

 

Being a glazier, just like any other construction field, is a constant process of trying to be more efficient. However, this task is often easier said than done. Developing your field operations is a constant balancing act between keeping your logistics and finances under control. Here’s some solid starting information on how you can improve. 

 

Cut down on paper

Many smaller operations may still be using paper methods in order to cut down on tech expenses or simply because they are able to keep a formal record. However, even if you’re organized, paper still presents a lot of issues. Paper records are a lot easier to lose, damage, or destroy. Even if there isn’t an acute issue, you still can’t access that information while out on a job site. This means that something simple, like checking a blueprint or a past order, can become a time-consuming task requiring extra work done on the site and at the office. Going electronic is something that every glazier should consider as the tech gets more accessible.

 

Solicit feedback

There’s always going to be a bit of a divide between the teams in the offices and on-site, and that’s okay. What you want to do is make sure each team has the chance to share their experiences and issues. By opening things up for feedback, you can create logistical changes that benefit everyone.

 

Further communication:

Whether it’s through mobile devices or scheduled check-ins, the more communication you can provide between your different teams, the easier it is for everyone to work towards the same goals. 

 

Always analyze and iterate:

Finally, just because something is working well for you now doesn’t mean that you can’t improve on it. Take a look at how long it takes you to complete certain tasks and jobs, and what exactly the factors are that are slowing you down. This may present opportunities for you to change your practices or implement new technology. On the other side of things, you also want to make sure quality stays consistent during these changes.

 

glass field operations

photo by yampi

 

Final Thoughts on Field Operations

Managing field operations is difficult for any contractor, but especially for a specialized subset like a glazier. There may not be as many industry resources out there for you to learn from and it’s essential that you are smart with your money and planning to appease your smaller client pool.

 

One of the best assets you can get early on as a glazier is project management software, like eSUB. Keep all your relevant information stored in one data set in order to ensure that your teams are working on the same page. Use accounting software to make sure that your business is financially healthy. Get daily reports to make sure your team is doing their jobs on a regular basis. Our platform offers all this and more in a modular format, so you only buy what you need. 

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