How to Choose a Fabricator
With hundreds of glass fabricators out there, how do you choose the right one for your home build or renovation?
You’ve got the architect, building and window framing companies organised for your new build or home renovation project: now you need a glass fabricator. But with hundreds of providers out there, how do you choose?
A glass fabricator or glazier is the person responsible for measuring, cutting and installing your glass. The process involves meticulous attention to detail and accuracy, so it’s something you need done correctly. Finding a fabricator for your project comes down to assessing the important criteria and conducting some easy background research.
First stop: recommendations
A personal recommendation from a friend or colleague is a great place to start. Knowing someone you trust has had a positive experience will give you confidence and let the fabricator know you have high expectations. Ask about the fabricator’s performance on the job, in particular:
- Did they meet project deadlines?
- How was their communication?
- Did you have to chase them up?
- Were there any issues?
- What was their after sales service like?
- Would you use them again?
If you can’t get a personal recommendation, you can narrow down the field by searching online reviews or testimonials. While it is important to read such information with caution, it is still useful to give an overall impression of the type of experience people have had.
From this research, you will hopefully have a short list of companies that have stood out as providing good service. Now it’s time to narrow down the field.
Experience and qualifications
How long a firm has been in business can be a good indicator of quality and repeat business. You should be able to find out most of this information from the firm’s website. Look for examples of projects similar to yours, preferably in your area, and check out their photo gallery to view recently completed projects.
The qualifications required to be held by glaziers varies from state to state. For example, in NSW the Department of Fair Trading specifies that glaziers need to hold a glass and glazing qualification and a license. In Queensland, the Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) regulates the licensing of contractors and requires glaziers to hold a trade contractor licence specifying the type of work they do if the value of the work exceeds $3000.
The key industry body for glaziers is the Australian Window Association (AWA), which includes more than 600 members from window manufacturing and industry suppliers across Australia. It is responsible for providing industry-specific training and ensuring members retain high levels of competency and keeping them up to date on the latest regulatory requirements and standards.
Members manufacture products which comply with the relevant Australian Standards and which have been verified using NATA accredited testing laboratories. They ensure their products are accurately labelled with the wind pressure and water penetration requirements of AS2047 and are subject to annual testing and annual NATA inspections.
Members also guarantee their workmanship and materials against for 6 years, subject to correct installation and product maintenance. Selecting a fabricator who is an AWA member reduces the risks of installing an inappropriate product. You can check if a fabricator is a member of AWA on their website.
Having conducted background research the final step is to talk to the firms directly and find out about timing. Contact your top two or three choices by telephone, ask any unanswered questions and get an indication of timing. The lead time for any project normally starts once you have given approval. Depending on the size of the firm and current workloads, 10 weeks is common, which means making sure you start your search for a fabricator well in advance.
With experience, qualifications, memberships checked, and with availability and lead times confirmed, the final decision will rest on who you think will deliver a professional result, on time and within you budget. If you’ve been through this process, you can have peace of mind that your choice will be the right one.Download the Glass Fabricator Checklist