Spotlight on: Commercial glazing

Spotlight on: Commercial glazing

Commercial glazing maintenance

Despite being one of the most overlooked areas of maintenance, commercial glazing is a core component in businesses’ environmental, economic and safety agendas. Our MD, James Sutherland, recently shared his thoughts on the industry with Clearview and looked into why companies should be prioritising planned preventative maintenance (PPM) in 2020. If you missed the original write-up, catch up here…

Would you drive your car if it wasn’t serviced?

The likely – and legal – answer to this question is “no”, but what relevance does this have in the world of glazing installations? It’s useful to think of aluminium windows and doors as you would a car – the servicing element is paramount for ensuring the vehicle’s safety, as well as its sleek aesthetic.

However, as creatures of habit and convenience, if something looks like it’s working on the surface, we’re often satisfied that it doesn’t need any further attention. But this is when a reactive – instead of planned and preventative – strategy can negatively impact a firm’s bottom line, and in some instances, security and reputation too.

It’s therefore vital for organisations to recognise that all moveable parts – whether automotive, technical or glazing-related – have a life expectancy, and to maximise and prolong this, they need regular checks to guarantee they’re working to the standard required.

Why is regular maintenance important?

Aside from keeping buildings looking smart, one key area where negligence in upkeep hits businesses the hardest, is the financials.

For a number of years, organisations have pointed the finger at budgeting restrictions for their glazing downfalls. However, the reality is that a lack of contingency planning is often the culprit. As with most things in life, taking preventative measures allows you to spot any complications or potential problems early on. This, coupled with regular check-ups, affords a greater chance of there being a repairable solution – better enabling businesses to nip any costlier refurbishment or replacement alternatives in the bud.

The safety element is also another core part of the equation. Whether its cracks or breaks appearing within glass and window seals, or a door with wear and tear on the hinges, when left untreated these unassuming imperfections have the power to spiral into a more complex safety hazard.

But these threats aren’t always so blatantly obvious. Many commercial buildings suffer with damp and draughts due to doors and windows having gaps or weak spots, for example, and if not maintained properly they cannot only cause visible faults but could result in the entire glass collapsing.

Overcoming business disruption

If maintenance is ignored or put on the backburner, downtime is another potential area of disruption for businesses. That’s because a typical replacement project can take days – and depending on the size and scale, sometimes weeks – to complete. As a result, it’s vital for site managers and company decision-makers to remain level-headed and panic-free when it comes to architectural glazing. Where possible, and of course safe, a good maintenance provider will always recommend restoration over renewal.

While safety trumps aesthetics in the priority rankings, the way the building looks shouldn’t be dismissed as a side note. Whether it’s for business partners, employees or customers, all firms want to make a great first impression. Yet prior to a client even walking through the door, a building’s façade helps them make a decision about the kind of company they’re dealing with.

Having condensation-free windows, smooth-functioning doors and robust locking mechanisms can be the difference between being considered professional and secure versus an unkempt safety hazard waiting to happen. In truth, properly installed glazing units should have a 25-30-year lifespan, but without regular audits and maintenance, this could be halved.

Commercial glazing roundup

During a business climate of economic uncertainty and an increasing focus on safety and the environment, the PPM of commercial glazing assets is something which is climbing ever higher on the corporate agenda. This is not only due to the associated long-term fiscal benefits, but also maintenance’s role as a priceless tool of reassurance that a building is fully security optimised. And this is a major trend we’ll continue to see throughout 2020.