An Architectural Glass and Metal Worker, called a Glazier, is responsible for selecting, cutting, installing, replacing, and removing all types of glass. Work in the glazing field includes both high end and commercial projects. Commercial projects may include improving energy efficiency; using various techniques and materials to incorporate good weatherization strategies; installing glass mirrors, shower doors; fitting glass for tabletops and display cases; and installing items such as heavy, decorative room dividers or security windows. Other glazing projects may involve replacing storefront windows for establishments such as supermarkets, auto dealerships, or banks. In the construction of large commercial buildings, glaziers build metal framework extrusions and install glass panels or curtain walls. Glaziers are continuously promoting the application of green technology with the use of solar performance and sustainability in the glazing trade. The glazing trade is specifically focused on energy efficient retrofitting projects as well as the design and installation of energy efficient weatherization materials and solar technology in commercial applications.
Care must be exercised in the removal and installation of all types of glass for building fixtures and other uses. Oftentimes, the glass is pre-cut and mounted in frames at a factory or a contractor’s shop. It arrives at the jobsite ready for glaziers to position and secure it in place. Cranes and hoists with suction cups may be used to lift large, heavy pieces of glass. The work may have to be prepared either inside or outside the building, and scaffolding may be used in installations. Safe work habits are important in this occupation.
Skills needed to become a Glazier include manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, physical fitness, and a good sense of balance. The ability to solve mathematical problems quickly and accurately is also required.
Glaziers use hand tools and power tools to install the materials of the trade. An increasing number of Glaziers use computers in the shop or at the job site for layout, material tracking and site management. Due to improvements in the thermo capacity of modern glass, as well as increased demand for more natural light, the industry has seen an increase in the use of larger and heavier glass panels. The increased trend toward using factory glazed units means that the Glazier must increase his / her knowledge of high performance glazing products, solar trends, and building envelope integrity.
Glaziers learn through On the Job Learning and working as an apprentice alongside an experience Journey worker. This is accomplished through a combination of related instruction. Emphasized early in the apprentice’s career is adherence to and knowledge of OSHA standards for personal safety; safety on the job site; and the proper handling of tools, materials and equipment.
Glaziers often work outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather. They must be prepared to lift heavy glass panels and work on scaffolding, swing stages, mast climbers, and self propelled platforms such as scissor and boom lifts; sometimes at great heights. Glaziers do a considerable amount of bending, kneeling, lifting, and standing during the installation process. The Glazier Apprentice is required to successfully complete the four year apprenticeship program including American Welding Society (AWS) Welder Certification in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW).