Construction window cleaners must also educate themselves about the issues. They must be aware of the risk involved in using any scrapers to clean construction debris off defective tempered glass. They should be educated on the causes of this tempering defect and be prepared to advise their builder on the risks of buying such glass. Window cleaners should also notify their builders that all windows should be protected during construction and that any unprotected windows will require the use of scrapers to remove construction debris. Unfortunately, even some types of glass protection require the use of scrapers to be removed which is why it is especially important that glass be free from defects.
The construction industry as a whole must be aware of the differences in surface quality of tempered glass. They must also acknowledge the importance of protecting all windows during construction, and ensure that proper steps are taken to meet this end. And finally, they must not overlook the importance of using skilled construction window cleaners who are trained to clean windows in a construction environment.
A major difficulty in the resolution of the scratched glass issues found in the construction industry is the level and quality of effort put forth by the involved parties to solve the problem. Many of the most recent steps have merely addressed the symptoms or falsely placed blame on innocent parties. Until the glass industry as a whole acknowledges the true issues, and works together to solve them, the volume and severity of scratches has no hope of diminishing. The following is a summary of the current industry position.
There is no standard or regulation to require glass washing prior to tempering. Glass washing obviously has a direct effect on tempered glass quality, as un-removed glass fines get fused to the surface of the glass during the tempering process.
There is no standard for detecting or rejecting tempered glass with fabricating debris on the surface. Any fabricating debris fused to the surface of tempered glass substantially increases the likelihood that the glass will scratch during construction window cleaning.
The safe use of scrapers has been a standard window cleaning technique for construction window cleaners for decades. Failing to address the true issue of glass quality and protection will do nothing but drive the quality of glass in the construction industry lower than it currently is. Until general contractors and their subcontractors protect windows from all construction debris, scrapers will continue to be the safest method for removing this debris from the glass.
It has been stated by some tempered glass manufacturers that the particles found on the surface on their tempered glass is a result of an unknown source that they are unable to identify. This position is an irresponsible attempt to deflect the blame. A simple composition analysis would identify the makeup of these particles, allowing the manufacturer to determine and eliminate the source. Furthermore, regardless of the difficulty involved in determining the source of particles, it is the window manufacturers’ responsibility to ensure a quality product, no matter what changes are necessary in their process.
By Daniel A. Fields
Fields Construction Services, Inc
5715 South Front Road Building B-1
Livermore, CA 94550
Phone: 800-542-2724 ext. 201