Pro Installer December 2019 - Issue 81 - Page 19

DECEMBER 2019 | 19 News Read online at SPOTLIGHT ON: COMMERCIAL GLAZING Despite being one of the most overlooked areas of maintenance, commercial glazing is a core component in businesses’ environmental, economic and safety agendas. James Sutherland, managing director of Huddersfield-based Dortech Maintenance, shares his thoughts on the industry and looks into why companies should be prioritising planned preventative maintenance (PPM) – plus its importance. Would you drive your car if it wasn’t serviced? Commercial glazing roundup 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 ve- hicle’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 atten- tion. But this is when a reactive – instead of planned and preventa- tive – strategy can negatively impact a firm’s bottom line, and in some instances, security and reputation too. It’s therefore vital for organisa- tions to recognise that all move- able 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. 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 asso- ciated long-term fiscal benefits, but also maintenance’s role as a priceless tool of reassurance that a building is fully security opti- mised. And this is a major trend we’ll continue to see throughout 2020. 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, organ- isations have pointed the finger at budgeting restrictions for their glazing downfalls. However, the reality is that a lack of contingen- cy 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 equa- tion. Whether its cracks or breaks appearing within glass and win- dow 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 main- tained 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 disrup- tion 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 compa- ny 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 restora- tion 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, employ- ees 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 deci- sion about the kind of company they’re dealing with. Having condensation-free win- dows, 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 glaz- ing units should have a 25-30- year lifespan, but without regular audits and maintenance, this could be halved. Huddersfield-based Dortech Maintenance forms part of the Dortech Group – a commercial glazing specialist with an archi- tectural, maintenance and direct division. The Group was founded in 1993 by James’s father, Steve Sutherland, and has grown to become one of the most trusted and recognised experts in the design, manufacture and installa- tion of curtain walling, alumini- um windows, entrance doors and roof lights.