The Ticking Time Bomb

In a recent post on World Micah Kommers called FD the ticking time bomb. I thought this aptly described what we are dealing w/ in this issue. Those that advocate alternative methods as a way to make more money fail to take into account that even if they avoid scratching issues there will be other people involved down the line. Unsuspecting wcers or homeowners who are unaware of the issue will be left holding the bag so to speak. This in my opinion reflects GANA’s whole attitude towards FD - “it’s your problem so deal w/ it”. I for one am interested in leaving the industry better than when I entered it! You can’t just accept FD and accomplish that in my opinion!

How do you propose to deal with legacy glass?

[QUOTE=mistersqueegee;22372]In a recent post on World Micah Kommers called FD the ticking time bomb. I thought this aptly described what we are dealing w/ in this issue. Those that advocate alternative methods as a way to make more money fail to take into account that even if they avoid scratching issues there will be other people involved down the line. Unsuspecting wcers or homeowners who are unaware of the issue will be left holding the bag so to speak. This in my opinion reflects GANA’s whole attitude towards FD - “it’s your problem so deal w/ it”. I for one am interested in leaving the industry better than when I entered it! You can’t just accept FD and accomplish that in my opinion![/QUOTE

The bottom line here is that alternative methods do not solve the problem. Defective tempered/heat treated glass will continue to be defective throughout the life of the glass.

The big question is “what are these alernative methods”? Are they 100% guaranteed not to scratch defective tempered glass?

If you expalin to your customer that you must charge 5 times more (for alternative methods) as opposed to using a metal scraper then they are going to expect glass that has no scratches after cleaning with “alternative methods”.

Can we guarantee our customer that these alternative methods will not dislodge fabrication debris and scratch the glass. Are white pads and steel wool utilized in these so-called alternative mehods. I certainly hope not. They can dislodge fab debris which becomes trapped into the steel wool or white pad. The trapped fab debris on in the white pad or steel wool then scratches the glass.

I would hate to see our trade organizations endorse these “alternative methods”. That will be a sad day in the window cleaning industry.

The same way I deal w/ the current junk - waiver or walk. Even on older homes I do for the first time I get a waiver just in case they replace any windows w/ new garbage tempered glass.

I use education and a waiver on all jobs as well.

What is a real-world solution for a customer requiring the cleaning of their legacy glass? You’ve shifted the responsibility for the problem from the temperer to the customer (in reality, it IS the customer’s problem in all circumstances…) What do you tell them? Find someone else?


[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]My waiver states that I will be using alternate methods and charging accordingly. I explain in writing that the new alternate methods recommended on the GANA web site do not eliminate the possibility of scratches they only reduce the possibility. I use the recommended methods and have a waiver signed. If the glass scratches a liberal judge in Massachusetts can not find me at fault, for not following GANA guidelines. I have been told that in my state the poor customer is usually considered a victim.[/FONT][/COLOR]

I too use education Larry. Unfortunately, they have 2 choices. Live w/ the scratches or live w/ certain debris on the glass. I only use harsh chemicals when dealing w/ water staining issues. If they want to hire someone else who will risk the IG seals by using “alternative” methods then so be it. Of course if they blow the seal then they are liable for window replacement. If we can stay in this fight long enough the poor quality fabricators might have to eat replacement cost on alot of legacy glass. I’d love to see that happen.

[FONT=Verdana]I don’t do any CCU and feel badly for those of us who do. Customers with tempered glass will be pretty anger when they learn that nobody wants to clean their glass without a waiver, because it may scratch. I try to educate them on the fabricating debris issue with industry hand outs and web links. My waiver is to cover me on preexisting scratches we can’t see before I start cleaning.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]I basically use steel wool and a small razor to remove a few spots. If the job requires a 6 inch razor with long sweeping strokes the cost to use steel wool would probably be prohibitive. I suggest the customer call someone else. [FONT=Verdana]If the glass needs chemicals I also walk away from the job. [/FONT]I am personally not willing to take a risk even with a waiver. If they sue me and win I would loose my business.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Their crappy glass or potentially crappy glass is not my problem. They can call GANA and complain about the alternative guide lines, and high price tag for such services. They can call their painter who got paint all over their glass. Let the painter fix the paint over spray problem. Again it’s not my problem the glass should never have gotten that dirty in the first place. All of the painters I have spoken with do not know what I’m talking about. I see them around town and try to give them a heads up on the issue.[/FONT]
Your right, it’s a ticking time bomb! Eventually somebody is going to get screwed. The customer, a contractor or a window washer. Hopefully it won’t be me or anybody else who knows better.

Much of that discussion on WCN is getting out of hand. When differing opinions collide varying in position from “You’ll never take the scraper out of my hand while I’m alive” to “We must move to an alternative method of clearing tempered glass without using a scraper” just to use a few hypothetical examples, I would hope that guys/gals can take a deep breath prior to engaging this topic to promote open minded thought processes.

I have read all the e-mails and have for quite some time. Personally, I am somewhere in the middle. I’m not so entrenched into my scraper that I feel it is the only method I can ever use to clear glass in CCU situations or otherwise. By the same token, I’m somewhat reluctant to explore other means as the scraper has proven effective for many years.

What I can only hope for is that guys are able to check their egos at the door when they sit down to discuss this matter. Clearly it is one of special interest to all of us window cleaners. Listening to reason with an open mind is vital to accomplish results that will benefit all in the long run. Rarely is anything as black and white as some would paint this issue on WCN. It must be dissected from every angle to come to a solution that is well thought out.

My position right now is that I am on the fence. I agree that I did not create this problem. I agree that my residential customers did not create this problem. I agree that the manufacturers of glass are the ones at fault if they are sending out product that scratches. Exploring all avenues with the resources at hand I think is being done. I just hope the ego’s don’t trump the reasoning.

It would appear to me by reading some of the posts that some of that is going on.

Dwight Rowe
Jencor Services, LLC
Severn, MD

What’s the most logical way for this to work out? Where does everybody see this situation in 10 years?

My opinion is a company, much like Guardian, who is known to produce quality glass will start to offer a “Fab Debris Free” warranty or something of the like. They’ll back their product up by saying that it can be cared for by using a razor. They’re customers can paint signs on the glass, apply window tint, vinyl signs, tape, whatever they like. They’ll encourage the windows to be covered after installation, not because of fears of fabrication debris being dislodged during cleaning, but because it will lower the expense of that first cleaner for the customer.

They’ll strongly market this, making the customer aware that if they buy glass that’s been tempered by Old Castle, Arch, or others, that they probably won’t have this freedom.

I believe people would be willing to spend 10-20% more for this glass. It would not be long tell others offered the same warranty on the same high quality glass.

A very small percentage of plates may have fab. debris on them. That’s a fact, every manufacturing company has rejects. But this company will replace that glass quickly, no questions asked.

Maybe I should start a glass tempering company??

[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]I would have to agree with you Dwight. I am trying not to get in the middle between the glass manufactures and their customers. I am only the window cleaner, I didn’t create the problem. I would like to clean the glass to the best of my ability and move on. Sometimes my scraper is going to have to stay in the truck out of sight. Thanks to the info on this forum I am going to get a [B]waiver signed on every job[/B]. I don’t want to be blamed and sued because someone else scratched the glass. It’s a very touchy issue. I try to remember it’s not my problem. I didn’t buy the glass from the wrong company or get debris all over the new delicate glass surfaces. So I’m not the one who is going to sufffer the c[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]onsequences.[/FONT][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR]

Dwight, this is a touchy subject that definitely brings forth some passionate responses. However guys like Dan Fields who have been on the front lines of this issue ever since it first raised it’s ugly head have a right to be just that - passionate. Others are tired of our fellow brother and sister wcers loosing money because they did their job and were unaware of this problem because GANA and it’s supporters try hard to keep it under wraps. Education is the key but so is sticking to our guns and reminding (even if it has to be at the top of our lungs sometimes) others of the danger of accepting in any way responsibility for this garbage. A waiver will do just that. Perhaps if enough wcers stop doing CCU at all for a while the builders will put more pressure on fabricators to clean up their act. Perhaps not. Either way I’m not about to put down my scraper and pick up steel wool or white pads or chemicals to replace it.
I have also recently started talking to every builder, architect, and glass supplier I meet about the issue. This way I hope to speed up the education process.

Your passion bleeds from every post regarding fabricating debris. I envy that about you.

 You do understand what I'm laying down right?  In case you don't; what I am saying is that it is important for everyone to be willing to look at all aspects of this issue.  And while you may not want to hear this, alternative methods is part of looking at the whole picture.  

 For a guy like Dan Fields that does CCU all the time, I can understand 100% why he sticks to his guns.  Practicality is what I'm preaching.  Just covering all the bases before going home is all I'm saying.

I get that Dwight. No argument here. The danger I see is looking down the road. Let’s say you get blamed for scratched glass and are on record as using alternative methods when needed. Now your facing Mike’s liberal judge who says since there was tempered glass involved you should have used those methods instead of a scraper. I’m just projecting how GANA would push this issue to further their agenda. Might never happen to you. You may begin using alternatives on every piece of tempered you come across. That covers you - but suppose for some reason the client hires another wcer because you are booked and it’s an emergency. Should he be thrown to the wolves because he uses the industry standard tool for debris? For me it’s not just about me it’s about leaving the industry safer and better for the next guy. I’m not an industry giant (few of us are) but I believe we all make a difference one customer at a time.

I agree in terms of liability of damage. I hope I never have to call Dan. I do use the waiver now for everything.

You know it’s funny, the guy that taught me window cleaning is still going strong back home and has been for over 20 years and has never used a waiver and does strictly residential. Either he has been very lucky with all his employees or he just isn’t running up on too much in those midwestern homes.

Is Guardian a member of GANA?

Would GANA permit a member to market themselves to the detriment of rest of the association?

Yes Larry, after reading your post I looked it up. Guardian is a member of Gana according to their website. Guardian Industries

Would it benefit Guardian to take a stand on this issue, possibly sacrificing it’s relationship with Gana? I’m not sure. I don’t know what kind of benefits Gana offers. I do think though, that any consequence would be short lived, as all other temperors would have to clean up their act to stay in business.

However, I only stated Guardian to use them as an example. It could be any company, even a new startup. It would be much easier for a company who is already in business and virtually already supplying the product though.

Me, too. :wink:

How can a newcomer learn which glass windows are scratchable, tempered, or problem manufacturing types. I don’t want to learn the hard way (lawsuit or window replacement) What/How should the waivers be worded. New to the industry. Thanks

A start to learning:

Waiver example: