When you are looking for a glass fabricator for your new home building or renovation project, how can you be sure you have selected the right person from the hundreds of providers in the market?

A glass fabricator or glazier is the person responsible for measuring, cutting and installing glass for your windows and doors. Finding the right fabricator for your project comes down to assessing the important criteria and conducting some simple background research.

Personal recommendations

When a glass fabricator comes with a reference from a friend or colleague, you can be sure the recommendation is based on a positive experience. While this will give you confidence about the fabricator’s abilities, you can still enquire further and ascertain whether they met project deadlines, if there were any issues, and how good their communication was. You could also find out more about the quality of their after-sales service, and if your friends would use them again.

Even if you can’t get a personal recommendation, you can narrow down the field by searching for reviews or testimonials online. While we would advise you to exercise caution when reading these reviews, you can still get an overall impression of the type of experience people have had working with these service providers.

Once you have a shortlist of companies that have stood out for their good service, it’s time to narrow down the field further.

Experience and qualifications

A firm’s longevity is a good indicator of their quality and reputation in the market. You should be able to get this information from the firm’s website. Look for examples of projects similar to yours, preferably in your area, and check out their photo gallery to view recently completed projects.

The qualifications required by glaziers vary from state to state. For example, in NSW, the Department of Fair Trading specifies that glaziers need to hold a glass and glazing qualification as well as a license. In Queensland, the Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) regulates the licensing of contractors and requires glaziers to hold a trade contractor licence specifying the type of work they do if the value of the work exceeds $3000.

Professional affiliations

The key industry body for glaziers is the Australian Window Association (AWA), which includes more than 600 members from window manufacturing and supply companies across Australia. AWA is responsible for providing industry-specific training and ensuring members retain high levels of competency, while keeping them up to date on the latest regulatory requirements and standards.

Members manufacture products that comply with the relevant Australian Standards and have been verified using NATA accredited testing laboratories. They ensure their products are accurately labelled with the wind pressure and water penetration requirements of AS2047 and are subject to annual testing and annual NATA inspections.

Members also guarantee their workmanship and materials for 6 years, subject to correct installation and product maintenance. Selecting a fabricator who is an AWA member reduces the risks of installing an inappropriate product. You can check if a fabricator is a member of AWA on their website.

Decision time

Once you have completed the background research, it’s time to contact the firms directly and find out about the estimated turnaround time. The lead time for any project normally starts once you have given approval. Depending on the size of the firm and current workloads, a turnaround of 10 weeks is common. This means you have to start your search for a fabricator well in advance.

With experience, qualifications and memberships checked, and availability and lead times confirmed, the final decision will be based on who you think will deliver a professional result – on time and within your budget.

Going through this process will ensure peace of mind that your choice is the right one.