Glass is an integral part of most buildings. You’ll find it in homes, offices, and shops. But, have you ever stopped to think about how it got there or how it was made to fit your window frames? If you have (and even if you haven’t), then now’s a great time to find out.
Glaziers are the tradespeople responsible for cutting, shaping, and installing glass in windows, doors, mirrors and more. They’re skilled at preparing glass for structural and non-structural use in commercial and residential buildings.
In residential environments, glaziers are responsible for replacing and repairing damaged or broken glass, installing new glass doors and windows, securing mirrors to walls, fitting shower screens and doors, sizing and placing glass tabletops, and even designing and making display cases.
In commercial environments, glaziers will cut and install security doors made of glass and fix or secure internal glass panelling and room dividers. You’ll also find them installing or repairing shop fronts made of glass, for everyone from boutique salons to more traditional corner stores.
Aside from commercial and residential buildings, you’ll also find glaziers working on many high-rise construction sites. Cranes are used to help lift large panels into place, so the glaziers can then secure them to the building frame.
A day in the life of a glazier?
Working as a glazier means spending lots of time on construction sites making sure the glass fits the building. Here they’ll often install aluminium, timber or stainless-steel frames, into which they’ll fit glass using putty, chemical compounds or rubber strips.
Glaziers also deal with broken glass and mirror glaze, getting these surfaces ready for reglazing. Pre-made glass units, like shower enclosures and sliding doors, can be assembled and installed by glaziers.
It’s often necessary for glaziers to carry out prep work before glass arrives on the job site. Here, they’ll be in a workshop scoring the glass with glass cutting tools, to make sure it’s the correct size before getting rid of any extra glass with the help of specialist tools.
These tools include diamond-tipped drills and saws, grinders and bevellers (used to polish edges), as well as inscribers for adding decorative finishes.
Glaziers must work with other professionals and tradespeople. They need to be able to interpret drawings, diagrams, and specifications to work out glass fabrication and installation needs. They might also use computer-aided design software to work up scaled drawings.
What training is required to become a glazier?
To become a glazier, a certified apprenticeship must be completed and a Certificate III in Glass and Glazing obtained (there are several TAFE courses across Perth).
A Construction Induction Card or White Card is also required for glaziers to work on any construction site. To help with these qualifications’ glaziers should have a strong understanding of maths and complete the Certificate II in Glass and Glazing.
It’s also helpful to complete the Master Glazier program through the Australian Glass and Glazing Association, which will give you a certification through the professional organisation.