Part 2: Glass Partitions Cost Guide - Installation Costs
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
In Part 1 of the Glass Partition Cost Guide, we looked at how materials and specifications can impact costs. We mainly looked at popular options and compared these to each other. In part 2, we look at installation or labour costs.
Covering all aspects of glass partitioning installations is impossible. This is a guide; its purpose is to give you a brief idea of what labour costs to expect and what influences these costs. We always recommend you use a reputable glass partitioning installation company. They will be able to guide you through the installation process and provide a detailed estimate once they have performed a site survey.
Glass partitioning installation costs are mostly affected by:
Location and site
Type of system
Type of doors
Size of glazing area
Location and site:
The geographical location of your site is essential to factor in. Some companies may charge travel costs, usually based on fuel and time. So you should consider using a glazing company that is relatively local to the site or first confirm if there are any additional travel charges.
You will need good access to ensure materials can be delivered and carried to the site safely - these include delivery bay and walkways. You should also have a designated storage area where materials can be kept safely. If the site is several floors from the delivery area, there will likely be an additional charge to carry materials to the site level. If there is difficult access and taking materials to the site will take longer than usual, then additional time or specialist labour will be required.
Site work hour restrictions
You should also check if there are building work time restrictions on location as this will significantly impact costs. Time restrictions are relatively common in densely populated working areas due to noise. Glass installation cost increase where works must be carried out after hours (for example weekends or evenings). Work time restrictions can also impact the delivery of goods to the site.
Glazing area and surfaces
There may be factors in the glazing area that can have an impact on glass installations works and thus increase costs. Below we list some of these the things you need look out for:
Surfaces (floors, walls and ceilings) must be level and plumb. Additional work will be needed to correct or counteract surfaces that are not even or square
Skirting present where wall abutments and frames need to be installed will add additional work
Concrete floors will require cutting and drilling, particularly time-consuming if door floor springs are part of the glazing specification. It may be an idea to change floor springs for self-closing doors hinges or overhead closers.
Fittings, pipes and other obstacles that are present in areas where glass partitioning track is to be installed may need to be moved, and this will impact costs. These include switches, lighting, sensors, ventilation ducts, radiators, sockets, water pipes, sprinklers, electric cables and wiring.
There is a lot to consider when installing a glass partitioning project, especially from a Health, Safety and Environment perspective. So it is crucial you meet on-site with the glass fitters to discuss installation. They should perform a full site survey. Having a comprehensive site survey will result in a more accurate quote and likely pick up any potential installation issues. You can find out more about site surveys and what to expect in Part 1 of our guide Quick guide to measuring glass partitioning (under the section Site Surveys).
Type of system:
As discussed in Part 1 of the Glass Partitioning Cost Guide, there are many options available in glass partitioning. Here will consider popular types of glass partition systems:
Single glazed office partitioning
Single glazed office partitions are very popular and relatively easy to install. These glass walls are formed of one skin layer of glass and held in place by U-channel track or aluminium profiles.
Double glazed office partitioning
Double glazed office partitions are ideal for reducing noise and improving privacy. These glass walls are formed of two skin layers of glass. As a result double glaze installations require nearly twice the amount of time to install.
Framed glass wall partitions and acoustic glazing systems Framed and acoustic glass systems have to be assessed individually. Generally, this type of partitioning is time-consuming to install, as there is significantly more preparation work, insulation (especially in the case of acoustic partition systems) and additional aluminium (in the case of framed glass systems) such mullions to install. Nearly all framed glass office partitions have two layers of glass; extra time is required to ensure the glass and frames are perfectly clean before closing modules. You can find out more about acoustic glass partitions in our guide: Acoustic glass partitions - what you need to know.
Fire-rated glazing systems As with framed and acoustic glass walls, fire-rated partitioning systems (see Your essential guide to fire-resistant glass, for more information) can require additional preparation work. The system, method and specifications have to be assessed individually.
Type of doors:
Doors can be expensive to install; the type of doors and volumes will undoubtedly affect your budget. So you should consider all options available, sometimes the cheapest options are not the most economical to install. As a general rule, the more ironmongery (locks, handles, door rails, strike boxes) required to dress a glass door, the more time consuming an installation will be. In this section, we look at the most common door options used in office partitions: Single glazed frameless doors Single glazed doors are usually the cheapest options when looking at both installation and material costs. Using standard hinges or pivots and door handles will keep costs down. Floor springs are floor door closure systems that are concealed in flooring, to install these cutting into the floor is required. Framed glass doors Framed doors require more work to install, including door legs and overhead track. Framed doors can either be a single or double glazed. Where acoustic reduction is a specification, additional work is required to insulate doors and frames. Sliding glass doors Sliding glass doors are a great space saver, and these can be framed or frameless. Like swing doors, sliding doors can be installed as double doors; soft closures should be used, so they do not slam. Acoustic sliding door systems usually require more time to install. Some sliding doors systems need a floor tack to run on; this requires additional time to install, especially if the track must be cut into the floor. There are two common top hung glass sliding door systems: Trojan doors (doors with the top sliding rail hidden in the partitioning system) and Manet doors (doors with an exposed sliding rail), Manet doors tend to be more time consuming to install.
Timber doors and frames
Timber doors and frames tend to require specialist carpentry skills to install. You should check with your installation team if they can provide this service or if they need to outsource this service.
You can find out more about glass doors in our guide: Choosing the right glass doors for office partitions.
Size of glazing area
Office partitioning installation costs are calculated by m2 (width x height), which means the more there is to install the more it will cost. When installing glass partitions on sites with higher than usual ceilings towers or hop-ups may be needed. Usually, these can be hired (some sites do not allow the use of ladders). Higher than normal ceilings may require an increase in glass thickness, this may slow down the installation as glass will need to be handled differently due to weigh and hight, or in some cases such as atriums a glazing robot.
Other factors to take into account that will increase costs:
Number of glass T-junctions
Angled glass corners
Hidden track - requires additional cutting
Joints - dry joints are more cost-effective than wet joints (silicone)
Blinds or Venetian blinds
Specialist glass installs such as curved glass and smart glass (privacy glass)
Manifestation - using standard DDA dots will help keep costs down
Deflection head track - used counteract building movement
Ironmongery - these include locks, handles, door rails, hinges, etc.
An office installation using glass partitioning can be economical when the right choices are made at the outset. As this guide shows, there is a lot to consider. Covering all options available in glass partitioning is impossible, so it is vital that at the outset you speak to a reputable glass installation team to discuss specifications and options available to you.
A good glass installation team will be able to survey your site, provide an accurate quote and details of the installation process. To see our work, please visit our projects page. We, at Prism Glass, would be more than happy discuss glass office partitioning needs. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)208 947 8428 (office hours are Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm).
About the writer: Paulo Ferreira has extensive experience in project management and worked at Prism Glass for two years, where he managed glass installation projects and day to day operations. He also has extensive experience in financial services. His skills include graphic design, branding, content marketing and blogging.