The so-called “bottom line” is an unavoidable, monolithic reality of the construction industry, and it is something we’ve seen happening with some of our window shade competitors. However, a formulaic “race to the bottom” can have dramatically negative effects on the true cost of a solar control project.

General contractors starting out a project with a pre-formulated spreadsheet is a common mistake.

“That tells them that component “x,” maybe it’s the flooring, is going to be 6% and the furnishings are going to be 1-1/2 %, said Steve Edwards, director of national accounts and special projects for Draper, “and that’s instantly now set the budget, without any actual regard for what the functionality of anything’s supposed to be.”

On the latest episode of Engineering Value, Edwards provided host Sean Heath with a real-world example of how a pre-conceived notion of a shading plan nearly cost a contractor a great deal of money.

The project involved a mid-rise, multi-tenant office building project. The architects had detailed roller shades in a recessed ceiling pocket supported by metal framing from the slab above. That construction detail cost roughly $28 per linear foot. The contractor had budgeted nothing.

“Working with the GC … we said what happened if we mount the shades between the window mullions using a fascia that covers over the roller shade, and custom-finish the fascia so it matches the window mullions,” Edwards said. “That completely eliminated the need for all that framing and saved $28-$30 a linear foot, which is a pretty substantial number.”

The change had no impact on the quality of the shading solution and saved the owner approximately $280K—even though the shades themselves cost slightly more due to the custom finished fascia.

To learn more about increasing overall value through window shades, click here for the latest episode of Engineering Value, a Draper podcast.