As I’ve written here many times, I always look forward to our coverage of architectural sheet metal products and projects. 

Besides being one of the most visually interesting issues we produce all year, it gives me a chance to showcase a part of the sheet metal works industry that perhaps doesn’t get the industry attention it deserves — which is funny considering how much more visible such projects are compared with ductwork fabrication. It takes a special sort of person — usually someone in the industry — to notice how well duct was made or installed, even in cases of exposed spiral duct.

But almost anyone might notice a copper-covered building or ornate cornices on a roof. In fact, the high-visibility of most copper building elements are why they’re picked in the first place — along with the longevity and environmental friendliness.

For sheet metal contractors, architectural work is a niche that can be very lucrative. Not every company can bid to restore a 150-year-old statehouse or replace copper panels on a sculpture that locals may consider a treasure. Having the special skills needed to perform such work means that you may compete against fewer companies and can command a premium for your services. Several architectural contractors have told me they often get called and asked to bid on projects due to their reputation and success with other jobs. Not a bad situation to have.

I’m always interested in what kinds of architectural work Snips readers are performing. Email me at and tell me about it. 


Likes the new look

Your redesigned September issue of Snips is a great presentation format. It is easy to read, not bulky, and there is no trouble in finding material one is used to finding. I found the By Association column very interesting and the Calendar of Events is a great help.

Continuous improvement is important, whether in the construction industry or the media trades.

Thank you for your leadership.

David L. Lewis

Technical project director

Forum Studio/Clayco

St. Louis

A different approach is better business

Your July Editor’s Page brought a grin or two my way (“Is this policy sexist — or just good business?”). Since we focus on indoor air quality, ventilation and home automation, the cost of our ticket items may be less than other contractors. However, most of our homeowners consider our products and services an “investment” in their homes.

We find women to be more influential in the selection and purchase of our work than men. But we often hear from men first. It’s a fine balance and we respect that. We present a comparable case to both parties. We are cognizant they will be making a joint decision.

Since we don’t practice a “race to the bottom” on price, our customers tend to be those who are interested more in the value of what they are going to buy than the pricing of one vendor over another.

We also rarely write any business on the spot. That leaves no room for a hard/aggressive close.

We don’t hesitate to walk away from business. We will recommend not to proceed — at least with us — and maybe reassess their needs. We will also make an effort to recommend other solutions that don’t apply to our business.

Peter J. Kusterer


Air Comfort For Homes

Raleigh, North Carolina