CWS Special Projects History
The idea that a security and solar control window film installation company could do more than just install film was out of the norm in the early days of film installation projects on major buildings. Often, other contractors would be brought into the project to handle the non-filming aspect of the project.
However, that idea changed when Commercial Window Shield became a leading player in the security and solar control window film installation business more than 30 years ago. One reason for the company’s success early on was its ability to handle difficult, complex projects other window film installation companies stayed away from. The reason for this is the company’s expertise in engineering and problem-solving. While many film installation companies don’t have the resources for such work and often bow out of complicated projects, saying: “We can’t handle that,” Commercial Window Shield takes the opposite approach and says: “we will do whatever it takes to get the job completed.”
Three significant projects that fall under the restoration or special project film installation umbrella are perfect examples of how Commercial Window Shield goes above and beyond what a normal window film installation company does.
Officials at one of the country’s most iconic and recognizable buildings – Grand Central Terminal in New York City – hired the company to install 11-mil fragment retention film on 5,000 windows in the main terminal. But that was just the beginning. Before installing the film the company was tasked with replacing or repairing cracked or broken glass in old windows. Additionally, Commercial Window Shield was asked to install polycarbonate to exterior of 688 skylights and fabricate and install stainless steel mesh screens to skylight interiors.
The project presented many challenges. Grand Central Terminal is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It’s also one of the busiest. The terminal is packed from morning to night with New Yorkers and visitors catching trains and subways, and shoppers visiting its many stores and restaurants. Commercial Window Shield had to perform its complicated work without disturbing the flow of the pedestrian traffic. Additionally, because of the significance of the building, every task had to be delicately handled to preserve the historic architecture. Other challenges included developing a net system to capture dust and debris from the work being done high above the terminal floor – over a pair of popular, crowded restaurants – and utilizing a 50-foot boom lift to access the windows. Many of these window panels that had been previously repaired with a glazing compound containing asbestos had to be properly corrected.
A second project at Grand Central Terminal that preceded the first one, in Vanderbilt Hall, was even more complex than the project in the main terminal. Like Grand Central Terminal, the project involved installing fragment retention film, this time on 454 windows. However, the windows were over 100 years old, so many of them had to be either replaced or repaired. Also, decades of dirt and grim had to be removed from the window frames.
The project was so daunting; Commercial Window shield was the only bidder on the project. In the end, the company completes the work on time and to the satisfaction of GEM Construction, the project’s general contractor.
The successes at Grand Central Terminal and in other projects requiring creative window film installation measures helped Commercial Window film secure a project at the historic Bowen Building in Washington, D.C. this project involved glass protection and building custom frames.
Built in 1922, the Bowen Building, located two blocks from the White House, required security film to be installed on all its windows. GSA had recently signed a lease with Vornado/Charles E. Smith for Bowen tenant the U.S. Treasury Department, triggering a security upgrade requirement that included window protection. The project was carried out in two phases. Phase 1 involved installing security film on 699 windows for glass protection. That was completed on time in 18 days. Phase 2 entailed building aluminum frames holding Plexiglas and installing them three inches away from all the antique, wood-framed first floor windows, which could not be altered because the building is on the Historic Register. The aluminum frames were then painted to match the wood frames. Phase 2 also was completed on time.
These projects and others demonstrate Commercial Window Shield’s unique ability to handle any and all difficult security and solar control film installation projects and is one of the reasons for the company’s success spanning four decades.