JA WEIR ASSOCIATES
This company was twenty-three years in the making. The work completed by Jon Weir, the Principal of JA Weir Associates, spans every continent but Africa and Antarctica (and there is still time for those). Jon has worked with varied and reputable consulting firms including Cladtech USA, Ltd. Based In Chicago, JA Weir Associates based in Chicago, Curtain Wall Design and Consulting based in Hong Kong and Los Angeles (where he was the Operations Manager for the Western US Region) and Ove Arup and Partners based in Hong Kong. For twenty-three years he has seen almost every type of system known in the world and worked with all of them.
Jon has worked on the cladding on some of the tallest buildings in the world including the remodel of the Sears Tower, at the time the world’s tallest. He specializes in the design of façade systems using innovation and experience to come up with the most appropriate system for the structure and schedule. This saves both time and money for the Client and ensures the Architect gets the desired aesthetics. And, when the budget does not allow for the design to be undertaken as is, we work with the Contractors to ensure the Client’s interests are held paramount.
Working with Contractors is not new to Jon. He started his career as a project manager for a national (later international) curtain wall design and installation firm which is still in existence today. Hired directly from University, he worked with this firm for four years in Minneapolis, Dallas and Chicago before joining with a consulting firm in Chicago and rising to the level of principal. This direct construction experience is the basis for all of the ensuing knowledge gained in later years of consulting.
We make no apologies for being a small firm. In fact, we need not and should not be large as Consulting on a project is best handled by a single professional to ensure consistency and quality. Adding extra personnel tends to promote confusion and does not further the goals we have been hired to obtain. For this reason, we bring in peripheral assistance as required but maintain one contact point for the work product.
In effect, the company name may be new but the service is old and trusted. Our Clients are very important to us and we strive to assist them and protect their interests on every project we work on. We have been doing this for almost a half century.
Consulting is a service industry. The job consists of working with people – professionals in the industry – in order to assist the Client in obtaining the most appropriate building façade for the project. Our purpose on a project is direct and rather single minded - to provide innovative design and pragmatic advise to assist the design team in constructing a high performance wall system for the building. As curtain wall designers, we work to use our vast knowledge of systems to design one which embraces the features expressed by the Architect. Providing innovative, cost effective designs along with timely advice during the early stages of a project is the best means by which to ensure the success of the project.
Experience is paramount to good consulting. There is no substitute for years of hands on consulting service. This experience should be coupled with common sense and the ability to keep ego out of the equation in order to make a good consultant. The job of a consultant is to mesh with the designers and other consultants to form a team – not to dominate the discussions or to modify the architect’s designs.
Exterior wall consulting has been undergoing a change in the past decade. Prior to this, it took ten to fifteen years of working experience before one ventured into the consulting realm. Now, given the demand for consultants, there are companies providing services with personnel of only a few years experience - some even straight out of University. As with all firms, you are not buying the experience of a company, you are buying the experience of the consultant working on your project. Given this, large firms are rarely the answer. In growing, they have lost touch with consulting and become a business which needs to sell work and keep employees active.
Exterior wall design, similar to architectural design, is an art form. It is not mastered at the drawing table. It is mastered by years of experience in exterior wall systems and cladding methods of all types and in all regions of the world. Identifying the myriad of possibilities and then matching the most appropriate system type to a building is paramount to gain the performance and aesthetics required by the architecture. To design by simply downloading a standard system from a manufacturer’s website does the process an injustice and wastes the Client’s money.
We trust our years of experience but keep a close eye on promising new systems and emerging technologies. And, though we are reluctant to recommend the newest technologies without an adequate track record, we believe that there are emerging products that are worth the consideration. We balance our vast experience on exterior wall systems with pragmatic research and testing on emerging technologies to provide the Client with the best, and most proven, system for the project.
We offer many years of living and consulting overseas. This international experience is extremely important to staying abreast on what is happening in the world - not just what is happening in select parts of the United States. We strive to continue this work to provide well rounded consulting experience to our Clients; wherever in the world they may be.
Awareness of the need to aid in the conservation of natural resources makes the use of green technologies more and more crucial for the future. Green technology can offer great merits and, as technology improves, will assist designers in making buildings more energy efficient without the higher costs presently associated with these systems. It has been our experience that this technology has its strengths and weaknesses and that it should be used in the appropriate situations where the costs can best be recovered and the performance is beneficial to the finished project.
We strive to help our Clients understand that green technology changes as the environment and location change. The choice of a system should be undertaken with the full understanding of what it is to achieve and not based on the simple fact that it is “green”. A double wall curtain wall system in Los Angeles is as inappropriate as a curtain wall with monolithic glass and no thermal improvements in Chicago. For this reason, we consider the location and other relevant data to help match the best technology with the project to arrive at a workable and affordable solution. This can only be accomplished with the level of experience that we bring to a project.
As JA Weir Associates, we strive to offer the best and the most innovative exterior wall design and consulting services available in the industry. Building on years of experience, common sense, teamwork skills and an ultimate respect for the interests of the Client and Architect we strive to meet this goal on every project.