by John Ramos

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Construction of the Bay Area’s newest skyscrapers has been hampered by delays costing millions of dollars. The delays are being blamed on a huge shortage of glass.

San Francisco’s gleaming skyline isn’t gleaming quite as bright as it should be.

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“We were all trying to get the cost of these projects less. And so we started to source Chinese curtain wall or overseas curtain wall,” said Nathan Rundel of the Build Group.

“Curtain wall” is the tempered glass that forms the outside skin of most modern high-rises. Without it, interior work can’t begin.

But a number of the large projects South of Market are having a tough time getting the glass they need delivered.

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“Their glass has been delayed five, six, seven months. Both from the fact that they went to new vendors and the fact that they can’t get their material,” Rundel said.

The slowdown at the Port of Oakland has had a hand in that, as ships wait offshore for months or have been diverted away.

Rundel went with a trusted supplier so he received his glass and his building is almost finished. But he feels for those whose projects sit stalled, unable to do any inside work.

“The finishes are happening as we go up the building. So if we can’t start those activities because there’s no glass, we can’t finish the building,” Rundel said. As a result, workers sit and wait.

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Rundel said a delay for just his team could cost more than $200,000 per month.