Coastal Perspectives With Hastings Project Manager Betsy Ellery

Posted: November 20, 2013


When designing for New England coastal projects, architects can take advantage of beautiful surroundings and dramatic ocean views – but they also must take into account the special considerations that come with coastal construction. Achieving the desired results can mean navigating a complex landscape of building codes, product guidelines and weather concerns – all while managing client expectations for performance and aesthetics.

Hastings Project Manager Betsy Ellery shares her thoughts on why it’s so important for architects to be able to trust the team behind them when designing for the coast.

 “I spend a lot of time working with and talking to architects about their projects. In a coastal project, product selection is not just “can” and “can’t.”  It’s “should” and “shouldn’t.”  Some people choose to go against our recommendations – and that’s certainly their choice, but everyone involved from the architect to the builder to the owner needs to understand what the consequences of those choices might be. The good news is that there are many steps we can take to achieve the desired outcome for a project.

For me, a key factor in the successful outcome of an architectural project has always been trust. Architects know that they can trust their Hastings contacts as the resource they can rely on for answers. They trust our ethics and they trust our advice, and we take our position as their go-to experts very seriously. What I find is that most architects want to have a project that is rated for the coast – but sometimes we have to do a little work to get there. When they send me the project they are working on, the first questions are always the same. Where is the project located and what conditions do we need to account for? What are your expectations for performance? Are we talking an impact location or “just” a coastal one? Only when we have these questions answered do we then look at the overall project and the individual units. One of the first things we need to talk about is size limitations and mulling limitations. We also discuss living within the product guidelines when it comes to what is possible on the coast – taking the raw material of what the architect wants and adjusting it to meet the needs of the project.

It’s interesting to consider that years ago, we didn’t even think about asking about the location of a project. In the mid-late 90’s, Design Pressure wasn’t even a part of the conversation, but as more and more people build on the coast, now it definitely is. In addition, people’s expectations are different today. They expect their windows and doors to perform at a higher level – and a successful project is one that meets the customers’ expectations. However, the reality is that customers who choose to live on the coast must allow for certain weather conditions. One way we can help is by educating the homeowner that although a DP50 in extreme weather may leak a little, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the window itself is bad. 

It’s also important to consider the different priorities that can surround a project. For the architect, top priorities would be to ensure that the project falls within the building code, that everything performs as it should, and that the project achieves the desired aesthetics. So we help them achieve the look and the performance they need, and they’re happy. For Hastings at the distributor level, a top priority may be to ensure that our retailers are fully equipped to service their customers. The bottom line is always that we want the project to succeed. By choosing the correct product solution for the conditions, we will have a higher likelihood of achieving that success.”

At Hastings, we have a team of knowledgeable professionals who have collaborated on coastal projects for decades. Your sales representative and inside sales and support team are accessible throughout project planning. Consult with us early in the process so that we can work together to make recommendations that result in buildings that perform to their maximum potential on the coast.

If you have questions about a coastal project, contact the Hastings team. Email or call your Hastings Sales Representative.


Betsy Ellery has been a Project Manager with A.W. Hastings since 1999. She works with architects and retailers throughout New England, recommending windows and doors for coastal environments including commercial, institutional, residential and historic projects.