• Solutions for Commercial and Institutional Buildings

Cost for Bird Collision Deterrents

Q: What does it cost to make a single building bird safe? A: It depends!

The issue of bird collisions with windows has become a leading conservation biology concern worldwide. Laws and polices, designed to mitigate this global threat, are steadily being introduced on a region-by-region basis. This response has created a swell in demand for effective bird collision deterrent products. The following options should be considered when investing in these emerging technologies:

There is no simple answer to this question, because the cost varies depending on numerous factors including but not limited to:

  • Choice of material
  • Cost of equipment rental
  • Other renovations happening together
  • Size of area to be treated
  • Product availability
  • Cost of labour
  • Cost of insurance
  • Warranty and long-term servicing
  • Fees collected by product suppliers
  • Whether external funding is used
  • Other façade or landscaping modifications that may be required (e.g., tree removal)
  • Design of the building
  • Features and grade around the building
  • Cost of shipping product
  • Inclusion of a collisions risk assessment

To arrive at costing information for a single building, it is recommended to seek a quote from a local supplier, such as a window film installation company. Some manufacturers of bird collision deterrent glass and window film products have networks of regional suppliers. They may ask you for information about the building’s structure, to provide photos and/or arrange a site visit.

In general, the cost of retrofitting a building for bird safety is higher than the cost of making a new building bird safe during its design and construction.

Below are examples of typical cost breakdowns for individual buildings, with items listed in order of decreasing cost:

Retrofit of existing building New building construction
  • Equipment rental, as required(e.g. boom lift)
  • Labour for installation
  • Insurance for installation
  • Material cost (e.g., film)
  • Replacing turf, tree removed for equipment clearance
  • Risk assessment to identify and prioritize high-risk façades.
  • Material cost (difference from regular window glass, or addition of film, exterior shades, etc.)

Material costs vary by country. In general, fritted glass, etched glass or other custom bird friendly glass is more expensive (per square foot) than exterior application film. Some types of glass provide secondary benefits like improved energy efficiency or privacy. Labour and equipment costs may be partly recoverable by applying visual markers to glass before units are installed on the building. To access current and applicable information unit costs for specific solutions, it is recommended to contact individual manufacturers or suppliers.

Example cost breakdown for bird safe glazing for new building construction

Building type % of glass requiring bird safe glazing (per CSA A460) $ increase in window contract for bird safe glazing
Low-rise higher education 100% 5%-10% increase
40 Story multi-unit residential 10% 1% increase

To assure threat you are getting the most out of your investment, it is important to require the following product performance requirements:

Quality Assurance Use qualified personnel skilled in the installation of the chosen visual marker(s), having a minimum of 2 years proven experience of installation of similar material.
Product Warranty Ensure that the manufacturer’s exterior surface application product warranty against deterioration is a minimum of 6 years. The marker material must facilitate removal without damaging the glazed and/or polished materials.
Sample Installation Apply sample installations to verify the strength of visual marker contrast and their aesthetic effects.
  1. The Kendeda Fund Building (Atlanta, Georgia), a low-rise building 18,600 sq. ft in area, was treated during construction in 2019 with Viracon silkscreen at an overall cost of $32,000 USD including material and installation, with treatment covering about 3,000 sq. ft of glass. Total cost of the project was $25,000,000 USD. The treatment of the glass was covered by a Disney Foundation Grant. More info
  2. The Columbia Building (Portland, Oregon) is a low-rise building 11,640 sq. ft in area. 3,424 sq. ft of glass was treated with a film product called Solyx for a cost of $28,000 USD. More info
  3. The Forest Hall building at Oregon Zoo is a low-rise building about 33,000 square feet in area. The building’s windows were replaced with Ornilux Glass, a UV-based custom glass (that I don’t recommend and is at the higher end of the price spectrum for bird friendly treatments). Overall cost was $84,687 USD. They treated 4820 sq. ft. of glass. More Info
  4. At Western University (London, Ontario, Canada) a large high-rise building (7 stories, 120, 000 sq. ft) was retrofitted up to the fourth story with film. Around 10,500 sq. ft of glass was treated. The cost was $90,000 CAD.
  5. The largest-ever bird friendly building retrofit in North America took place over the last 2 years at the Toronto-Dominion (TD) Centre, a six-building office complex in Toronto’s Financial District, with over 105,000 sq ft. of glass treated with Feather Friendly film. The cost of that project was over $1 million CAD.

There are a wide variety of cost-effective and attractive options that can be an integral part of bird-safe building design or retrofits. To learn more about effective bird-safe design and solutions, please visit birdsafe.ca.

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