Look Out Below – A Curtainwall Case Study
Presented by Jacqueline Byndas Prakhov and Jason Siwek, PE, both of Walter Moore Associates
Curtainwall systems have been used in commercial construction since the 1970s. Though the performance of these systems has improved, there is still much to learn about how design choices affect service life resilience. This presentation will discuss the fundamentals of commercial fenestration system types, performance, and proper detailing followed by a case study illustrating how these concepts were applied. The case study of Clements University Hospital, a fully operational 12-story healthcare facility, illustrates how typical detailing of newly incorporated elements could have adverse long-term effects.
Beauty caps on a typical captured glass curtainwall system were falling and posed a life safety risk to the public. Walter P Moore was engaged to perform a peer review of the construction documents to identify possible causes of failure, as well as a visual survey to identify additional falling hazards. The Challenging Access Team mobilized to conduct the visual assessment of the tower curtainwall system by rope access. By implementing quality control processes for the repairs, performing hands-on observations, and examining the installed repairs, repair solutions would mitigate future falling hazards, as well as reduce risks for the owner and building patrons. These and other challenges encountered throughout assessment, design, and construction oversight will be discussed.