When we discuss on life of a façade two things come to the mind of the designer one Low Maintenance materials & other Maintenance of the façade.
We could see lot many building across our vicinity nicely maintained cleaned properly at regular intervals & few buildings in shabby state where Composite panels are broken, Top hung windows are on verge of collapse, Silicone Joints failed & lot many issues within a facade
Expectancy of Façade Life:
Any normal building façade is of most importance as it is the Link between Exteriors & Interiors. Lot many designer forget to consider Basic properties of Raw materials they wish to use on the façade. Few things needs serious thoughts as under
- Climate of the Country Where Façade is designed for.
- Expected Life of Raw Materials used like if Aluminium is used then what would the life of coating the member, the UV detoriation rate.
- System behavior & performance
- Cleaning rate of the building.
What is cause of failure & how we can reduce failure rate?
- Materials abuse is one of the most important causes of failures.
- No technical selection process of vendor is followed; only commercial rates are compared leading to poor quality raw materials being used.
- No prior testing of raw materials is done in the laboratories.
- Quality Installation teams are not properly trained for fixing façade & handling expensive materials.
- Quality expensive systems are commercially disapproved for short term gains.
- Building Interiors spoilage risk & cost are unseen for.
- There is a feeling in the market that any form of sealants are protecting your from any weather conditions a most important myth in the industry.
- More time spent on commercial costing & less on technical evaluations of raw materials
How can we move ahead with a positive frame for a quality Façade?
- Ignore verbal confidence of any one as these leads to some unforeseen risks which he might be ignorant of.
- Seeing believes, Insist for raw materials testing in leading labs in order to ensure your building life.
- During Design phase a lot of focus must be given on raw materials mostly Open & Closed Joints behavior over 25 years to 30 years, one needs to ask the vendor to conduct accelerated testing of his materials.
- Focus on façade cost & foresee the damage cost it can incur in event of any failure so that you can have provision for pre façade testing.
- Quality audits on site during installation are most important aspect of any façade. If not done properly might be the major cause of façade problems
- Test certificates of raw materials is Ok, but we need to move a little further by getting raw materials retested randomly at a joint cost as it is saving you more than the vendor.
- Pre tested systems might help you to larger extent for a quality façade as behavior of performance is known.
- Make a serious note & differentiate between Raw materials testing & façade testing these two are different tests altogether. One is more oriented to Life of raw materials & other is to joinery, Air leaks, water leaks etc.
Life of façade depends on all above factors but one most important factor is Willingness to do all the above without which Façade Improvement is a mere Fallacy.
By Prashant Thakkar