The shell of the building is an onlooker’s first impression and crafts the architectural aesthetic, but it also plays a crucial role in enabling energy efficiency and protecting against the elements. Because façades are in direct contact with the elements, issues with water intrusion are the most common problem and the costliest to remedy, with anywhere from 30% to 70% of lawsuits related to water intrusion, half of it through the façade. Additionally, improperly installed façades pose significant safety risks because unsecured parts can fall and hit people below.
All these factors contribute to the façade being one of the most complex and costly aspects of a building to construct and inspect, making up 205 of the total project cost. Installing these systems correctly the first time is the most effective way to mitigate these threats. Teams should utilize data-informed technology that ensures plan adherence, reducing risk and avoiding errors during installation.
The Challenges of Façade Installation
Façade installation and subsequent inspection are inherently challenging, particularly for high-rise buildings. When performing post-installation verification manually, inspectors must review every element, joint by joint, window by window, stone by stone and brick by brick, which can take months to complete. Inspections of the entire building system are limited by this process, as inspectors can only access one portion of the building façade at a time and often have to inspect from indoors, on balconies or at the ground level, which doesn’t paint a complete picture. As a result, teams typically only perform spot checks on the façade and are rarely inspected to their fullest. This leaves many installation errors and defects, which serve as ticking bombs for future water intrusion or safety hazards.
Reprinted courtesy of Ori Aphek, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.