In a conversation with Window & Façade Magazine, Richard Lee Managing Director at Brital Limited, UAE talked about Brital’s journey and its plans and also about the aluminium façade industry and its impact in the region. Here are the exceprts…
Since being founded in the mid-1990s to serve the Gulf region markets, Brital systems have evolved to meet the regional market requirements and customer expectations, which has resulted in one of the most comprehensive ranges of façade systems available today.
Brital systems are unique in that they have been specifically designed to suit the climatic and performance requirements of the Middle East region, they are not adapted systems originally designed for other markets. Having highly qualified and experienced design staff at our disposal enables us to offer practical technical solutions to any type of façade requirement and to remain market led to suit our customers’ specific requirements.
Al Hikma Tower, Dubai; Aramco North Park Offices, KSA; Sidra Tower Dubai; Al Bateen Towers, Dubai; CIB HQ, Kuwait; Al Khobar Gate Tower, KSA; HSBC HQ, Dubai; Palm Tower, Sharjah, etc.
By continuing to offer a high level of technical support to our users and by designing and developing systems specifically for the regional project requirements. As we only supply our systems to a network of approved fabricators, our customers’ success is reflected in our business accordingly.
Aluminium has long been the material of choice for façade projects in the Middle East. The main changes we have seen in the last 20 years are at the level of expertise and skill of the fabricators. 20 years ago, the fabricators generally had a much lower level of skill and manufacturing capability than they do now and as a result, our products were designed to be manufactured within these capabilities. In recent years, most manufacturers have invested in advanced manufacturing equipment that has allowed designs to incorporate more advanced manufacturing techniques, such as pre-programmed CNC machining of components. As the focus in the UAE has shifted from what was a fairly basic level of performance, façade systems have had to adapt to meet levels of performance that are now among the most stringent found anywhere.
The areas that have seen major changes in performance are:
• Weather resistance: Increasing levels of performance for both air and water penetration.
• Thermal performance: Increasing levels of performance and the introduction of the Green Building Guide requirements.
• Fire resistance: Increasing awareness of the risks associated with certain materials (e.g. ACP’s) and the introduction (in UAE) of the Fire and Life safety code
• Reduction in the risk of falling from windows: Following concerns over falls from buildings the introduction (in UAE) of the Fire and Life safety code which limits the openings of the windows.
The changes that have happened in the UAE are likely to expand across the region to the other countries in the area with an ever-growing focus on environmental performance and safety aspects of the façades.
As the levels of environmental requirements are raised, it will become ever more difficult to achieve improvements in performance, hence we will be in a situation of diminishing returns for what could be significant changes in design. With regards to the weather performance of façades, the demands have been constantly increasing over the last few years resulting in more and more complex designs. We would question whether, in the context of the Middle East environment, these are necessary and if they are providing any real benefits to building developers and owners. While façades must perform satisfactorily in service, the use of European or US standards, which may not reflect the local conditions, is overestimating the requirements, particularly with regards to weather resistance.
The increasing demand for higher performance façades makes our contribution to major projects via locally and internationally provided technical support more and more relevant to aluminium façade contractors who cannot successfully execute such projects without major systems company support. Increasing our resources to support our customers in this way makes our service of increasing value to our customers. As this trend expands throughout the region, it will enable us to increase our geographical reach into new markets.
We aim to continue our high levels of technical support to our existing network of approved fabricators and to increase our network of approved fabricators throughout the region and to establish a presence in new geographical markets throughout the wider region.