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Wienerberger Building Material Solutions

How to Select Glass for Buildings

By: Rajan Govind

Glass selection is an art of designers which requires vast knowledge on wide spectrum of skills varying from material sciences, energy impact, fabrications, practical aspects, etc. Glass specialists must have in-depth knowledge in wide range of aspects so that they can advise architects and clients for right choice of glass selection.

Glass selection process right from design, performance, energy efficiencies, reading data, comparing, and evaluating various products
Glass mock-up – Good knowledge needed in the whole selection process right from design, performance, energy efficiencies, reading data, comparing, and evaluating various products

With the introduction of numerous products that comes to building construction on every day basis, the designers should have global connect with international expertise, familiar with other regions, up to date on latest trends and technologies. These skills may lead to help the clients and the architects to find the right glass for their buildings and be proud and pleased with their right choice of glass once building completed.

Technical Knowledge 

Floods of technical jargon but know how to wade through these without just carried away by the supply chain claims and marketing. Good knowledge is needed in the whole selection process right from design, performance, energy efficiencies, reading data, comparing, and evaluating various products. This will help and ease the glass selection process which greatly helps building architects and owners.

Just from a small handy sample, an experienced glass specialists could visualise the overall impact of glass on a very large scale. This will help to communicate to other stakeholders to go for right choice of glass for their buildings.

Daylight analysis
Daylight analysis

Understanding Performances

Glass distortion, which is a common defect
Glass distortion, which is a common defect (Pic Credit:: BES)

Good understanding on performances, limitations, visual characteristics of glass products, etc. helps in selecting right products. Glass experts can use latest tools and technologies such as advanced simulations, visualisations, optimise natural daylights, achieve energy efficiency, thermal comforts, and arrive at appropriate glazing designs and glass specifications. Final glass selection shall be done based on detailed analysis, not just on thumb rules or assumptions or hearsay from marketing.

Procurement & Post Competition Challenges

With any amount of experience, designers face challenges on a variety of aspects such as

  • Insight on how glass industry works
  • Understanding the products
  • Getting lost with supplier’s specifications
  • Are the product comparable (having similar characterizes)?
  • How to check i.e., specification Vs actual supply

“Inexperienced procurement, have to deal with Defects & Failures”

Practical Experiences in Glass Selection

Defects on laminated glass
Defects on laminated glass

Good knowledge on manufacturing, international standards, acceptable tolerances, glass processing and fabrication techniques, help to manage on ground problems and achieve the expected results. Ability to control the outcome with the strong technical and practical knowledge is often very critical in glass finalisation process. Following flowchart illustrates some key aspects, impact overall quality and output.

Glass Selection flow chart for buildings
Glass Selection flow chart for buildings

Conclusion

Although it may look like a simple selection process, glass selection requires significant experience and skills in various disciplines which comes with a deeper level of dedication. This is not just a documentation or checklist process, one can just tick off all the boxes.

It is a highly sensitive subject as it involves the architect and the client, sometimes may lead to upset someone in the process if the outcome is not satisfactory. That said, the right strategy and a systematic approach with rich experience will greatly help in this process of selection of the right glass for façades and fenestrations.

Rajan Govind

Director, Façade Specialist

Rajan Govind has 25 years of international experience within the façade industry, out of which he has served more than 11 years at Arup. With structural engineering background, he has good overall façade specialist experience. He has gained working experience in various regions such as Asia, the Middle East and Australia. He has successfully delivered several prestigious projects with integrated façade designs, involving 3D design, complex engineering and building integration. Rajan Govind is a Certified SGMM (Singapore Green Mark Manager), which enables him to understand sustainable design requirements from architectural and practical perspectives. He has technically lead, managed and delivered several large projects with highly practical and efficient designs resulted successful implementations.

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