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Latest Technologies & Trends in Façade Design & Installation
Atharva Moroney, Alucomet
India is growing vertically upwards, specifically in metro cities. Now, we all as colleagues in the construction industry are concerned about the MEP services, and the main structure (whether it be steel, concrete, or composite) – but believe me, only an iota of people are thinking of the façade during the planning stage and this is really ALARMING to me.
But the fact is that a façade is the first barrier that has to perform for all the weather cycles, leakages (air & water), withstand the dead load, wind load (positive & negative), wind pressures during its entire life cycle, also stand up to the acoustical and thermal performance and all the above-incorporated within the architectural intent and aesthetics.
Fabricators have always kept themselves updated regarding current trends, and futuristic products needed for the betterment of projects. Nevertheless, new products bring in new ideologies and new installation techniques required for executing the same into reality, they are geared up for it.
I have been in the industry for almost 8 years, and have always been a keen observer and a fan of my own dad, and I strongly believe that he played an instrumental role in letting people in the central part of India know façades as a concept. The industry has been ever-evolving and is graduating towards a performance-based design demand wherein now a day we see tenders and specifications asking for a U-value-based system, which is actually very good.
This process of evolution in itself is a compliment to the evolving industry when it comes to respect for the latest designs. As in previous times, we just used to speak of the U-value of the glass and nothing else. And now, we are discussing the performance of the complete assembly as a whole, consisting of the aluminium system, glass, gasket, sealant, and other accessories.
This brings us to talk and discuss a thermally broken system, providing us with the following benefits:
• Pressure equalized, • Thermally broken, • Multiple lines for total weatherproof, • Up to 30% energy savings, • Maintaining indoor air quality, • Energy reduction, CO2 emission reduction, • Environmentally friendly, • Energy efficient and durable, • Increased durability and lighter weight, • Less volatile, lower emission materials.
Apart from the regular façades, we also look forward to the new concept of Thermal Break Profiles getting popular in India.
Many fabricators offer a complete gamut of services when it comes to façade engineering & installation technology. They are also capable to take up challenges and accomplish complex designs in a well-stipulated timeline.
Some of the new materials that we have come across are as follows:
Materials that have evolved and are known to us as a team:
3rd-generation metal coatings,
Optimized glass coatings,
LOW/No VOC paints and coatings,
2nd generation glass interlayer.
Double Skin Systems:
The double-skin façade is a system of a building consisting of two skins placed in such a way that air flows in the intermediate cavity. The ventilation of the cavity can be natural, fan-supported, or mechanical. Apart from the type of ventilation inside the cavity, the origin and destination of the air can differ depending mostly on climatic conditions, the use, the location, the occupational hours of the building, and the HVAC strategy. The glass skins can be single or double-glazing units with a distance from 20 cm up to 2 meters. Often, for protection and heat extraction reasons during the cooling period, solar shading devices are placed inside the cavity.
For the cladding needs, the future can be seen coming in the form of
Expanded metal is a form of metal stock made by shearing a metal plate in a press, so that the metal stretches, leaving diamond-shaped voids surrounded by interlinked bars of the metal. The most common method of manufacture is to simultaneously slit and stretch the material in one motion. Expanded metal is often used for architectural details and finds use in security applications such as in the walls of a sensitive compartmented information facility because of its heavier grades, it is difficult to breach without heavy cutting equipment or explosives. The material used is recyclable and the color is not just a simple coating but is designed to offer special aesthetic effects making any project more valuable. Besides having the ability of all the colours of the RAL shade, customized and unique colours are being offered with innovative effects, and the powder coating applied is highly resistant and non-toxic.
2. Aluminium Mesh and its Advantages:
a. Light and cost-efficient: It is a great advantage that expanded metal is not assembled nor welded, but always made in one piece. Hence no metal is lost in the expansion process and thus, the expanded metal is a cost-effective alternative to other products. As there are no strained joints or welds, expanded metal is stronger and is ideal for forming, pressing, and cutting. Due to the expansion, the weight per meter is less than that of the original sheet. Also, due to the expansion, a much bigger open area is possible to be covered as compared to other similar products.
b. Greater strength: The three-dimensional shape of the meshes is another advantage since the areas where the meshes meet are strong and enable the material to stand a far heavier point load than similar products or a flat sheet. Applications of expanded metal and aluminium mesh can be seen in the following places: Walkways, footbridges, footsteps, safety fences, reinforcing of concrete as well as for shielding in buildings as architectural construction, etc.
3. Aluminium Perforated Cladding:
As far as perforations are concerned it can be depending upon the aesthetic look as desired by the architect and functionality of the same as conceived by the façade consultant regarding its opening size, percentage visibility, and various other factors associated with it.
This too is currently being used extensively in various projects as part of double-skin façades and in fact, we are using perforation cladding as an alternative to the other two mesh claddings briefly summarized above in one of our ongoing projects in Nagpur called the Confidence Tower. We have tried to cover the design part in a short description in the project highlights along with this article.
Also, as far as the installation part is to be discussed, apart from inspecting our installed façade we also request the auditors to inspect the civil work for plum and line-level.
We as fabricators minutely consider the manufacturing tolerance, construction tolerance, fabrication tolerance, and then finally installation tolerance for a smoother execution of all our projects. All this with just a common thought to build an iconic, leakproof, sustaining marvel.
Atharva Moroney, Alucomet
Atharva Moroney believes in the principle of ‘Form-meetsfunction’. To him, façades are more than just the exterior walls of a building. Having pursued his BSc - IT, he decided to take up his passion and made a mark in the system, contrary to his field of study. The advantages of starting young have clearly outnumbered the roadblocks. - partnering with clients on small projects in Tier 2 cities to becoming the maiden independent contractor for façade work of the reach-1 stations of Maha Metro Rail Corp. His team of passionate experts have grown from strength to strength, ensuring a balance between robustness, function, aesthetics & cost. His constant endeavour is to keep pushing boundaries and be the partner of choice for his clients and bring the benefits of purposeful design to Central India.