In recent decades new technologies, building techniques and construction materials have made it possible for architects and designers to experiment complex patterns while designing building facades.
Trend has been that architects want to design buildings with curves and round edges compared to more traditional straight lines in the past.
Photo by Simone Hutsch on Unsplash
Nowdays people are more concerned and aware about the impact of materials used in construction. Glass is environment friendly material and completely recyclable. A glass technology and reduced cost of bent glass installation has made it possible for architects to design these complex shapes while using more and more glass on the facades. At the same time larger glass panels can be manufactured and one single tempered glass sheet can be almost 20 meters long and 3 meters wide.
While modern glass buildings are beautiful and attractive both inside and outside they offer are challenge in terms of maintenance.
Glass facades are constantly in touch with dust, rain and other dirt. As you can imagine no one wants to build a multi-million building and let it collect dirt on the surface of glass. Therefore, cleaning work on glass buildings must be done regularly.
Besides window cleaning, on occasion glass could break or damage and needs to be replaced. Then service workers need and easy and safe access to execute repairing work.
Facade Access system plays a very important role in keeping these buildings safe, aesthetic and operational not to mention legal. Appropriate facade access system needs to be planned right at the early stage so that the structures required for the system can be integrated with the facade design even in unconventional way when complex facades demand so.
If you want to learn more about different facade access solutions take a look on our blog comparing facade access systems.
The difference between well planned and executed solution or a sloppy system built an after thought is huge. In a good case you only loose money, time and beauty but the main thing is that people count their lives on the systems while working and that is not acceptable.
How do you actually make sure this will not happen?
That’s what we want to share with you in this post.
We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and based on that we compiled 4 step process to make sure you will get the best possible solution without sacrificing safety of the workers or buildings design.
1: Start early
All facade access solutions have their strengths and weaknesses. To get the best possible solution for your building make sure to start the planning right at the early stage of architectural design. By doing so you will make sure that the structures required for the system can be integrated with the facade design even in unconventional way when complex facades demand so.
By starting early you also have a change to make changes into building structures, roofs or facades if the solution proves to be lighter, heavier, smaller or bigger than expected. For example in the roof structure if the solution will be lighter or avoid clumsy reinforcement if the solution will be heavier.
Taking access platforms into consideration early allows to build a solution that can be hidden when not in use. When a building maintenance solution is only an afterthought to design, it will be difficult to get a truly integrated, safe and aesthetical solution.
2: Use facade access consultant
Early consultation is the safest way to get the best possible access system for your building and avoid any kind of pitfalls.
An experienced consultant understand local regulations and safety standards. The consultant will hear client’s demands and know how to frame a specific request for proposals for the manufacturer. The consultant should also recognize best fitting manufacturers which will eliminate useless effort to ask a proposals from not suitable manufacturer. With previous experience in a similar projects the consultant will be able to give instructions on a price ranges of different kind of solutions.
3: Choosing the best facade access solution and manufacturer
There are several variables that will affect which solutions is best for you. Price, experience, references in similar projects, reputation, scope of services just to mention few. Not any of these are good enough separately and the trick is to know which compromise works best for you. Luckily you have consultant to assist.
Experience, references and reputations are important but that is not enough if the price is too high. On the other hand low price is even more dangerous if there is a change you will get low quality materials or a solution that won’t work as planned.
How about proposal with right price and experience from similar project?Sounds good but keep in mind to check if the installation is part of the deal and if not how to handle it.
Almost all the projects are unique and it’s impossible to give answer which kind of solution or manufacturer is best for you, but if you pay attention to a solution as a whole you will get both manufacturer and a solution that will work for you.
4: Testing, Installation and TrainingWhen you have an access solution that demand working in heights at all seasons it’s only natural that it demands testing, training and maintenance. System should be tested by qualified tester before it’s installed. Installation has to be done correctly with knowledge of specific solution. It’s crucial that installation is done correctly with knowledge of the solution and similar projects.
After installation it’s essential to have a specific training with users. As each solutions are often unique and has their own features it’s important for users to know exactly how to use them safely and efficiently.
The training is provided by a qualified trainer who knows all the details of specific solution. New training sessions should be repeated once in a while when needed.
As systems with moving parts might face burning sun, freezing ice and everything in between it’s natural that sometimes they require maintenance.
ConclusionBuildings are getting more complex with new shapes on them which mean that access systems need to be engineered with more expertise to be safe, stay in a shape and maintain beauty.
While it’s true that manufactures have to work better than ever to match requirements, there are plenty of tools to available to customize solutions to blend solutions into buildings with safe and cost efficient way.
No matter what kind of building you are designing, remember to take maintenance needs into account on early stage of architectural design process, use consultants help and choose the best manufacturer based on experience and quality not solely price.
While choosing the access solutions in an early stage might seem exaggerated, the reality is that you might save a lot of money and avoid problems that are difficult to fix later.