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Building Enclosure Council: The Interface—Storefront Glazing Assembly Edition

  • COST

    Free for BSA members, $10 General admission. Learn more about membership options here.

  • TYPE





    1 LU AIA credit available

Today’s building construction must overcome complex building materials, multi-layer construction / multiple trades, limited on-the-job training, higher expectations, schedule, and are generally cost-sensitive. In the past, building systems were simpler with fewer layers; there were many master tradesman, apprentice training, with less building performance expectations.

Building occupants now require more for the interior environment, precise temperature and humidity control, no tolerance for condensation or mold, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, and more. To meet these needs, a well designed and constructed building enclosure. We rely on performance published in material and assembly product data sheets to achieve these expectations. Without well thought out transitioning, termination, and flashing at the interface of the materials and assemblies, there intended performance is diminished or negated altogether.

Performance criteria (water air, vapor, and thermal) is readily available for most building enclosure materials and assemblies, are commonly used in the building construction industry and building energy modeling. However, performance criteria or impact of the interface of materials and assemblies, specifically aluminum glazing assemblies, are not clearly defined or published and are often missed or misunderstood. Continuity of the environmental control layers is most vulnerable at the interface of building enclosure components. Without the proper interfacing, we cannot expect to achieve the laboratory tested the performance of the materials and assemblies selected for the project, which significantly impacts building performance holistically. The relationship between components and trades that is required to ensure continuity of the environmental control layers may not be immediately apparent or intuitive if the contract documents are unsuccessful in presenting the building enclosure as a contiguous and cohesive assembly, composed of inter-related parts. Furthermore, if the contract documents fail to represent the building enclosure’s environmental control layers and trade relationships, the related subcontractor’s obligation will be limited to the installation and performance of their system alone.

This presentation by Adam Ugliuzza, Senior Manager of Building Science Solutions for Intertek, will briefly touch on the history of building enclosure design and performance and the evolution of the materials and assemblies used in construction today. The focus will be on aluminum glazing assemblies, specifically storefront and windows. Typical assemblies and standard interface details will be reviewed while discussing and comparing it with case studies, computer modeling, laboratory certification testing, and field performance testing. A key part to the presentation will be reviewing historic and current detailing and how modern lightweight construction has impacted the interfacing of storefront and window assemblies. The discussion will also overlay the affects building enclosure material, and assembly interfacing has on construction sequencing and schedule and overall building performance.