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When we talk about specifying façades we are talking about everything from the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of a project. And each of these stages require their own set of specialist contractors or suppliers that must all be coordinated carefully; otherwise we run the risk of falling behind schedule and missing deadlines.

What is helpful, is involving all these parties at the earliest decision-making stage of the project. Having supplier or installer input at the design stage helps architects and designers with understanding what will be possible and what systems are compatible.

The CWCT supports this idea stating that by not involving all parties from the start can increase the risk of cost and programme over-runs as well as failure to deliver functionality. Instead they recommend delegation and early consultation.

The CWCT also report that they are seeing clients increasingly employ M&E and façade consultants prior to the concept design stage, mainly driven from the intention to better integrate façades with building technologies such as the BMS.

For most designs, functionality and performance of the façade are the key consideration at the client brief and design stage. But arguably the aesthetic is equally important. Which is why finding the right quality supplier makes this process a lot easier.

Key considerations for the development of the client brief:

  • Will it require integration with building technology systems?
  • What are the functionality requirements?
  • What is the budget?

The planning process:

  • Concept design: architect develops concept for design with consultation from building services engineer, façade contractor and façade engineer
  • Procurement: contractors and suppliers appointed
  • Construction: select façade system, if applicable select controls and integration, select fixing system, develop commissioning procedures, confirm design, agree and confirm program and scheduling, write method statements, define the scope and agree the handover procedures

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