Facade Mock-ups

Laboratory Testing of Glazing Systems as Part of a Quality Assurance Program

Overview

Authors

Photo of Andy Lang, AScT

Andy Lang, AScT

Principal / Facade Specialist

Morrison Hershfield

alang@morrisonhershfield.com


Keywords


Abstract

Curtain walls and window walls are typically specified to meet a variety of different performance and testing criteria, some of which can be quite stringent. Several such requirements are defined in specific codes and industry standards, including, but not limited to, 2015 requirements of the National Building Code of Canada, the International Building Code, AAMA 501 - Methods of Test for Exterior Walls and ASTM E2099 – Standard Practice for the Specification and Evaluation of Pre-Construction Laboratory Mock-ups of Exterior Wall Systems. Full scale laboratory mock-up testing of glazing systems can provide a valuable demonstration of the systems’ ability to perform to specified requirements. This paper assesses the importance of lab testing as part of a quality assurance program and will present a variety of different failures that have occurred during laboratory mock-up testing, which revealed deficiencies in the design, assembly, or installation of the glazing systems. Glazing systems addressed include full scale laboratory mock-ups of curtain walls and window walls. Failures discussed include instances of water penetration, structural failures, and excessive air leakage. Corrective measures that were implemented in the mock-up are discussed, as well as modifications that were made to the system design and/or assembly methods to address the failures. Potential future consequences that may have arisen had lab testing not been undertaken are also presented.

With many building designers and owners desiring unique building aesthetics, use of customized glazing systems is not uncommon. Alternatively, modifications are made to “off the shelf” or more standardized glazing systems to accommodate specific aesthetic designs. Some of these modifications may have an impact on the performance of the glazing system. Recommendations are provided on when project-specific laboratory mock-up testing should be considered as part of the quality assurance program, as well as identify test procedures that should be included in the testing program and procedures that typically provide lesser benefit and may be considered optional. This paper is intended to assist architects, developers, and facade consultants in deciding when project-specific laboratory mock-up testing should be undertaken and which tests should be included.

Introduction

Project-specific laboratory performance mock-up testing of facades can add considerable cost to a project and takes many months to plan and execute. Despite this, the cost and time spent may

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Typical Laboratory Test Procedures

Full scale laboratory testing is typically undertaken on a 2-or more story high mock-up of the façade system. This may consist of a single facade system or multiple systems, depending

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Test Failures and Corrective Action

The following are examples of test failures, the causes, and corrective actions that were taken to correct the problems. These include water penetration, structural failures, and excessive air leakage.

Water Penetration

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Conclusions

Undertaking full-scale laboratory mock-up testing of glazing systems can carry a significant cost that may reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Strong justification of the benefits of the

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Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank various colleagues who were present during some of the laboratory mock-up testing and whose photographs were used in this report.

Rights and Permissions

ASTM Standard E283-04(2012): “Standard Test Method for Determining Rate of Air Leakage Through Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, and Doors Under Specified Pressure Differences Across the Specimen”, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2012.

ASTM Standard E330/E330M-14: “Standard Test Method for Structural Performance of Exterior Windows, Doors, Skylights and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2014.

ASTM Standard E331-00(2016): “Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference”, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2016.

ASTM Standard E2099-00(2014)e1: “Standard Practice for the Specification and Evaluation of Pre-Construction Laboratory Mockups of Exterior Wall Systems”, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2014.

AAMA 501-15: “Methods of Test for Exterior Walls”, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, IL, 2015

AAMA 501.1-17: “Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Windows, Curtain Walls and Doors Using Dynamic Pressure”, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, IL, 2017

AAMA 501.4-18: “Recommended Static Test Method for Evaluating Window Wall, Curtain Wall and Storefront Systems Subjected to Seismic and Wind-Induced Inter-Story Drift”, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, IL, 2018

AAMA 501.5-07: “Test Method for Thermal Cycling of Exterior Walls”, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, IL, 2007

AAMA 501.7-17: “Recommended Static Test Method for Evaluating Windows, Window Wall, Curtain Wall and Storefront Systems Subjected to Vertical Inter-Story Movements”, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, IL, 2017