Factory inspection visits are vital, yet they unfortunately have a habit of being overlooked. The factory inspection process during the Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) is especially important when it relates to fenestration systems, when any prefabricated components are being installed or when complex architectural glazing is being utilized on a project.
As more and more systems are being fabricated off-site (to minimize not only rising costs of field labor, but also to improve general quality) the importance of reviewing these components in the factory is critical to ensuring that they ultimately will meet the project’s goals. While this process starts on paper with the review and commenting on Quality Control/Assurance plans and discussions with the contractor and their team, it is most important that these steps and processes are verified in the factory setting with project specific materials. Critical components that are commonly verified in factory settings are architectural glazing, metal panels, stone cladding systems, fenestration components, unitized curtain walls, and other specialty systems.
Major points discussed include defining the process in which factory inspections should be approached throughout the design process, determining when they are most critical, identifying common deficiencies, as well as the value that factory inspections bring to a project in terms of reducing risk.
The growing popularity and acceptance of the Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) process, which now allows for the building’s exterior envelope performance to be validated from design through construction, is quickly
In the United States, the current BECx scope and process is defined by ASTM E2813: Standard Practice for Building Enclosure Commissioning, which is based on the National Institute of Building
While every project is different, it is critical during the design phase for the design and construction teams to understand the types of systems proposed for the given building project
Many deficiencies found after or during construction of exterior wall or curtain wall systems can be traced back to an issue in a factory and in many cases are resultant
Factory inspections are critical to the overall BECx process, even if it is not readily apparent in typical Scope of Work documents or RFPs being put out to bid by
Special thanks to Iris Greges and Michael English who without their continued support this paper would have not been possible. Thanks as well to the many close colleagues in the industry to have graciously shared their knowledge and support over the years when it comes to resolving manufacturing and fabrication issues.
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All images by the author.