Facade engineering has become a very risky and expensive part of any project, simply because the envelope or the cladding of the building is critical to its weathertightness, safety and security, serviceability, maintenance and structural integrity. In short, the modern facade is a non-loadbaring enclosure of the building, however the suitability of the cladding materials used combined with correct design and installation remain the crucial aspects of any facade. Here at Atom we design for real-life use, not artificial environment. Designing for safety and endurance, we whole- heartedly advocate for tests for performance in use and recommend materials which have been proven not to emit toxic substances. This requires close collaboration with the fabricators, whom we assist in performance testing.
Facade engineers, much like civil and structrual engineers, talk in kilonewtons, kilowatts, kilojoules and kilohertz and since the performance of the facade is affected by the movements and tolerances of the structure, the behavious of the MEP provision, the fire strategy, the required acoustic performance etc., it is good that they do, as such technical lead is often lacking in a general design and build approach which may fail in achieving an effective enclosure of the building.
Facade engineering is a science of its own. The skill set will include matters such as computational fluid dynamics, heat transfer through two- and three-dimensional constructions, the behaviour of materials, manufacturing methodologies, structural engineering and logistics, so it is good that our Chartered Structural Engineers have taken that extra step of understanding what’s involved in effective facade design.
Here too we use BIM (Building Information Modelling), to design various innovative cladding solutions for projects such as Cleveland Clinic, Charles de Gaulle airport, Xscape Milton Keynes, St. Pancras International, Winton School, SMAA School, Oasis School etc. The wealth of expereince gained, has been transformed to excellent value to our clients, while also ensuring that the proposed design meets relevant legislation and standards. While working on the Cleveland Clinic’s project, Atom Consultants developed the original architect’s proposal into a fully modular large-format panelised elevation- a solution which has been used on many other projects as well.