Unitised & Semi Unitised Curtain Walling

The development of Unitised Curtain Walling (UCW) has increased greatly in recent years.  This is largely attributable to factors such as the increase in building height, the demand for recladding of older buildings, and the ever increasing drive to reduce “on site” programmes.  Unitised construction is the façade industry’s reference to “off-site” construction.

UCW consists of manufactured and pre-glazed storey high units or panels normally constructed from aluminium profiles or steel framework that are fully completed prior to going on site, including all fenestration choices from glass, stainless metal panels, insulated spandrels to stone cladding.

While it can be said that with Stick Curtain Walling, the rate of progress on site is slow due to factors such as weather dependency and access requirements, none of these are an issue with UCW as the primary benefit of this option is that installation time is greatly reduced and external scaffolding may not be required.  This can mean a substantial overall cost saving on the project.

Main Advantages
•  Speed of site installation
•  Quality of the finished product is greatly improved as products are machined, assembled, glazed in a factory controlled environment
•  Improved air and water performance due to reduced mastic sealing on site
•  Minimal or no external scaffolding required offering financial savings to the client/main contractor
•  Avoidance of health & safety hazards on sites due to reduced scaffolding requirements
•  Suited to high-rise construction where it is impractical to install Stick Curtain Walling
•  Choice of materials installed in the factory can range from Powder-Coated aluminium spandrel panels, stainless steel panels, thin stone cladding, terracotta tiles, all offering the architect a wide palette from which to choose.

Main Disadvantages
•  UCW construction is perceived as more expensive than Stick Curtain Walling
•  Only suited to larger building projects particularly those of a modular and repetitive design
•  Not suited to most complex and angular façades
•  Longer lead-in times are required and unsuitable for short or compressed programme start dates
•  Build sequence cannot be changed easily or quickly.
•  Sightlines using UCW are greater than Stick Curtain Walling due to the interlocking designs