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Facade engineering

360-degree approach: One stop shop for any and all façade requirements

FAT deliver Consulting Services to Architectural practices at the pre-planning stages, Façade Engineering services to Property Developers at the pre-construction stages, and Design Development for select Façade Contractors at the construction stages.

Our holistic approach can start with technical sketches of early stage facade concepts and can finish with a detailed BIM model of the constructed facade. This specialist know-how is grounded in a track-record of successful delivery of highly demanding and challenging projects, whilst working with prominent and ambitious Clients and internationally recognised Architects.

 

Building Envelope

FAT scope encompasses the entire building envelope: both system and bespoke solutions for all types of Cladding, Glazing, Curtain Walling, Brickslips, Render, Roofing as well as backing structure such as Brickwork, Blockwork, Lightweight Steel Framing and feature elements such as Balconies, Balustrades, Canopies, Louvers, Brise soleil, Fins, Baguettes etc. together with any Secondary Steel Support.

FAT deliverables are typically Technical Submittals, CAD Design, BIM Modelling and Calculation Reports.

 

Deliverables

 

Pre-planning

FAT support architect's creative ambition by providing specialist consultancy and technical solutions to their design aspirations while protecting the design intent.

Architect’s major concern during pre-planning is for the scheme concept to be accepted by planning authorities without later principle design changes or minor amendments due to build-ability issues.

At the pre-planning stages façade input needs to be a part of the feasibility study which must contain a set of solution details descriptively explaining the strategy of how to technically achieve the look of Architect’s intent.

Bespoke elements need to be addressed first followed by an outline façade specification ensuring the proposed design will comply with static, thermal, acoustic and building regulations as well as insurers’ requirements.

 

Pre-construction

Modern schemes with advanced facade elements such as Curtain Walling or Rainscreen Cladding should have a Façade Engineer appointed mandatorily as part of the principle design team to work alongside the Architect, Structural Engineer, M&E, Acoustics, Fire consultant, Building Control etc. in order to deliver pre-construction design for tender with high degree of buildability.

Unless early façade design is informed by site experience, buggetarry overruns and programme delays during later stages are virtually  guaranteed.

Unfortunately this will not become apparent until first issues arise during the tender process. Without solid Stage F design that ascertains principles of construction of all details the process of fixing a price with the sub-contractor will be a protracted and complicated procedure.

In these scenarios sub-contractors with access to Façade Engineering resources will want to enter into a Pre-Construction Service Agreement for a fixed period of time in order to develop and clarify all pre-construction details before being able to fix their bid.

However, more often than not, in order to secure the project the contractor will try to ‘guestimate’ a rate for a particular grey area – this inevitably leads to cost overruns, delays and problems on site later on.

 

Recent RIBA report highlights this:

Contractors attacked architects for a lack of “commercial understanding”. RIBA ambassador for collaboration Dale Sinclair described the results as “disappointing but no surprise”. The report warned: “The larger the project contract value, the more dissatisfied clients are.” One client lamented: “This architect didn’t have the required technical detailing that suited the fast-paced programme. The architect was very focused on visualisations and not build-able details”.

The report concludes: "Architects frequently work for contractors after they have been novated to the role on design and build projects. As part of better conveying design status, novated architects need to disclose more detail on design risks with the contractor’s perspective in mind. What aspects of the design are robust? Where is further design development required? What aspects of the design have still to be drawn?"

 

Construction

Having been directly involved with the sub-contracting sector FAT have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of attention many CAD designers give to the needs of fabricators and installers to ensure that the project runs smoothly and successfully. There seems to be a huge knowledge gap between designers with hands-on experience of fabrication and installation, and those without.

Being obsessed with build-ability and quality design FAT have been lending expertise to select sub-contractors through a refined process allowing our clients to entirely outsource the design development of their façade projects. In this role FAT function as de-facto the client’s internal design department, taking ownership of the design process and with minimal amount of supervision driving the entire process from raising RFIs, negotiating solutions with the principle designer as well as material suppliers in order to be able to glide smoothly through the iterations of design for Approval, Construction and Production.

FAT aim to set new standards - designers must produce the simplest possible details compatible with the overall requirement for the façade performance and appearance.

FAT façade engineering capabilities benefit from our team being compact and nimble so we are able to exceed the capabilities of established industry powerhouses who tend to over-engineer their solutions adding unnecessary cost while not paying enough attention to optimising construction drawings for site use.

FAT are very particular about the quality of design, we worship clear detail drawings and have implemented a strict internal protocol dictating the arrangements of construction and production drawings to ensure high degree of usability for the end user, i.e. the labourer on site. This is to prevent errors and delays during installation – it all comes full circle – back to the principle of build-ability.  

Case studies
  • Paradise street
  • Merano
  • Harrow college