Façade Consulting

FAÇADE CONSULTING describes a range of services both during the design or pre-tender stage, called Pre-Construction, and during the actual construction called Post-Award or Construction Phase Services. Pre-tender work typically comprises advising the architect/ engineer during the concept design phase, providing the technical specifications and typical details, and subsequently a technical review of tenders.

During the construction phase we provide review of structural calculations, shop drawings, technical submittals and samples, and we conduct factory and on-site inspections of the work. It has become the norm to include this independent review in the sub-contractor’s scope so that payment comes out of the contract sum.

Every curtain wall project should have an independent specialist Façade Consultant on board. The contractor’s guarantee is valid for at most 10 years, while the owners need a system which is going to perform properly and look good for at least 30 years. Premature curtain wall failure means premature building replacement and huge consequential economic loss. That is why prudent developers want us on their team. Our consulting department is headed by Ms. Sandy Dweik, MSFE. Sandy has been with us since 1997 and is a co-owner of the company. She is extremely well known in the industry and universally respected.

UKAS logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory 4439​
GAC Accreditation Center logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory ATL 0017

Post your project

FAÇADE CONSULTING describes a range of services both during the design or pre-tender stage, called Pre-Construction, and during the actual construction called Post-Award or Construction Phase Services. Pre-tender work typically comprises advising the architect/ engineer during the concept design phase, providing the technical specifications and typical details, and subsequently a technical review of tenders.

During the construction phase we provide review of structural calculations, shop drawings, technical submittals and samples, and we conduct factory and on-site inspections of the work. It has become the norm to include this independent review in the sub-contractor’s scope so that payment comes out of the contract sum.

Every curtain wall project should have an independent specialist Façade Consultant on board. The contractor’s guarantee is valid for at most 10 years, while the owners need a system which is going to perform properly and look good for at least 30 years. Premature curtain wall failure means premature building replacement and huge consequential economic loss. That is why prudent developers want us on their team. Our consulting department is headed by Ms. Sandy Dweik, MSFE. Sandy has been with us since 1997 and is a co-owner of the company. She is extremely well known in the industry and universally respected.

UKAS logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory 4439​
GAC Accreditation Center logo image
ISO 17025 Laboratory ATL 0017

How it works

The Facade Consulting Team is headed by Sandy Dweik (Vice President & Chief Facade Consultant) together with experienced and hardworking Engineers who made TBWIC known for its integrity and professionalism.

Sandy Dweik (Vice President & Chief Consultant) – A Member of the Society & Facade Engineers, Sandy manages the Consulting Team and allocates TBWIC resources according to project requirements. She also supervises the training and development of TBWIC team members. Liaising with Consultants on new projects, she has prepared with the assistance of the design team full Pre-Tender Packages and reports. She has performed Professional Quality Assurance services for curtain walling comprising specifications writing, shop drawings review, technical consulting and site inspections on many projects.

Mutaz Saheb (Senior Facade Consultant) – He is in charge of handling projects during the shop drawings approval phase and he leads the inspection team during construction. He performed detailed inspection for glass distortion, colour variation and breakage at site. The same applies to investigation of facade and cladding system failures.

With today’s modern designs advanced solutions are required for Facades as well. Expectations for quality and performance are exceeded on many projects to meet sustainability and durability requirements.

While the specification includes a ten year warranty, the owner expects the Facade to last for the expected life time of the building, which is around 25 years. Facades used to be designed to keep the people in and keep the weather out; nowadays they also have to give a visual and a technical statement.

Each project is unique in its own way, in most cases no two facades are alike, the same applies to solutions and systems. With our vast experience in the Curtain Wall and Cladding field we have been exposed to many systems and solutions which we carry with us to each new project we get involved in.

Our team at Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants can assist you with innovative designs, preparation of a Tender Package, and proposal and solutions to meet your aesthetic requirements. At post tender stage we offer assistance in verification of systems and submittals, technical consulting, and thorough inspections and monitoring of the Contractor’s Quality Control systems.

Inspections start at early stages of the project. Evaluation of Contractors inside or outside the UAE has become a necessity for many projects. The Contractor’s technical capabilities and capacity can have a major effect on award.

Inspections are recommended to start at the fabricator’s premises. Many components could not be inspected after units are assembled and transported to site. Inspection of the tested elements before start of fabrication is also very important. In brief, the inspection process is a very complicated process which should be discussed with the project team to decide how to go ahead and serve the project best.

Approval of quality control plans for fabrication and installation should be done at early stages. Close attention should be paid for compliance to specification and international standards.

Site inspections start with the installation of inserts and brackets on the building. Each stage requires its own quality control procedures.

Our highly qualified team of Inspectors and Engineers are there to insure the Contractor is following proper quality control procedures. Compliance to approved shop drawings, international standards and project specification is closely monitored to ensure good quality to the building Owner.

We are now accreditted with IAS (International Accreditation Service) providing the special inspections that are required for specific construction projects under Chapter 17 of the International Building Code (IBC) and AC291, the IAS Special Inspection Agency Accreditation Program which is primarily based on the requirements of the IBC and the applicable portions of ISO/IEC 17020(General Requirements for the Operation of Various Bodies Performing Inspection).

With today’s modern designs advanced solutions are required for Facades as well. Expectations for quality and performance are exceeded on many projects to meet sustainability and durability requirements.

While the specification includes a ten year warranty, the owner expects the Facade to last for the expected life time of the building, which is around 25 years. Facades used to be designed to keep the people in and keep the weather out; nowadays they also have to give a visual and a technical statement.

Each project is unique in its own way, in most cases no two facades are alike, the same applies to solutions and systems. With our vast experience in the Curtain Wall and Cladding field we have been exposed to many systems and solutions which we carry with us to each new project we get involved in.

Our team at Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants can assist you with innovative designs, preparation of a Tender Package, and proposal and solutions to meet your aesthetic requirements. At post tender stage we offer assistance in verification of systems and submittals, technical consulting, and thorough inspections and monitoring of the Contractor’s Quality Control systems.

In some cases unexpected results occur on projects when it comes to facades. Those can be functional such as breakages, failure or leakage or they can be aesthetic such as glass distortion or colour variation.

Our role as facade experts varies from inspections and preliminary evaluation of problems to conducting full studies and surveys.

Non conformance to good practice and sound engineering concepts has been encountered during our investigations. In other cases an issue perceived by other parties to be defective might be within the limits acceptable by standards.

Choosing the right type of glass for the building is not an easy task. Requirements for residential buildings are much different than those of office buildings or hotels. Many trends come to different markets which might not be suitable in terms of climatic or social requirements. Therefore as Facade Consultants we have to be very careful in understanding the Client’s requirements.

One of our projects that had very unique requirements is the screen between Dubai Mall and the Ski Slope, while the glass had to provide the proper insulation between the cold environment and the mall area it also had to give a clear image for those interested in watching the activities at the ski side.

Glass Consulting also includes investigation of spontaneous breakage, distortion, humidity problems and discoloration. Having a facade consultant on board from the beginning could spare many parties lengthy disputes at the end of the project and a clearer expectation for end results.

With the growing expectations for Green Buildings many systems such as LEED and Estidama are being adopted and implemented to create a new generation of buildings that are more harmonized with the environment. Building Envelopes are an important component of this equation that can either enhance to or reduce the efficiency of this exercise.

Achievement of a green rating for a building is a team work. The Facade Consultant has to work closely with the other team members to understand the goal they are trying to achieve. Targets set by the Sustainability Consultants, Architects, and MEP Consultants should be discussed at early stages.

Proposals to meet the expected ratings can vary from the integration of photovoltaic cells to maintaining the required views to proposing smart shading elements. An understanding of the project nature, budget, and intent is very important to achieve the required goals and ratings.

This is oriented to Aluminium Contractors’ personnel. TBWIC have successfully provided technical training for designers, installers and draftsmen. In many cases, bringing an outside specialist to present basic and advanced concepts to the Contractor’s team can be a very good exercise. The amount of progress can reach a certain limits only for some of the team members and the amount of information that can be exchanged during working hours can be limited. For this reason all companies look for external training for their staff, but in our field this cannot be found easily. This were we can assist and achieve this.

We can prepare a package to suit the level of information you are looking for and we can simplify it in many languages such as Arabic or Hindi. Educating installers and designers might in turn help you avoid making many mistakes that are only noticeable at late stages.

It is easy to assume from the clean appearance of a beautiful glass curtain wall that it is a simple system using tried and tested components — but of course nothing in life is so simple. These systems combine aluminium, steel, rubber, glass and high tech sealants. Since there is virtually no formal education or trade apprenticeship scheme in the industry (the CWCT in Bath, in the UK is an important exception) these are designed and put together by people who have generally learned (or are in the process of learning) by trial and error. The company that won the contract to provide the curtain wall was most likely the lowest bidder with every incentive to keep their costs as low as possible with low cost components and cheaper labour and administration.

A second factor is that future repair or maintenance of the curtain wall is extremely costly and difficult. The movement joints and connections to the building are hidden in the spandrel areas, which are very difficult to inspect from either the inside or the outside due to the presence of interior finishes, fire separation in that space, back-pans behind the glass, thermal insulation etc. Although it is possible, curtain walls are rarely (perhaps never) designed to facilitate such inspections.

The curtain wall is expected to last the life of the building — it’s not like a roof which you replace after 20 years. The reasons are readily apparent: the curtain wall is a repetitive system of components and connections so if a fault shows up it’s likely to affect the whole building, but repairs requiring access to the spandrel areas are generally not practical. Replacement is very difficult: even if it could be done progressively there would always be an area of the building with no outside walls or protection from the elements. The spaces would have to be vacated, and all of the wall, floor and ceiling finishes adjacent to the curtain wall would have to be repaired or replaced. At the same time, access to the exterior of a completed building is difficult because the window washing system is not designed for lifting glass or unitized panels and temporary provisions have to be made, moved around the building and maintained while the work is done.

It can be assumed that problems which would require the replacement of the curtain wall would not occur until some time in the mid life of the building, at which time other systems, mechanical, electrical and finishes, which normally can be replaced over time, would also be tired. Since the building has been vacated, it would make sense to overhaul these at the same time as replacing the curtain wall. However this is going to add hugely to the cost — so much so in fact that demolition and building anew would look more attractive, particularly to lenders. It is not difficult to imagine that this crisis occurs at around the same time the original building finance is paid off and the income becomes really good. This huge loss of income over perhaps several decades could have been avoided by having a qualified facade consultant making sure that the original work was specified and executed properly with the correct materials. Looked at this way, Facade Consulting is about the best value for money insurance that you can find anywhere.

Team, Expertise

The Facade Consulting Team is headed by Sandy Dweik (Vice President & Chief Facade Consultant) together with experienced and hardworking Engineers who made TBWIC known for its integrity and professionalism.

Scope of services, philosophy

Characteristically, a Curtain Wall is often defined as thin, aluminum-framed wall, containing in-fills of glass, metal panels, or thin stone. Curtain wall frame is attached to the building structure and does not carry the floor or roof loads of the building. 

Curtain wall & other facade elements require performance testing to evaluate if it’s design principle has been met & is structurally safe, and if it’s assemble and installation can guarantee a good shield for the complete building.

Inspections

Inspections start at early stages of the project.  Evaluation of Contractors inside or outside the UAE has become a necessity for many projects.  The Contractor’s technical capabilities and capacity can have a major effect on award.

Inspections are recommended to start at the fabricator’s premises.  Many components could not be inspected after units are assembled and transported to site.  Inspection of the tested elements before start of fabrication is also very important.  In brief, the inspection process is a very complicated process which should be discussed with the project team to decide how to go ahead and serve the project best.

Special Inspections

Special Inspections is the third-party monitoring of materials, construction procedures, and workmanship while work is in progress, as specified in the Abu Dhabi Building Code (based on the International Building Code ˜IBC’ 2009) Chapter 17, and the UBC code.

We are accredited by IAS to AC 291 and ISO 17020 for (at the time of writing) Curtain Walls, and Fire Penetrations and Seals.  Abu Dhabi has implemented their new code as of October 2014 for government buildings initially, and we are moving to be able to support them with the full spectrum of Special Inspections.

Investigations

In some cases unexpected results occur on projects when it comes to facades.  Those can be functional such as breakages, failure or leakage or they can be aesthetic such as glass distortion or colour variation.

Our role as facade experts varies from inspections and preliminary evaluation of problems to conducting full studies and surveys.

Non conformance to good practice and sound engineering concepts has been encountered during our investigations.  In other cases an issue perceived by other parties to be defective might be within the limits acceptable by standards.

Glass Consulting

Choosing the right type of glass for the building is not an easy task.  Requirements for residential buildings are much different than those of office buildings or hotels.   Many trends come to different markets which might not be suitable in terms of climatic or social requirements.  Therefore as Facade Consultants we have to be very careful in understanding the Client’s requirements.

Green Buildings

With the growing expectations for Green Buildings many systems such as LEED and Estidama are being adopted and implemented to create a new generation of buildings that are more harmonized with the environment. Building Envelopes are an important component of this equation that can either enhance to or reduce the efficiency of this exercise.

Technical Seminars

This is oriented to Aluminium Contractors’ personnel.  TBWIC have successfully provided technical training for designers, installers and draftsmen.  In many cases, bringing an outside specialist to present basic and advanced concepts to the Contractor’s team can be a very good exercise.

Why Facade Consulting

It is easy to assume from the clean appearance of a beautiful glass curtain wall that it is a simple system using tried and tested components — but of course nothing in life is so simple.

These systems combine aluminium, steel, rubber, glass and high tech sealants. Since there is virtually no formal education or trade apprenticeship scheme in the industry (the CWCT in Bath, in the UK is an important exception) these are designed and put together by people who have generally learned (or are in the process of learning) by trial and error. 

ACCREDITATION

Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants is Accredited to ISO/IEC 17020:2012 by International Accreditation Service, Inc. for Fire Stop Products, Fire Doors, Fire Rated Gypsum Dry Walls/Shaft Walls and Accredited to ISO/IEC 17020:2012, Type A for Wall Panels, Curtain Walls, and Veneers, Penetration Firestop Stops and Fire Resistive Joint Systems.

ISO 17020 Inspection Body AA-748
ISO 17020 Special Inspections Agency SIA-211

IAS​

IAS Accredited logo image
ISO 17020 Inspection Body AA-748
IAS Accredited logo image
ISO 17020 Special Inspections Agency SIA-211
IAS Accredited logo image
ISO 17020 Special Inspections Agency SIA-211

CLIENTS

Since 1995 we have provided our specialist knowledge and expertise on over 1,000 of the region’s major architectural projects.

TESTIMONIALS

Having worked on many prestigious projects, our Clients have always been satisfied with our input and have always recommended us for more. We are proud to present some of our Clients’ testimonials under Facade Consulting, Curtain Wall Testing and Fire Testing.