Other Tests

Besides offering Façade Consulting, Curtain Wall Testing and Fire Compliance, we conduct various tests for building construction.

IMPACT TESTING for safety glass is now a part of the UAE Fire & Life Safety Code. We are accredited to test standards ASTM E2353, ASTM E935, BS EN 14428, ANSI Z97.1 and CPSC 16 CFR 1201.4. Some of these, as well as load tests, have been conducted under conditions of elevated temperature as Ad Hoc tests (where the test does not exactly follow a standard).

GLASS TESTING refers to the measurement of surface stresses in glass to determine whether it meets the criteria for heat strengthened (HS) or fully tempered (FT). The test is conducted using the GASP (Grazi ng Angle Surface Polarimeter). This is an important measurement as it involves safety glass, to make sure the glass has the right properties for the application. Tests for light and energy transmittance and reflection are conducted in cooperation with an associate lab.

Glass Testing image
Glass Testing image

SITE HOSE TESTS involves spraying water in a prescribed way at the joints in a system as a quick and easy check on whether the system is vulnerable to leakage. It does not confirm the performance in a formal way however – that is done using the Static Water Penetration Test where water is sprayed over the whole specimen while the inside
pressure is reduced by means of a chamber.

The Hose Test, either AAMA 501.2-09 or CWCT Section 9 (for both of which we are accredited), should be employed periodically during construction as a check on workmanship (the design having been validated in the laboratory). It is sometimes used as a basis for accepting the curtain wall at the end of the project.

The alternative, SITE CHAMBER TESTS , have fallen out of favour because they are complicated to set up (requiring the construction of a test chamber on site over usually two floors), and because the on-site Air Infiltration test is now discouraged for continuous systems where air travelling laterally within the system cannot be separated from air coming from the outside, particularly in unitized curtain wall.

AD HOC TESTING applies to tests which either do not follow a standard or follow some modification to one. They are frequently set up to investigate the response of systems where no standards exist. For example, on the Burj Khalifa, it was observed that the male half of the mullion which had a deep n must be much stiffer than the other half — would this mean that a disproportionate amount of the load was transferred through its bracket? Other tests we have done include to observe the effect of load on laminated glass when it is heated, the effect of windblown sand on glass with an anti-re ective coating, and the effect of heating and cooling on coloured laminated glass.

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 as a ‘Special Inspections Agency’ and ISO 17020 for Curtain Walls, Fire Doors, Shaft Wall, and Fire Penetrations and Seals. A number of our engineers hold credentials for the inspection of firestops, penetrations and seals.

THIRD PARTY INSPECTIONS are a big part of what we do, for example to verify the quality of glass, aluminum frames and installation. The contractor or supplier is required to have a quality system which conforms to our standards, and we conduct periodic visits to monitor and check his records to ensure the system is working properly, and that items which do not meet the agreed acceptance criteria are rejected. The low-bid / fixed price contracting system encourages the contractor to economise, so it is only sensible to have systems in place to ensure no sub-standard work makes its way into the project.

TECHNICAL EVALUATIONS relate to issues that come up before, during or after construction. Normally these investigations require an initial visit and preliminary report which we do for a fixed fee, and some instances will require further evaluation which we suggest as appropriate. Many of these relate to glass, particularly the phenomenon of spontaneous breakage in fully tempered glass, colour variation, surface distortion, etc. Other issues concern structural adequacy, humidity, glass or cladding panels disengaging, and many other topics. Recent reports have included an office where 14 foor to ceiling glass panels arranged as office and conference room walls exploded simultaneously (fortunately no one was there), and a barrel-vault skylight with significant structural problems.

ANCHOR BOLT PULL-OUT TESTS confirm the performance of the anchor bolts which connect the curtain wall to the building and transfer human impact and wind loads to the structure. These are of course of vital importance. The load gures given by the manufacturer assume installation in ideal conditions, whereas these rarely obtain on site. The Pull-Out Test uses a simple machine to exert a calibrated tension load on the anchor and verify that it can support the design load.

WHOLE BUILDING AIR LEAKAGE TESTING has become more common with environmental and sustainability codes such as LEED, and ESTIDAMA in Abu Dhabi, where limits are set on the air leakage of the entire building. We are accredited for providing this testing to the following standards:

EN 13829:2001, ATTMA TS1:2007, TSL1:2010 and TSL2:2010

The same equipment is used for Clean Room Testing where high value assets such as data storage are protected by gaseous fire protection systems. It is required that these spaces are checked for air leakage on an annual basis.

BALUSTRADE TESTING is an obvious and inexpensive check on these critical components, particularly when used in public areas. The loads that balustrades or guard rails must take are well specified in codes such as the International Building Code and it is relatively simple matter to set up a test to confirm these loads, either in the laboratory or on site. For lab tests there is the advantage of increasing the load beyond the design figure to evaluate or confirm reserve strength.

ACOUSTIC TESTING conducted on curtain wall mock-ups was pioneered by us. The mock-up testing seems like an obvious opportunity to check this important quality, but as far as we are aware it had not been done before. It does require some small modifications to the chamber because it has to have adequate volume, so is necessarily deeper, but also the construction of the chamber has to have better acoustic performance than the sample we are testing – to eliminate “flanking sound”. We believe that the test we do on full size specimens using the site testing standards is superior to the test done on a small sample in an acoustic laboratory because it represents real conditions. We work with an associate acoustic engineer and can also offer laboratory acoustic testing.