Some glazing contractors don’t budget enough for appropriate engineering calculations (structural calcs) on projects. Those who do, understand the value of industry expertise. Some glaziers brag, “I’ve got a guy that does it on the side.” The truth is, a structural engineer with industry experience will save you time and money.
Structural engineers with glazing system experience are familiar with industry manufactures and have worked with their components and framing, so you’ll end up with system components and anchors that will work. An experienced engineer will always look at the boundary joints to make sure that excessive movement will not compromise the joint water barrier. In addition, years of experience usually results in a quick turn around using better software, specifically for aluminum curtain wall and storefront design.
Experts in aluminum code won’t over design your project. Aluminum design is specialized and requires adherence to the complex 2010 Aluminum Design Manual. This 469 page book larger is larger than the steel code! Few engineers ever pick up aluminum design, due to it’s specialization. University curriculums for structural engineers focus on steel, concrete and CMU. Aluminum is never used in the design of building or bridge structures so most structural engineers just don’t come across it in their everyday work. This type of experience is essential if you want your glazed system to work without problems for years to come.
So next time you need design calculations, hire experience. You’ll save money in the end.