Along with an excellent design team with a design for manufacture mind set, one of the other main key ingredients to executing a successful unitised curtain walling project is making sure you have in place and BEFORE you start an excellently controlled well-oiled supply chain. A unitised curtain walling project needs to be visualised and mapped as an assembly line starting at estimation and running right through design, procurement, manufacturing, installation to hand over on site. In order for the project to be successful this assembly line must be managed meticulously with as much precision and planning as an automotive line. With unitised curtain walling you really are “only as good as its weakest link”
Its only Unitised, a statement you perish on!
A unitised curtain walling panel is a completed assembled section of the external envelope which may contain some or all of the following curtain walling parts, Aluminium Profiles, Steel Profiles, Steel inserts, Aluminium Panels, Galvanised Panels, Insulation, EPDM, Glass, Gaskets, Steel brackets, Aluminium Brackets, Fixings and Sealants. To complicate matters even more, all of these parts can come from different suppliers from different countries with different lead times and some components may have multiple steps to go through in order for it to be fit for purpose such as fabrication then powder coating, not to mention that you have a curing time when structurally bonding glass to the unitised frames and they must remain horizontal. The fun part is ensuring that despite all this, all of the required components must end up on the production line at the same time with the drawings, otherwise the unitised panel even without only one screw cannot be completed.
What happens when your supply chain is uncontrolled?
“Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” it really is that simple. Unlike stick curtain walling, a poorly managed unitised curtain walling supply chain usually shows up first in the factory which can result in some or all of the following issues,
- Production line is running only in some cells, its running slowly or fully stopped
- Incomplete unitised Panels scattered throughout the factory with missing components taking up space
- Double handling unitised panels in the factory, stacking them until correct materials finally arrive
- Overtime goes through the roof trying to pull the project back in
- Panels arriving to site in the wrong sequence that cannot be installed in the right sequence
- Complete confusion, site ends up telling the factory which panels they need first, Quality suffers
- Cash flow on project goes out the window (excuse the pun) due to delays
- Client not happy, staff not happy
- You lose future business
Then why unitised curtain walling
The benefit of unitised to traditional Stick Curtain Wall when you get it right is twofold, the installation costs associated with Unitised are far less than traditional Stick as there is far less installation involved and it gets installed in a far shorter period of time 15 panels – 30 panels per day, the Quality of installation is also far better as most of the installation work is actually carried out in a controlled factory environment before it goes to site.