Facade Access
5 min

How can you ensure façade warranty validity?

Posted by: Mohamed Merchant Date: 15 Sep 2022

Did you know that your maintenance programme, cleaning schedule and the external environment of the building all have an impact on your building’s façade warranty validity? In simple terms, the cladding on a building’s façade is expected to “keep the weather out” and it must cope with a range of elemental forces, thermal loss and solar gain. At some point, the integrity of some element of a façade will probably fail and this is when you will need to review your façade warranty, paying particular attention to the conditions and exclusions. 

Façade WARRANTY

Manufacturers usually offer a 5-10-year warranty depending on the façade material. The warranty will be covered by the insurance-appointed specialist façade contractor. However, it’s important to be aware that warranties are conditional and contain exclusions, such as wear and tear, negligence, failure to handle and incorrect installation. 

Building owners must adhere to the warranty contract’s clauses to ensure that the façade system is maintained as per the supplier’s manual. Therefore, the building’s façade access strategy must be incontrovertible and contain back-up solutions to ensure that cleaning and maintenance cycles are unaffected. 

CLEANING

Façade contractors will specify the cleaning regime and frequency, to comply with the manufacturer’s warranty terms. The frequency depends on many factors including:

  • Geographical location of the building
  • Environment surrounding the building, i.e., marine, swimming pool, industrial, or a combination of these environments 
  • Levels of atmospheric pollution
  • Prevailing wind
  • Protection of the building by other buildings
  • Possibility of airborne debris (e.g. sand/dust etc.) causing erosive wear of the coating
  • Changes in environmental circumstances during the lifetime of the building (e.g. rural becomes industrial)

Preliminary data must be available during the design stages to arrive at the most appropriate façade access equipment. Records of all cleaning schedules and frequencies should also be kept and maintained and made available to the façade contractor and manufacturer, if requested. Failure to comply with the recommended cleaning schedule will nullify any warranties.

Defining the access options at the early stages of building design is vital so that the cleaning and maintenance strategies can be developed as part of the entire build programme. Unfortunately, façade access strategy is often given little or no consideration meaning maintenance crews must work around inappropriate planning decisions. For example, many internally glazed buildings have glass which can’t be brought into the completed building due to interior components. This, of course, defeats the object of having internal glazing in the first place. Warranties can also be invalidated by inefficient access strategies like a reliance on extended reach and wash poles.

MAINTENANCE

All glazing systems are subject to some degradation over time by the action of the elements and building movement, so periodic inspection (direct hands-on, close-up examination) and maintenance works should be carried out systematically. For example, a thorough evaluation will include surveying the condition of the various gaskets and seals, to ascertain if the framing components are admitting water into the curtain wall system, as well as evaluating the thermal insulation capabilities of the vision and insulating panels of the system. 

EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

The impact of the external environment also needs to be considered when developing the façade access strategy. While this is beyond the control of the building owner or maintenance organisation, it can nullify warranties. Potential defects caused by the environment must be factored in, and they can be minimised if efficient maintenance strategies are considered early in the process. For example, there is a higher risk to tall buildings because they’re directly exposed to rain and ultraviolet radiation, which causes a greater rate and intensity of deterioration. 

ENSURING MAINTENANCE OF FAÇADE WARRANTIES

So how can you avoid expensive financial costs should your building’s façade fail? To ensure that façade warranties are maintained, the façade access designer must consider various elements such as cleaning, maintenance and environment. Additionally, they should involve all interested parties, including the building owner, cleaning company, cladding manufacturer and structural engineer. Factors that need to be considered when deciding on façade access equipment include building height, façade geometry, industry codes and standards. Without full and thorough consideration of everything that may impact warranty validity, any failure in a façade’s material could prove to be extremely costly.

Need help with your façade access system design?

For more info or to book a meeting, please visit our façade access web page and our team will be happy to help.

 

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