Performance and Aesthetics
Our façade engineers work on the highest calibre projects, providing innovative solutions that meet both performance and aesthetic requirements. Our expertise covers all phases of a project, from inception to completion. We work both on new buildings facades and on existing buildings for restoration, analysis and evaluation of impacts of HVAC systems, heat, air and moisture on the building enclosure. Our experts understand the risks related to façade engineering and construction and we provide the best possible risk mitigation solutions to our clients.
As the primary barrier between the occupants and the elements, the façade system must be strong, fire, water and windproof, but also energy-efficient. Our designs include solutions that make facades more responsive to climate and our experts work closely with building services designers to optimize the whole building performance, reduce energy costs and improve comfort levels.
Designing a façade system encompasses structural engineering, building physics, materials science, weatherproofing technology, architectural detailing, production engineering, construction management and buildability. Our façade experts collaborate with architects and other parties, including structural engineers, MEP engineers, fire engineers, acousticians, lighting designers, interior designers, security consultants and sustainability experts, in order to develop the right solution and to solve all interfacing problems, while maintaining high sustainability standards and cost-effectiveness.
Façade Engineering for High-Rise
The façade is by far the most significant component of a tower. High-rise facades are increasingly complicated as architects design more intricate forms, including details such as multi-sloped surfaces, cantilevers, chamfers, lanterns and canopies. WSP has extensive experience with complex façade systems for tall buildings, allowing us to provide the best possible advice to developers and architects. Additionally, regulations governing energy use and environmental sustainability are forcing a huge shift in the way that facades are designed. Improved passive solar control, with a strong emphasis on external shading, together with active measures to make facades more responsive to the climate are no longer just desirable; they are legal requirements.
Design of Building Maintenance Units
An obvious problem in tall buildings is the accessibility of the façade for cleaning, maintenance and repairs. The expertise of our facade experts includes the design of Building Maintenance Units (BMU) for buildings exceeding 400 m. We advise that façade access be considered within the design process to ensure the best possible solution, while controlling capital and operational costs.
Performance Modelling and Instrumentation
WSP uses leading-edge, computer-based modeling tools to evaluate the thermal performance and moisture resistance of roof, wall and window assemblies. With this information, we are able to develop strategies to:
- Identify, address and control immediate performance problems
- Increase building energy efficiency
- Control biological contaminant growth and corrosion-related deterioration risks
- Lower operating costs
- Improve occupant comfort, safety and satisfaction
- Increase the service life of assemblies or materials
WSP uses state-of-the art instrumentation to measure:
- Full building or enclosure system air leakage performance
- Drying time for various wall components with initial construction moisture
- Condensation risks and effects on enclosure components
- Effects of wind or driving rain on the building’s exterior components
- Repair and retrofit benefits and consequences
Roofing and Waterproofing
WSP's roofing specialists have the skills and experience to consider the roof not just as an individual building component, but the roofing assembly as part of the entire building enclosure. We understand that roof design and performance can significantly impact the condition of the walls as well as the indoor environment. Decades of experience have taught us which systems can be relied on and how roofing systems fail. This means we can deliver authoritative roofing recommendations that you can understand and integrate with your other building needs. Roofing systems are too often viewed as disposable assets. WSP designs new durable roofing for long-term performance. We also provide solutions that cost-effectively extend service life or renew existing roofing. Many of WSP's roof performance experts have prior industry experience in manufacturing and contracting. Several are Canadian members of the Roofing Consultants Institute (RCI). We also participate on ASTM roofing and waterproofing committees and are involved in writing new industry standards.
Building enclosure commissioning (BeCx) is a quality-focused process designed to ensure a building meets the owner’s project requirements and performance objectives. Ultimately, BeCx ensures a building’s quality and durability.
Using a wide variety of diagnostic and testing tools, WSP's building enclosure engineers evaluate the performance of walls, roofs and glazing systems at all stages of the project, including pre-design, pre-construction and construction. Early in the design process, we use performance modeling, such as daylight and glare modeling, and heat transfer/condensation control modeling to assess the impact of performance criteria. We also review proposed details to identify and address issues before they become performance problems. Once construction has begun, we carry out a number of on-site performance tests such as smoke tracing, air leakage, water leakage and thermographic scanning. These enable us to assess the impact of deviations from the building specifications. Our services include field testing and full-scale lab testing support where we review and comment on in-situ or qualified lab curtain wall testing performed by others.