Managing construction interfaces within the building facade
Interfaces, joints and connections between different elements or sections cause more problems than most of the rest of the building. There are challenges during design, manufacture and construction as well as implications throughout the life of the building. These challenges are particularly relevant for the building envelope. Here the joints must perform at the same level as the main areas of wall or roof, but the pressures on them are invariably much greater. They must keep out the weather but, at the same time, accommodate tolerances. and inaccuracies and cater for movements both during construction and for as long as the building lasts. Managing construction interfaces is an important part of delivering a construction project without time delays or cost additions. However the lack of written publications on how to manage interfaces within construction is a problem discovered by the author very early in the research. Therefore the main aim of the research was; to improve the management of interfaces within the construction industry, with particular reference to interfaces within the building facade. The research was based on an EPSRC funded project entitled CladdISS "A standardised strategy for window and cladding interfaces". The methodology included industrial workshops, interviews, regular steering group meetings and a questionnaire. The strategy proposed to increase productivity, quality, reduce waste and reduce costs in design, manufacture, installation, and the building life cycle. The research highlighted a wide range of interrelated problems. However, the two main issues were: Poor communication between the design team and specialist contractors and poor interface detailing. The following situations typically exist: The interface responsibility is assigned too late if at all; the term 'by others' often leads to the interfaces being poorly managed; the design team does not have a good enough understanding of the construction and manufacturing tolerances of materials at the interfaces; often the design team does not have appropriate understanding of the cladding system they are designing; the specialist cladding contractors do not have enough input to the design of the cladding and interfaces early enough. Using the CladdISS strategy will enable the supply chain to be organised and provide a template for effective interface management.