Building designs and code changes are continuously evolving to provide safer, more-energy efficient buildings. This constant evolution adds more than just the newest technology to the mix, it adds layers of complexity and risk that must be accommodated as buildings are built.
As the designs and regulations evolve, the technology and products are changing as well, engineered to meet the new requirements of the codes, and changing tastes of owners and their tenants.
To top it all off, when something goes wrong on a project, the first thing everyone points to is poor installation by the contractor or sub-contractor. No contractor wants to be on the hook for costly rework or even costlier litigation. This is why it’s imperative to not just follow the codes to a tee, but to use products that make it easier to accomplish, regardless of the project.
What is a wall assembly?
A wall assembly is a set of products from several manufacturers that collectively meet design requirements for a given application. Often, a project specification can include multiple products from a variety of manufacturers.
The installing contractor must choose from this list for compatibility and system performance, but vague details and little direction places more responsibility on the contractor to get it right. When all the pieces are assembled, will the wall assembly be code-compliant and functional?
That’s tough to predict when all the different products are not tested as a system. Each product may have been tested separately, but how will the products perform when assembled?
Technical and application support may be limited among manufacturers. Each manufacturer might be very familiar with their product, but it’s unlikely they will know much about the other products used in the assembly and how their product works in conjunction with the other products specified in the assembly. Not to mention, warranties for each product may be different by manufacturer. The onus is on the contractor to either know all the products specified for a project or to use products from a single manufacturer.
What is a wall system?
A wall system is defined as a set of products that are designed, tested, detailed and supported by a single manufacturer to perform a specific function, including architectural details specific to the wall system. They are tested as a fully integrated system to meet code compliance and testing requirements.
A wall systems manufacturer will have technical and application consultants available with extensive experience solving real-world construction problems using their system. Plus, the wall system is warrantied as a system by the manufacturer, alleviating risk from the general contractor and applicator.
Wall systems reduce complexity and increase efficiency and savings while still delivering durability, code compliance and unlimited design options compared to piecemealing a wall assembly. The transitions between cladding materials are reduced or eliminated, and the whole job can be installed by one team, resulting in fewer trades to manage, again reducing costs and complexity.
When considering these factors, choosing an integrated wall system over a piecemealed assembly of products will reduce complexity and increase efficiency when installing and deliver a better final result that will stand the test of time.
To learn more about fully integrated wall systems explore our comprehensive portfolio of products or contact us for more information.