High-Rise Building Movements and Façade Design

Michelle Bacellar
Technical Director
Al Ghurair, Dubai

External loads on high rise buildings cause them to move, and these movements transpose within the building frame as lateral deflection (building sway), inter-story racking, building twist, column/core wall shortening, edge of slab deflection and a vast combination of movements resulting from temperature changes.

It is an essential performance requirement for the external skin/façade of a high-rise building to accommodate these movements. Façade joints must be designed so that the façade panels can safely articulate to accommodate all the movements the building will witness during its’ design life, ensuring that there will be no stress or loads transferred to the cladding panels.

This presentation presents different methods of building movement analysis and façade joint design. Case studies present the relationship between a façade system and movement allowances.The presentation reviews different movement behaviors and assumptions, and their possibility of occurrence.

Building movements are an important part of façade design, especially on high-rise buildings where the movements are greater. Detailed façade joints analysis has been ignored or loosely specified by designers in the past, causing unexpected façade failures, such as panel stacking and glass breakage after building completion.

New technologies coupled with past experiences enable accurate façade joint design when considering building movements, thus resulting in a high-performing façade system for the new generation of high-rise buildings.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation