All in the Details  
There’s More to Renovation Than You May Know  
b y C r a i g C a r s o n  
few years ago, we had the op-  
The criteria was simple: remove the  
portunity to team with a gen-  
eral contractor and his architect  
on a General Services Administration  
GSA) design-build competition. The  
existing strip window system, as well as the  
aluminum composite panel clad metal stud  
spandrel areas, and provide a new,  
energy-efficient curtainwall.  
purpose was to re-skin a 25-year-old  
private office building that the govern-  
ment had purchased with the intent to  
consolidate several federal agencies  
into one building. There were five de-  
sign-build teams and each of us had ments from the survey.  
ter.This became interesting when these  
our own ideas on how the building Challenge number two was coor- exposed 1-foot, 4-inch centerlines ac-  
should look, how to bring it up to the dinating the removal of the existing tually ranged from 1 foot, 2 inches to  
government standards and how to windows and spandrel panels with 1 foot, 10 inches. We adapted by using  
present the packages to the GSA.  
the general contractor. We needed to various sizes of ½-inch steel plates to  
fill in the curtainwall within a week of span between those embeds and then  
the demo of the area. Because the new attached our anchors to the plate be-  
Meeting a goal  
The criteria was simple: remove the unitized system had its stack joint lo- fore hanging the new wall panels. It  
existing strip window system, as well cated approximately 32 inches above was a simple solution, but it did cause  
as the aluminum composite panel clad the finished floor, the windows and a little head-scratching when we first  
metal stud spandrel areas, and provide spandrel had to be removed two floors uncovered it.  
a new,energy-efficient curtainwall.The ahead so as not to interfere with the in-  
design needed to enhance the look as stallation.Also new for us: this was the logistics and coordination  
well as function of the building—all first project where we had to use the  
Our curtainwall supplier was from  
while maintaining occupancy. Some tower crane to set the units, because Canada, and their engineering team  
structural drawings were still available, the interior floors were occupied. Be- was located in the Midwest. We did  
but the building had to be surveyed to fore this, we had always stocked the have a little problem getting it kicked  
ensure it was still sound and level.  
The submitted designs were all very the floor to set in place.  
good and original; I’m glad I didn’t  
Finally, challenge number three was find and fix the bottlenecks (thank you,  
have to pick the winner, as all could that the building was designed orig- Don Earnheart).  
floors and swung the panels out from off,but they brought in a new engineer-  
ing project manager who really helped  
have won. Ultimately, our general con- inally as a poured-in-place concrete  
What I learned from this experience  
tractor was selected, and the real work structure with embed plates on the is that besides having a great team to  
outside face of the spandrel beam. The work with, you also have to be a detec-  
metal stud installer/fabricator used tive and find out the details of what’s  
these to weld the stud framing to the behind those walls. n  
Working through obstacles  
There were a number of consider- spandrel beam. The engineer of  
ations we had to address as we began record for the building remodel  
our work on the project. The first chal- required that we use these em-  
lenge was getting dimensions from the beds to anchor the new curtain-  
building that we could use to develop wall, even though our anchor  
the unitized curtainwall shop draw- points were on 5-foot centerlines  
ings. Fortunately, we had some great and the embed spacing was a  
layout people to handle the measure- nominal 1 foot, 4 inches on cen-  
C r a i g C a r s o n is the  
regional preconstruction  
manager for Alliance Glazing  
Technologies Inc. in Littleton,  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | December 2016