What are the Structural Requirements of a Curtain Wall System?

Before we go into what the structural requirements of a curtain wall system are, let’s talk about what a curtain wall system actually is. A non-load-bearing exterior wall system designed to provide a protective barrier and support the weight of its own components, a curtain wall system is not there to provide support for any other part of the building it is part of. Its own components might include glazing, panels, and framing. Aluminium curtain walling is a popular choice for architects when designing the facades of buildings. Because of their versatility, a curtain walling system can be used for a wide range of buildings, including vast spaces and curved shapes. However, there are some very specific structural requirements for a curtain wall system, which we can deconstruct as follow.

The Importance of Load Resistance

For safety, security and durability, a curtain wall system must be able to resist various types of loads. These could include wind loads – think hurricanes and storms, dead loads (the weight of the system itself) or live loads – think snow, hailstone or even people leaning on the glass. One factor that is of particular importance in areas where there are regular tremors or earthquakes – such as California or Japan – is the seismic load. These are highly populated areas, which makes them higher risk for fatalities. But they also have some of the most beautiful and modern architecture in the world, some of which have huge curtain wall systems incorporated into them. A curtain wall system should be designed to transfer all these types of loads safely to the building’s structure.

Testing Strength and Stiffness

A curtain wall system needs to possess sufficient strength and stiffness to maintain its structural integrity and resist deformations. Being able to withstand a variety of wind pressures, temperature changes, and other external forces without excessive deflection or movement is essential. One of the biggest benefits of an aluminium curtain walling system is its superior strength whilst at the same time, being aesthetically pleasing.

Water and Air Infiltration Prevention

When designed correctly, a curtain wall system should prevent the penetration of any moisture and air into the building interior. Its construction will include effective weather seals and barriers to ensure that water and air do not compromise the building envelope. Even if a small amount of moisture is allowed in through the system, it can cause longer term, very expensive damage so this part of its design is paramount.

Measuring Thermal Performance

To maintain a comfortable indoor environment and improve energy efficiency, a curtain wall system should provide adequate thermal insulation. This helps minimise heat or cold transfer between the interior and exterior of the building. Of particular importance with this is in establishments such as hospitals and hotels, where people are vulnerable or sleeping.

Essential Fire Resistance action

Depending on the health and fire safety regulations for a particular building or establishment, curtain wall systems may need to meet certain fire resistance requirements. This is taken care of by involving the use of fire-rated glass, fire-resistant materials, and fire-stopping elements within the system. Fire safety is of the utmost importance for the majority of businesses today so ensuring this structural element is usually established during any preliminary design outlines.

Enhanced Acoustic Performance

In some cases, curtain wall systems may need to provide sound insulation to reduce noise transmission from the outside environment. Buildings located in noisy urban areas such as hotels, office blocks or shops will have this as an essential requirement. In addition, any buildings that are located near transportation routes such as an airport or train station will benefit from soundproofing as part of their design.

Durability, Maintenance and Accessibility for the Long Run

A curtain wall system should be designed to withstand long-term exposure to environmental factors, such as ultraviolet (UV) radiation, temperature fluctuations, moisture, and pollutants. Durable materials – such as aluminium, and protective coatings are often used to enhance the system’s longevity. The ease of maintenance and repair of the curtain wall system should also be a consideration and access to the exterior for cleaning, inspection, and maintenance should be provided without compromising safety.

Crucial Engineering – Curtain Walling Experts

Are you are planning on a refurb for the exterior of your building? Or commencing design of a new building and are considering the inclusion of a curtain wall system? If so, it’s important to note that the very specific requirements of a curtain wall system mean that you should, without doubt, consult with design professionals, including architects, structural engineers, and curtain wall specialists. At Crucial, we are experts with decades of experience in curtain walling systems and can ensure compliance with the applicable standards and regulations. As well as providing a friendly, reliable service, we support our clients with every step of an installation and have an award winning team of engineers. Contact us today to talk through your requirements.


The Benefits of Automatic Doors for Schools

As technology continues to reshape our daily lives, all types of businesses and establishments are embracing the power of innovation to help enhance the safety, accessibility and efficiency of their buildings. And whilst not necessarily a place of commerce, Schools are no exception here. One innovation that is proving to be popular and increasingly utilised, is the installation of automatic doors in educational institutions. Looking beyond the simple act of their function of opening and closing, automatic doors offer a myriad of benefits that contribute to a safer, more inclusive, and seamless learning environment. With various types of automatic doors available on the market, from aluminium sliding doors to swing doors, here we take a look at the advantages that they can bring to schools.

Enhancing Safety and Security

It goes without saying that the safety of students is a number one priority in any educational setting. Automatic doors can be a great aid in bolstering security measures. With the option of installing them with advanced sensors and control systems, these doors can provide access management, greatly reducing unauthorised entry. By eliminating the need for manual door operation, automatic doors can also minimise the risk of accidents and injuries caused by slamming doors, trapped fingers, or crowded exits during emergency situations.

Promoting Accessibility and Inclusion

Creating an inclusive learning environment that accommodates individuals of all abilities is now a core principle for most modern schools. Automatic doors significantly contribute to fostering accessibility by removing physical barriers. Students, staff and visitors with mobility limitations or wheelchair users, can effortlessly navigate through entrances without depending on others for assistance. Schools and colleges can be busy places with many people coming and going throughout the day, such as delivery people and catering companies. Automatic doors assist with easy access for any individuals carrying heavy loads in these instances. Promoting independence, inclusivity, and a sense of equality within a school community is a priority today and automatic doors can be a great asset here.

Helping to Streamline Traffic Flow

The heavy foot traffic that schools experience during peak hours, such as morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups can be managed more efficiently with the installation of automatic doors. By swiftly opening and closing and allowing for the seamless movement of students, parents, and staff, congestion is reduced, and the overall efficiency of daily operations is improved. Additionally, automatic doors equipped with programmable schedules can adapt to varying traffic patterns, further enhancing the flow during specific periods of the day. If safety is of increased concern, additional security measures can be introduced, such as card entry and remote access control.

Managing Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

Lots of schools are now including environmental conservation as part of their annual goals and actions. Many are actively seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Automatic doors contribute to energy efficiency by minimising heat loss or gain. Their quick closing mechanism helps to maintain a more consistent air temperature. By regulating the temperature inside the building, automatic doors help to reduced energy consumption and lower utility costs.

Improved Hygiene and Sanitation for Peace of Mind

With the most recent global health concerns, guaranteeing a hygienic and sanitary environment has become a priority for the Heads of Departments and Buildings managers of schools. Automatic doors eliminate the need for the frequent use of traditional door handles. This helps to limit the transmission of germs and bacteria that may reside on them. By integrating touchless operation or hands-free sensors, these doors provide an additional layer of protection against the spread of infectious diseases, contributing to the overall health and well-being of the school community.

A choice of automatic doors

There are a variety of automatic doors that schools can choose from to suit their spaces and requirements. Aluminium sliding doors are aesthetically pleasing and don’t require any additional indoor space since they slide open against themselves. They are also fast opening so are great for educational settings that have a high footfall. Automatic swing doors are easy to install, are an economic option and can be fitted in existing doorways and on existing doors. Both these types of doors can be fitted with access control to support the safety of students.

Crucial Engineering – Trusted Partners for Automatic Doors

As experts in all things aluminium, automatic doors are no exception. Here at Crucial, we provide automatic door solutions for education settings, supporting their safety, security and sustainability aims. With trustworthy, DBS checked engineers, Crucial can be onsite to install your automatic doors without compromising the integrity and safeguarding of your school. If you are looking for a reliable, punctual and transparent service to install automatic doors at your school, contact our friendly team to arrange a chat about your requirements.

Custom Access Solutions for School and Colleges

Custom Access Solutions for School and Colleges

Any person who has had children that have attended an educational setting will tell you that the most important factor about that setting is whether their child is safe. It is probably an assumption that any setting that involves the coming and going of young people would have the appropriate physical safeguarding in one form or another.


Unfortunately, with the amount of bad news we are exposed to, it’s very easy to feel paranoid or fearful about the safety of children at school or college but with the right measures and building management, educational settings can be some of the safest places to occupy for both students and staff.

Here, we have a look at what solutions are available and why they are a great choice for school safety.

Security fencing has multiple benefits

School security fencing comes in many styles and sizes. It’s easy to picture the idea of high fencing around a school premises as being imposing or hostile but in actual fact, it can be a way to not only enforce extra security measures but also look attractive since they can be brightly or tastefully coloured.

Steel fencing is also an excellent way for an educational setting to feel spacious and still have a view of the outside. By comparison, high walling, for example, doesn’t provide the same benefit here since it is blocky and doesn’t let light through. The installation of school fencing ensures that the entire perimeter of the grounds is isolated, in the safest and most unobtrusive way possible, from any intruders or unwanted visitors. A building management team and all faculty can be assured that their jobs are made that bit easier by knowing that students are protected by their school security fencing.

In addition, fencing plays its part even when the school is closed and no one is there, by deterring vandals or thieves. It is a super strong material which prevents fencing from becoming damaged too easily.

Automatic gates and access control systems

When it comes to the entry and exit of school or college grounds for vehicles, in particular, there is no safer measure than the installation of automatic gates. These ensure that only authorised persons can enter when the gates are in operation. Security gates can be controlled via the use of either an intercom system or remote-control entry system. When used in conjunction with security cameras, automatic gates are particularly effective.

If an unexpected visitor arrives, any authorised personnel can operate the gates with the push of a button once they are satisfied with the validity of their visitation and by checking camera’s. Cameras also ensure that footage is recorded if necessary.

There are many styles of automatic gates and a trusted supplier will be able to advise and reassure about what is most suited the grounds in question. They should also provide a force test certificate to prove the strength and efficiency of the gates against any forced entry.

Security for all school entry points

To improve the management of all access points into a school, it’s common for the building management to introduce security access systems on doors. It might seem an extreme measure but it is now extremely routine and provides an extra level of safety for peace of mind.

Most security access systems involve the use of a key card which activates the unlocking of security doors. These key cards can be programmed to give each member of staff a unique level of authority on a variety of doors within a building. Only an authorised person is able to use the security doors, making each room or corridor as safe as possible from unwanted visitors.

Particularly popular within college settings are automatic doors. Whilst most colleges will provide a fairly free style entry and exit system whereby the automatic doors open and close via the use of a sensor, it is possible to adopt a more cautious approach with the installation of entry card access instead. This is similar to the security access control for doors, as discussed above. In this scenario, students and staff are issued with entry cards to gain access to the college at designated spots and anyone without, is required to ring a bell or intercom.

Crucial Engineering – a trusted partner in Educational Security

If you are in a building management role and are researching security solutions for an education setting, Crucial Engineering are experts in their field. At Crucial, we pride ourselves on building and maintaining long-term relationships with clients in the education sector, and provide the value, quality, service and transparency they deserve. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

How safe is your school

Why are schools in the UK struggling with Security and Safeguarding measures?

A recent survey of over 1000 stakeholders within schools suggests they’re are widespread issues relating to school perimeter fencing. Prepared by Jackson Security, the full report has gathered opinions from parents, teachers and specifiers, with many stating their school is struggling to implement effective security and safeguarding measures. They especially highlight poor perimeter fencing and a wide security knowledge gap within senior school staff.

Over 10 million children in the UK attend school every day so security of each location is paramount and absolutely shouldn’t be overlooked. It is unfortunately relatively common to read reports of unauthorised people easily gaining entry to school grounds so the demand for robust but also effective perimeter security is ever growing, all at the same time as decreased budgets.


With security in schools there is of course a delicate balancing act to find. Not only are budgets stretched but being overzealous with security can make a school seem particularly uninviting, and not a place where students can enjoy their learning experience. No school wants to look or operate like a fortress, but the absolute minimum they should be providing is a highly secure environment.


Plus, when there is an incident it’s been found that after a brief investigation many new security initiatives are knee-jerk and have never been designed to provide long-term effective security. New measures often don’t remain in place very long as once the event in question has left people’s memory, new policies are also quickly forgotten. These short term fixes often include regular patrols and inspections of school perimeters and temporary alarms that sound should their be a breach. More long term school security should include automatic gates and doors that can easily be locked during school hours. These measures can become highly efficient with the addition of video intercoms and remote fob operations.


The report includes findings that highlight current perimeter security, particularly fencing and gates are failing to fulfil their purpose. Over 80% of school fencing has been inspected over the last 5 years, so perhaps some of the responsibility needs to land at the feet of these inspectors who are either missing key design flaws or simply don’t possess the knowledge to see them. The number of schools that fail Ofsted reports due to poor safeguarding and security is growing.


Crucial have a wealth of expertise and experience providing perimeter security to many different types of education establishment. From barriers and fencing, to automatic doors and gates we can provide a tailored solution to meet your needs.


The full report titled “Protecting The Future” can be downloaded from Jackson Security.