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.

Main benefits and uses of automatic barriers

Main benefits and uses of automatic barriers

Traffic barriers are a highly effective way to control the flow of traffic on any large industrial site such as factories or construction sites. They provide complete control for all types of vehicles and provide safety and security within any restricted areas.


Traffic barriers not only provide highly secure entrances to any premises, they’re also great for use at security checkpoints should they be required once a vehicle has already gained access to the main site.

Here we’ve put together the main benefits and uses of automatic barriers:

Benefits of automatic traffic barriers

1. Cost effective

Once installed, automatic barriers usually cost little to maintain and are long lasting. Plus, more cost savings can be made by reducing the need to pay personnel to constantly be present at site entrances. In many instances an effective barrier can literally replace the need to hire staff.

2. High level of security

A really common use of automatic barriers is to provide round the clock security. They’re essentially a physical barrier that prevents any unauthorised vehicles entering your premises. Alongside the barrier it’s also increasingly common to introduce other security measures such as voice intercom and remote control operating. It’s also possible to have a keypad so anyone with a code can easily open the barrier without the need to speak to anyone.

3. Very reliable

Most automatic barriers have very few moving parts which makes them very reliable as there’s little to go wrong. This reduces any burden you might think exists around maintenance or repairs.

Common uses for automatic traffic barriers

When people think of automatic barriers they tend to just think about their use in car parks, but they’re actually very versatile and can be used to meet different needs. So aside from controlling car parks, here’s some uses you may not have considered:

1. Control the flow of traffic

There are many reasons why the flow of traffic will need to be controlled through any business premises or construction site. You might need to simply have control of who enters, or perhaps restrict the number of vehicles that are on site at any time. Plus, if you expect large numbers of vehicles to leave at the same time they can control the flow to avoid accidents.

If you operate multiple traffic barriers within the same premises then they can also be programmed to work in sync to ensure the highest level of safety.

2. Keep a record of who’s entered

Any vehicle passing through your barriers will need to stop for a few moments which is more than enough time for an additional security system to scan the registration or take a picture. There could be many reasons why you specifically need to know who’s entered your site and when they left.

3. Prevent unwanted access

Automatic barriers are fantastic for preventing any unwanted vehicles entering your premises or site. Plus, if there’s a period where you’re not expecting anyone to arrive you can simply set the barrier to be permanently closed. This is great security both in and out of business hours.