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Project Management Pioneers – Window Systems in Commercial Construction

3 Window Systems Used in Commercial Construction

Senior Project Manager Steven Takoushian provides three of the most commonly used window systems. Takousian has over 25 years of experience in new construction, capital improvements, and renovation work. Throughout his career, he has managed over two million square feet of development and redevelopment projects for major commercial developments throughout the region. He has also managed over 2 million square feet of various tenant improvement work in the Delaware Valley region.

Storefront – The most economical. Fabricated on-site. Has limitations with only a 10’ maximum height. Can only be installed on first three floors of building.

Storefront is defined as a non-residential, non-load-bearing assembly of commercial entrance systems and windows, usually spanning between the floor and the structure above, designed for high use and strength. Storefront spans should be 10 feet high or less. Typically, storefront is only used on the ground floor of a building but can be used up to the second or third floor. Storefront is typically center glazed and is not self-draining.

Window Wall – Moderately priced system. Typically built from floor to ceiling. Ranges from 14’ in construction.

Window wall systems are commonly used in ribbon window configurations or punched openings. The framing system spans from slab-to-slab and can be installed from the building’s interior to improve logistics and reduce installation costs. Window wall systems can also employ floor slab edge covers that enable the system to mimic the look of a curtain wall system at a significantly reduced cost.

Curtain Wall – Most expensive. Most attractive option. Can either be built on-site or in the factory. Supported by the structure itself hanging on the outside of the frame. No limit in height. Seen in major high-rise buildings.

In the most basic sense of the term, the curtain wall is any non-load-bearing exterior wall that hangs (like a curtain) from the floor slabs. Curtain wall can be 25 feet or higher, depending on the design of the building. Curtain wall typically spans multiple floors and is usually front glazed. It also incorporates a self-draining system.

“Unlike storefront or window walls, curtain walls have to be installed in a sequential manner due to the nature of butting up to an adjacent panel or stacking on top of the panel below it,” said Takoushian.

Related Article:  Storefront vs. Curtain Wall: http://watchdogpm.com/blog/storefront-vs-curtainwall/

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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