Glass Facade Assessment

May 30, 2004
Publication: Building Facade Maintenance, Repair, and Inspection: ASTM STP 1444 p 230-245
Author(s): Thomas Schwartz

Abstract: Glass is the most widely used building facade material. No other material matches its optical clarity, durability, economy, and ability to control light and heat transfer. Despite these attractive properties, the inherent brittleness and potentially dangerous fracture characteristics of glass will continue to challenge cladding designers and building owners. Since glass makes up such a substantial portion of contemporary building facades, the economic consequences of poor glass performance are significant. This paper presents a brief review of glass in facade architecture, its strengths and weaknesses, and in situ condition assessment techniques. Issues addressed in this paper include glass surface assessment, evaluating glass breakage characteristics, and insulating glass unit durability and performance.