Unitized Facade Systems: Exploring Options, Trends, and Lessons Learned

Date: May 22, 2019 7:30am
Location: SGH Chicago
sgh chicago seminar

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
135 South LaSalle Street, Suite 3800 
Chicago, IL 60603

7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Registration & Coffee
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. Presentation & Discussion
9:30 - 10:00 a.m. Breakfast Reception

We will also hold an evening session for this seminar.

aia logoParticipants will earn 1.5 AIA/CES Learning Units (LU/HSW) for their attendance. Attendance is free and open to all; please invite colleagues. We will serve refreshments.


Prefabricated building enclosure systems have become popular in the industry because they help project teams streamline construction schedules, reduce construction costs, and improve assembly quality. The current market for prefabricated wall systems is diverse and extensive, ranging from precast concrete wall panels to unitized glass and metal curtain wall systems. In this presentation, we will discuss various approaches to panelizing and unitizing facade systems and review the practical advantages and disadvantages of each, focusing on large shop-fabricated sections of the enclosure, also known as “megapanels.” We will explore design, installation and constructability, coordination, durability, weatherproofing, thermal performance, and other practical considerations for these systems.

After attending this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Understand and describe the basics of unitized exterior wall systems and their various forms.
  • Explain the benefits and disadvantages of each type of unitized system compared to typical stick-built wall systems.
  • Discuss practical considerations and limitations when designing and constructing unitized systems, including.
  • Review current industry trends and how these systems have been implemented successfully on projects.


peter babaian

Peter M. Babaian, P.E., S.E. | Principal 
Peter Babaian is the Building Technology Division Head for Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s Chicago office. His experience includes designing, investigating, and rehabilitating a variety of building enclosures and structures. Peter's projects involve exterior enclosure consulting for new construction, rehabilitating existing structures and enclosures, historic preservation, building enclosure commissioning, investigating non-performing building enclosures, and providing expert services related to construction litigation. Peter is an active member in many professional industry groups. He chairs the Technical Activities Committee at The Masonry Society and serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Building Congress.

chris grey

Christopher N. Grey, P.E. | Senior Staff II – Building Technology
Christopher Grey is member Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s Building Technology group in Boston. He is experienced in investigating, rehabilitating, and designing building enclosure systems on a range of structures, from historic buildings to contemporary high-rise buildings. He specializes in the design, integration, construction administration, and testing of complex building enclosure systems including waterproofing, air and water barriers, roofing, rain screen cladding, and glazing systems, with a focus on design efficiency, constructability, and performance. He works directly with architects, owners, contractors, and manufacturers in both the field and office through all project phases.


  • Owners
  • Facilities Managers
  • Property Managers
  • Contractors
  • Architects
  • Attorneys