Volume 11 | Issue 5 | Year 2008

Rawing upon established relationships built throughout the years of providing high quality design and manufacturing of custom unitized, pre-glazed curtain wall systems, Aluminum Curtainwall Systems Inc. continues to be the standard in the industry.

A curtain wall is a term used to describe a building façade – typically glass – which is designed to resist air and water infiltration, wind forces acting on the building, seismic forces and its own dead load forces. Curtain walls do not carry any dead load from the building other than its own dead load. These loads are transferred to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building.

These connections use aluminum frames that are typically infilled with glass, which creates an architecturally good looking building. In addition, it allows for day lighting which is another benefit.

Aluminum Curtainwall Systems Inc., located in Kamloops, B.C., Canada, is a progressive company tailored to meet customers’ project specific performance requirements while satisfying their budgetary constraints. Established in 2000, the company began assembling a team of qualified staff and designing a quality product that are now responsible for the design and manufacturing of curtainwall systems based on the customer requirements.

And that is where Aluminum Curtainwall separates itself from the competition. The company has a product development group that builds systems based on the customer specifications and not “offthe- shelf” products. According to Gary Lawrence, vice-president of marketing, it takes about eight to 12 months for a system to go from product inception to completion.

With such a long development cycle Lawrence says getting the customer’s requirements right is paramount. Lawrence says the dynamics of the company’s personnel are such that they can provide effective solutions to major design challenges. Any difficulties encountered by the team in building interface, materials management and specialty design are competently handled through the company’s trained and professional staff.

It starts with the design staff that is responsible for all of the technical drawings associated with any services the company offers. These range from custom die drawings to fully detailed construction drawings, all of which are generated with the latest release of CAD software on NT workstations. Aluminum Curtainwall also offers drafting services required for a custom or traditional curtainwall enclosure.

The most impressive aspect of the company is the dedication to completing the particular job within the customer’s time expectations, says Lawrence. He indicates a commitment to training and technological advancement is the reason Aluminum Curtainwall is above the rest of the industry. All design work, proposals, shop drawings and details are generated on CAD workstations that are easily relayed to the client, project architect or the contractor through conventional or electronic means.

Once designed the manufacturing staff takes over. This group consists of a collection of highly-skilled technicians, experienced in the glazing construction. The company employs numerous individuals from around the world and draws upon the diversity of methods and experience of these people from such places as Europe, Canada and Asia.

Lawrence says the company applies the lessons from different areas of the world to the projects, which makes the solutions that much stronger. Currently, the company employs about 45 fabrication staff as well as an extensive, experienced office staff to service the clients.

Further, Aluminum Curtainwall uses a non-unionized approach, which Lawrence says can eliminate the risk of strike interruptions and maintain a healthy relationship among all staff.

Aluminum Curtainwall has a commitment to each of the employees and fosters a team approach to all projects. This ideology promotes teamwork and communications throughout all departments and is responsible for getting projects completed on time if not ahead of schedule.

Curtainwalls were originally used to protect medieval castles and were built of stone. Today, the style of a building is typically determined by its windows. Curtain walls differ from storefront systems in that they are designed to span multiple floors, and take into consideration design requirements such as: thermal expansion and contraction; building sway and movement; water diversion; and thermal efficiency for cost-effective heating, cooling, and lighting in the building.

Aluminum Curtainwall offers a wide range of customized systems based on proven principles. The material is fabricated, staged and assembled just-in-time to better manage costs and minimize materials waste. The pre-fabricated curtainwall panels allow for quick installation times on job-sites and enables higher volume work output.

The goal of a curtainwall is the occupant’s comfort; that is, regulating temperature and enhancing the visual aspect from both looking at and looking out of the building. To that end external shading devices are just one of the strategies available to provide appropriate temperature controls. An external shading device is designed to limit the internal heat gain resulting from solar radiation and is incorporated in the building façade. Most commonly these take the form of horizontal aluminum sunshades attached above windows on south facing walls. Vertical louvers also are effective for east and west facing windows.

Typical installations today are usually characterized by a light weight durable solid or louvered panel located along the top of south facing windows. The shade may be horizontal or sloped to shed water and snow. Aluminum Sunshade devices are usually in conjunction with other strategies such as high efficiency glazing and window coverings.

And that’s where Aluminum Curtainwall’s sister company comes in. Inland Glass and Aluminum, Ltd. has built a reputation as being an innovative glazing contractor across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

In the past mechanical systems provided sufficient thermal control. But with external shading devices the customer gains a passive means to achieve occupant comfort. The technology is not new but Aluminum Curtainwall has perfected it and their systems reduces cooling loads, increases occupant thermal comfort, reduces glare and enhances architectural design.

Lawrence says the company has a client base throughout Canada and the United States and handles roughly 15 to 20 projects per years. He says the company enjoys a large volume of repeat business but indulges new customers in “a lot of hand holding when they first come on aboard.” From on-site personnel to assist in the construction to training programs for the uninitiated, Aluminum Curtainwall provides design services for all standard and custom applications.

The company has successfully completed several highly custom projects in Western Canada and currently is looking to land high profile jobs throughout North America. Lawrence says they are currently working on a 600,000-square-foot hotel in Las
Vegas, Nev.

From high rise and multi story curtainwall facades, custom overhead glazing systems, entrance systems and sunshades to smaller glass jobs Aluminum Curtainwall has been in front of the building for the past 34 years. Regardless of specifications or budget, a solution will be found to allow the customers’ visions to materialize in metal and glass.

As an independent company with strong, proficient management and personal commitment from the staff, Aluminum Curtainwall is able to bring the highest standards of quality to each project. Whether the design is traditional or complex, the company will actively participate with the building designer and/or developer from inception to completion of any project.

During its first years of operation in Western Canada, Aluminum Curtainwall gained the reputation as the curtainwall supplier who “thinks outside the box.” That tradition continues today.

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