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ICBEST conference provides insight to BIPV market, offshore manufacturing operations

Post Time:Jul 07,2010Classify:Industry NewsView:105

The International Conference on Building Systems and Technology 2010 took place June 27-30, in Vancouver, BC. Started in Singapore in 1994, the ICBEST conference is held in a new international host city every three years andis organized by the British Columbia Building Envelope Council, in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada.

ICBEST provides a worldwide forum for the exchange of information and discussion of recent developments in building envelope engineering. The aim is to bridge the gaps between researchers, engineers, designers and manufacturers, and to enhance the exchange of ideas between them.

“Globally, the building envelope community has common goals to achieve: sustainable development, improvement of the quality of life, management of our resources, promotion of innovation and many others,” said Bas Baskaran, ICBEST Technical Committee co-chair, during the opening ceremony. “The evolution of the ICBEST conference over the past two decades is testimony to the determined pursuit of knowledge of several dedicated individuals. Engineers, architects, researchers, practitioners, designers, asset managers and decision makers sharing their knowledge on fa?ade engineering.”ICBEST received more than 200 abstracts in response for the call for papers. The proceedings contained 120 contributions from 22 countries.

The event was co-hosted with the BC Building Envelope Council, whichrepresents all segments of the industry, including members of government, building envelope consultants, manufacturers, associations, contractors and educators.

“Building Envelope Systems and Technology play an important role in the construction sector, producing 12 percent of Canada’s GDP and employing over one million Canadians in more than 260,000 firms," said Morad Atif, director general, National Research Council of Canada, during the opening ceremony."It has a major bearing on the quality of life of all individuals, as it defines the built environments in which most people live and work. ICBEST offers a unique opportunity to exchange information on the latest research and developments in the field of building envelopes.”

Sessions geared toward the glass industry included:

High Performance Windows – The Key to Environmentally Friendly BuildingsWindow Technology – Quo Vadis?Strength Prediction for Glass Lites of Any Shape Exposed to Uniform or Non-Uniform Lateral LoadsTwisting Tower Fa?adeDesign Considerations for Shadow Boxes in Curtain Wall Glazing

Albert Van Grieken, principal, Aurecon, Melbourne, Australia, presented "How the Evolution of Facades Complies with Darwin’s Theory." His presenation began with the Mesopotamian era andcontinued through to the present, describing how effective, time-tested methods evolved while others died off. He explainedthat the modern species of buildings evolved from earlier buildings, and innovations were ultimately driven by the tenants. Glass is considered the “biggest survivor,” especially with fritted, high performance, laminated glass and shading devices, he said.

Roland Schindler, executive director, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, and a photovoltaic professor at THM Frieburg, presented "BIPV – From Add-on to Real Integration: Challenges and Options." He provided an overview of the PV industry, emphasizing the adoption of PV into building sector components. He claimed only 2 percentof PV is true building integrated photovoltaics, up from 1 percentin 2006due tostimulation through government incentives. He said that most building-related PV installations are add-ons to the building, including both new construction and existing buildings. Key takeaways from the BIPV presentation included:

BIPV still has a high reliance on government subsidies as both a driver and restraint (especially in North America)North America is years behind Europe and Asia. Japan aims to cover nearly 50 percentof residential power from BIPV in the coming yearsBIPV is still too expensive for mass market adoptionCadmium, which is extremely toxic even in low concentrations, is no longer allowed in the manufacturing of electronic devices except for solar cells and nickel-cadmium batteries.

D.J. Caesar, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto presented "Design, Testing and Quality Control of Curtain Wall Systems Manufactured in Southeast Asia for Cold Climates." His presentationprovided a candid review of offshore curtain wall systems covering several areas of concern, including:

Conforming to local standards: Since the domestic manufacturing and construction industries have helped develop design standards and building codes, these standards and purposes are generally well understood. Conformance is often more challenging with offshore manufacturers.Sub-suppliers: Companies hiring Asian manufacturers usually send a Canadian representative to tour the manufacturing facility. The same should be considered of the sub-suppliers as the quality is often unpredictable.Communication and culture: Always specify in advance that technically competent communication, both verbal and written, be in English. Overcoming cultural barriers can also be challenging.Design strategy: Current cladding systems built in Southeast Asia are typically designed for a tropical or hot desert climate.Defects: Although random, human error-type defects dominate the deficiencies in North American manufacturing. In Asia, it appears to be primarily systematic errors caused by incorrect instructions or poor set-up of a machinethat leads to identical repetition of the same mistake.Shop & fabrication drawings: “Critical to the successful outcome of a project, in North America the process is short because the inherent knowledge of the environment by the designers and envelope consultants, typically only one or two iterations,” Caesar said. “With offshore designers, who are less familiar with Canadian standards, codes, climate and the concept of good rainscreen design, the shop drawing process becomes significantly more onerous for both parties, with as many as six or seven iterations.”Material: Are those fasteners really stainless steel? Better have the alloys inspected and samples of all approved parts on hand for future verification.Shipping: Consider price, schedule and potential damage.Remediation plans: How are replacements and deficiencies going to be handled?Testing: Caesar insisted that if offshore manufacturing is being considered, a thorough review of the specifications is required.

“The capacity for production and current pricing makes it inevitable that curtain walls will be produced more often in offshore facilities,"Caesar said. "The product can be manufactured to acceptable quality and design, if cultural differences are understood, and the pitfalls described (in the presentation) are avoided.”

“While the expense of manufacture will likely decrease when buying offshore, the budgets for quality control and inspection should be increased in order to ensure that quality standards are being met, and that problems are caught prior to shipment,” Caesar concluded.

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