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| Feb 26, 2021

Prefabricated Building Skin System

Typically, today’s building skins are custom designed to accommodate each project and application. The broad range of configurations, from material type, thickness, weight, connections, and spans, generates an almost infinite number of parameters that are discretely defined for each project. Ultimately, these decisions impact the frame and foundations as well. The resulting process lacks efficiency and relies upon many interdependencies that increase costs. This project aims to develop a prefabricated external wall subframe system that can accommodate a range of finishes or glazing systems. The subframe glazing and finishes will be fully prefabricated offsite and arrive at the jobsite just in time. This prefabricated approach should reduce on-site labor, provide more schedule certainty, and streamline the entire process, saving time and money.

Key Findings

  • Introducing new materials, such as composites, requires extensive certified testing to confirm code compliance and quality assurance.
  • Traditional skin panels can weigh upwards of 18,000 lbs or more, causing logistical challenges in transportation and installation.
  • Installing finishes and glazing offsite requires a strict quality control and protection procedure before, during, and after transport.


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