Non-linear Integrated Design and Analysis for Complex Glass Façade Structures in Hong Kong.


Nowadays, 3D design and construction tools support building expertise throughout the project life cycle for any building geometry which might be an impossible mission in the past.  With the invention of the new 3D technology, Architects, Façade engineers and Façade contractors are well equipped with advanced design and construction software and technique to deal with the challenges of any building geometry, structural design, complicated detailing, fabrication, assembly, and installation.

To tackle complex building forms, Non-linear Integrated Design & Analysis (NIDA) facilitates both the design and construction process.  It provides a direct analysis method for a system-based structural design instead of member-based design and considers both Frame & Member imperfections.  As NIDA is also a computerized tool to provide an optimized design with consideration of construction details and sequences, the overall fabrication and site installation works can be simplified while the quality control is well managed.

In reviewing the shortcomings of the traditional welding method, it is difficult to maintain the three-dimensional glass façade structure without sacrificing the distortion from thermal expansion and craftsmanship of the exposed finishes.  With the invention of the advanced technology “CNC cutting” which shapes all 3D joints, both the fabrication process and site installation are streamlined with predictable quality. By adopting this CNC technique, the overall 3D structure with tailored designed connections is further subdivided into modules for simple “bolt and nut” site installation. Construction speed, precision, and safety can be controlled simultaneously while the craftmanship can be approved by a very cost-effective technique.




Safe Façade Design and Construction in Hong Kong – Statutory Requirement & Implementation


With the increase in the use of glass elements and long-span glass structures in the building façade design and greater concern for the safety and quality assurance of the building facades, the structural use of glass in the Hong Kong construction industry has been revamped in 2018 by the statutory body.

In consideration of the geographical characteristic of Hong Kong and the extreme monsoon season during which the wind speed is over 200km/hr, WIND is a crucial factor in the process of the statutory review of the safety aspect of the façade system.  Now, it turns out an escalated standard of safety for the façade design and the use of glass adopted in Hong Kong.

This Paper will share the design consideration of the façade systems under the Hong Kong Glass Code which covers the structural design requirement, use of different glass types, and required testings for quality control & quality assurance during the process from glass fabrication to system assembly.

1.    Use of laminated glass with PVB or SentryGlas® interlayer to safeguard glass breakage

2.    Design methodology and application of composite action for SentryGlas® laminated glass

3.    Safety requirement for silicone structural glazing in the façade design

4.    Mandatory requirement for quality control of tempered glass production by designated technical teams

5.    Full-scale performance test to verify design assumption to ensure the safe design of a built system prior to mass production