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New Tools for Quality Control in Window Installations

Posted on October 23, 2012 in Blog

In most, if not all, multi-residential projects, windows are a major part of the exterior envelope. While windows are often repeated in the same fashion through an entire building, changes in the type of wall, finish material, or location may require different approaches to how a window is installed. Anything short of a strong line of communication among the project team could result in a less than satisfactory installation. Improper installations might even lead to water leaks and poor energy performance down the road.

Manchester Place construction progress.

Manchester Place construction progress.

KBS saw an opportunity to create an additional resource for communicating and coordinating typical window installations on multi-residential projects by using virtual construction models. By following the work taking place on Link Apartments Manchester, a 187-unit, 180,809-square-foot multi-residential project, an example model was created to function as a template to be modified or added to for use in future projects. We were able to create a comprehensive construction detail model and installation sequence by referencing the construction documents, the window manufacturer’s specifications and observing and recording the progress of work in the field.

The snapshot of the installation model above shows the window flange set in a continuous bead of sealant.

The snapshot of the installation model above shows the window flange set in a continuous bead of sealant.

There are typically three basic stages of a standard window installation where each stage of work may sometimes be performed by different subcontractors. The first involves flashing the rough opening, providing the cuts to the building wrap and installation of the sill pan flashing. The second step is the attachment of the window along with the side and head flashing. Finally, the surrounding exterior trim and wall finish is installed, along with the final application of sealants. Depending on the window type, manufacturer, architect, climate area and other variables, construction standards can change significantly from job to job.

head-flashing-process-1024x4701

Even after the window is flashed at the wall, proper installation of the head flashing at masonry openings is critical to maintain protection from any water infiltration.

One of the goals we have in using virtual installation models is to be able to present a snap shot to everyone involved of what the installation should look like before and after work changes hands, helping to avoid any miscommunication of each party’s scope of work. The models also help facilitate quicker and more thorough requests for information posed to the architects and engineers of the details in question.

KBS continues to develop tools that bring a new dimension of communication and oversight to our work, resulting in a higher standard of quality control in construction.

Contributed by: Jim Droski, Virtual Construction Manager