Process Automation to Improve the Building Engineering Design Analysis of Non-Repetitive Façade Geometries





Façade design, process automation, thermal bridges, building physics, heuristic knowledge, software development


This paper evaluates how parts of the building engineering design processes can be automated using software automation, with a focus on the analysis of thermal bridges in façades. Reduced repetition in façade design requires the automation of routine tasks that would otherwise be performed manually. Because full software automation is seldom achievable, a preliminary decision-making process that considers both the effort to create automation and the benefit to exploit it is required. A methodology is presented to achieve beneficial trade-offs between effort and benefits, by using heuristic knowledge. The knowledge was gathered by interviews with façade professionals. The methodology was tested on two case studies based on the analysis of the expected thermal bridge heat loss of two large-scale and low-repetition buildings. The results of the automated process described in the methodology were compared against information obtained from traditional approach, where the engineer/consultant performs each individual task manually. The results shows that the introduction of automation leads to time savings of 44%, if compared to the manual approach.

How to Cite

Montali, J., & Henriksen, T. (2022). Process Automation to Improve the Building Engineering Design Analysis of Non-Repetitive Façade Geometries. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 10(1), 105–118.




Author Biographies

Jacopo Montali, Henriksen Studio ltd

25 Green Lane, Crawley, RH10 8JX London (UK)

Jacopo Montali is a construction professional with 10+ years of experience in façade and structural engineering, holding a MSc in structural engineering at the university of Parma and a PhD in façade engineering at the university of Cambridge. I worked on multiple projects across the globe including UK, Europe, US, Japan and Middle East, providing non-standard technical solutions to unique façade engineering problems. My specialist field of expertise is in the use of computational techniques for complex façade projects, including engineering design automation, optimisation and building information modelling, as well as traditional façade consultancy from early design to construction stages. I have published articles on prominent peer-reviewed scientific journals and contributed to technical books on the topic.

Thomas Henriksen, Henriksen Studio ltd

25 Green Lane, Crawley, RH10 8JX London (UK)

Thomas Henriksen has a Doctorate in Architectural Engineering from TU Delft and over 20 years specialised experience in structural and façade engineering across a range of energy efficient buildings and infrastructure projects worldwide.

Previous roles include Global Façade Leader at Mott MacDonald Ltd, Technical Director at Waagner-Biro Stahlbau AG and Technical Director at Seele Austria GmbH. He was also a Project Manager for ÍAV hf., also known as IPC (Iceland Prime Contractors), and Senior Structural Façade Engineer at Ove Arup Ltd.

He has worked on an extensive range of prestigious and complex projects throughout Europe, the UK and the Middle East. His portfolio includes projects such as Crossrail’s new Paddington station in London, England; Kirk Kapital A/S' new headquarter "Fjordenhus" in Vejle, Denmark; Maersk Panum Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark; Etihad Museum in Dubai, UAE; Glazed Link Library Walk in Manchester, England; Sowwah Galleria in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Trinity Leeds in Leeds, England; Cutty Sark in London, England; the Shard London Bridge Station, England; ARoS “Your Rainbow Panorama” in Aarhus, Denmark; Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland; and Triangeln Station in Malmö, Sweden.

Thomas is a certified Passivhaus Designer and a member of both the Society of Façade Engineering and the Institute of Structural Engineers.


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