Bridging the gap between selection decisions of facade systems at the early design phase: Issues, challenges and solutions


  • Mohamad Kassema Technology Futures Institute, Teesside University, Middleborough
  • Donald Mitchell Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Centre for Window Cladding Technology, University of Bath, Bath




Building facade, business process, curtain wall


Building facade has a significant impact on the environmental and economic performance of buildings and projects. The specification of their elements at the early design phase depends on numerous technical, environmental and economic factors and involves several stakeholders. The procurement and delivery of the facade work package from the early design phase, through detailed design and manufacture, to installation is a process with several inherent risk factors due to the involved cost, technical and engineering complexities and its position on the critical path in all projects. This research investigates the process of selection and specification of building facade elements at the early design phases with the overarching aim of identifying the issues affecting specification decisions, their root causes and impact on projects. The research utilizes a mixed research approach which combines a retrospective case study and an industry survey as two research methods that build on each other. The findings suggest that the complexity of specification at the early design phases is exacerbated by factors such as the inadequate technical knowledge of stakeholders involved in the decision making process, the non-involvement of building facade consultants, the late involvement of specialist facade subcontractors, and in a few cases by some commercial exclusivity agreements that restricts specification decisions.

How to Cite

Kassema, M., & Mitchell, D. (2015). Bridging the gap between selection decisions of facade systems at the early design phase: Issues, challenges and solutions. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 3(2), 165–183.




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