Ten technical terms commonly used by architectural façade engineers

Façade engineering is a specialised field that involves various engineering disciplines focused on the design, analysis, and installation of architectural façades.

In a nutshell:

  • Façade engineers use a range of technical terms which aid the design and installation of successful architectural façades.
  • The ten terms below relate to the structural, environmental, thermal and aesthetic performance of the façades. 
Façade engineering terms are essential for engineers to effectively design, analyse and install high-performing architectural façades that meet structural, thermal, environmental and aesthetic requirements.

Here we have gathered 10 technical terms commonly used by façade engineers:

1. Structural Analysis 

The process of evaluating the structural integrity and stability of façade systems under various conditions such as wind, snow, and even earthquakes.

2. Wind Load

The force exerted by wind on a building's façade, which must be accounted for in the design to prevent structural failure and ensure occupant safety.

3. Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

 A computerised method used to simulate and analyse the behaviour of complex façade structures under various loading conditions.

4. Thermal Analysis

The assessment of heat transfer through façade materials and assemblies to optimize energy efficiency and indoor comfort.

5. Insulation Performance

The effectiveness of thermal insulation materials in reducing heat transfer through the façade, measured by factors such as U-value.

6. Façade Detailing

The design and specification of connections, joints, and interfaces within a façade system to ensure proper assembly, weatherproofing, and durability.

7. Performance Testing

The evaluation of façade components and systems through physical testing, sample mock-ups and on-site measurements to validate their performance and compliance with design requirements.

8. Building Information Modelling (BIM)

The use of digital modelling software to visualise, simulate and analyse façade designs in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment.

9. Solar Gain

The increase in temperature inside a building due to solar radiation absorbed by its façade.

10. Thermal Break

A material with low thermal conductivity used to separate the inner and outer components of a façade system to prevent thermal bridging.