Glaziers Speak Out: On the New Metal Shear Wall Panel
Engineers from UC Berkeley and the construction industry recently
unveiled a prototype of a new kind of steel wall they say is three
times stronger than wood-framed walls and has been designed for
use in mid-rise residential and commercial buildings (CLICK
HERE to read more about it). The steel wall consists of
corrugated steel plates fastened to thin, light galvanized steel
studs that can be built in sections in a factory or on the job site.
Here's what professionals in the glazing industry know about this
new metal shear wall panel:
"I recently read something about this new prototype," said John
Myers, technical services executive for Harmon Inc., from his Baltimore
office. "Panelized walls using corrugated steel sheeting on a structural
steel stud support structure is not new. The Metro West facility
of the Social Security Administration here in Baltimore used a panelized
wall of this nature in the late 1970s. Greater acceptance of panelized
construction and improved ability to engineer panelized walls has
made it more available and accepted in our industry. The continued
advancements in metal shear wall paneling provide for a more durable
and long lasting structure, which would make good sense for use
in hurricane-prone and seismic applications."
"More availability of high-performance finishes on the steel sheeting
provides a maintenance-free exterior fašade as well," Myers continued.
"Using corrugated metal sheet as the exterior or in addition to
a separate fašade is important for both additional architectural
embellishments to the outside of the corrugated sheets while still
maintaining the air/water seal line at the plane of the corrugated
sheet for the integrity of the wall."
Khalil Rouhana, vice president of PCC Construction Components in
Gaithersburg, Md., said he had not yet reviewed this new prototype.
PCC, a glazing contractor serving the greater Washington, D.C.,
area, specializes in custom architectural curtainwall and high-end
metal panel applications. "We are usually up-to-date on the latest
innovations in our industry," said Rouhana. "However, nothing has
come our way about this new product. Currently, we utilize reinforced
composite metal panels for our blast-resistant and security applications
and this has worked very well for us."
Mitch Wallace, the senior estimator for Masonry Arts/Physical Security
Division, said he had not heard of the product either, but doesn't
think he would utilize it for company at this time. "For our blast-resistant
applications, we traditionally use laminated glass panels," says
Wallace. "To date, this has proven to be the most effective application
for our security applications."
While Tom O'Mara, designer for Enclos Corp. in Minneapolis, said
he had not heard of the new prototype, either, he said he is not
surprised by the development. "There are a lot of innovative products
out there that are being developed, released to the market or are
being tested in real-life applications," said O'Mara. "While we
love the latest and greatest innovations, our clients typically
do not care to be the first to utilize any new product until it
has a proven track record."
He continued, "Clients typically do not like to try something totally
new and just off the shelf. They tend to utilize what has worked
in the past, that is cost effective and low risk in terms of liability
(time and resources). Laminated glass and aluminum panels are the
products we have traditionally used with success in impact-resistant
and security applications. The thickness, size and other characteristics
of these two products are determined by local, state and federal
codes, job mandates and performance-based specifications."
Tell us what you think of these new innovations and if something
like this is something that your company would use by visiting the
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