Columbia, South Carolina

Holder Construction Company

Adam De Luca
Construction Management

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Thesis Proposal

Final Thesis Proposal

Critical Industry Issue: Prefabrication

The goal of this research topic is to understand the advantages and disadvantages of introducing prefabrication into construction projects. This topic will focus on the prefabrication of the curtain wall for Main & Gervais. There are several advantages associated with prefab that are important to consider including: faster schedule, higher quality control, and reduced site clutter. There are also disadvantages to mention that will help determine if the advantages are worth choosing prefeb as the preferred construction method.

Analysis: Sloped Curtain Wall Construction

The building’s façade is primarily a glazed aluminum curtain wall with the exception of some areas around the parking garage. On the west elevation, the curtain wall is sloped outward at 5.63 degrees all the way from thelobby floor up to the roof of the building. This design adds to the complexity of constructing the curtain wall. The complexity comes from having to install different shaped pieces of glass at different angles. Also, the necessary different shaped pieces of glass will add to the cost since the opportunity to order in a mass quantity is gone. This curtain wall design also eliminates some floor area of the building on the lower levels.

This analysis attempts to eliminate the slope of the curtain wall façade and will require analyzing the new structural requirements and energy load demands. Calculating the new structural loads will cover the structural breadth. Calculating the new solar loads through the curtain wall will cover the mechanical breadth.

Structural Breadth

The solution to the sloped curtain wall façade would be to simply eliminate the slope. Extending the shorter horizontal distance to line up in the same plane as the longer horizontal distance, which is at the top of the building, could accomplish this. This will require resizing the clips that tie the curtain wall in to the cast-in-place structure. Also, it would be necessary to ensure the columns can support the additional concrete slab to be added.

Mechanical Breadth

Eliminating the slope of the curtain wall façade will change the direction in which the sun shines through the glazing. This will require an analysis of solar gain through windows. If the solar gain is considerable, it could change the energy demands of the cooling system during the summer months.

Revised Thesis Proposal

Revised Executive Summary (pdf)

Revised Breadth Outline (pdf)

Revised Thesis Proposal (pdf)

Original Thesis Proposal

Original Executive Summary (pdf)

Original Breadth Outline (pdf)

Original Thesis Proposal (pdf)