25. September 2017

Successful installations start with clear communications

from Chris Ford

Incorporating structural thermal breaks into your high rise with the greatest efficiency requires clear, thorough communication and coordination between all team members — architect, engineer, supplier, contractor/installer — from the onset of the project. Otherwise, incomplete information can add unnecessary time and expense, potentially delaying the project.

Although the vast majority of thermal break projects proceed efficiently, the following example of an inefficiently run project illustrates how problems can occur due to inadequate communications between the time they become part of the plan, and when they are ultimately installed.

In this case, key information did not get through to Schöck and the contractor/installer of the thermal break products.

After Schöck engineered, ordered and shipped Isokorb® thermal breaks for concrete construction, we learned at the job site that the layout of some of the structural steel reinforcements conflicted with the design team’s specs for installing them. Absent from the instructions were locations, number of modules and dimensions for installing the products at the vertical sections on each floor.

Since it was too late to re-engineer, ship and install new modules for these sections, we devised solutions on the fly to fulfill 92 percent of the original requirement.

Because we had designed the modules for the building’s composite decks with no knowledge of vertical reinforcements at the perimeter, 8 percent of the original requirement was completed without the benefit of thermal breaks.

Schöck can typically troubleshoot such problems by A) modifying our existing product, B) designing, fabricating and shipping new products, or C) asking the architect/engineer to redesign for the thermal breaks to accommodate the layout, but the aforementioned project was too far along to apply these solutions.

Lesson Learned: To insure a successful and smooth structural thermal break installation, focus on clear and thorough communication and verification of the details between all team members right from the onset. When all of the key players are well informed, oversights that add time, costs and frustration can be avoided, and everyone benefits.


Visit the Schöck North America website for more information about structural thermal breaks for concrete and steel connections. Explore the full range of Isokorb® products for balcony, canopy, steel beam, exposed slab edge, parapet and rooftop connections.

Considering structural thermal breaks for an upcoming project? Have a Schöck Engineer call you to answer your specific design questions.  




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