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Curtainwall Primer for Design ProfessionalsAIA HSW

Matthew Stuart, P.E., S.E., F.ASCE

This program is registered with the AIA/CES for continuing professional education. As such, it does not include content that may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by the AIA of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product. Questions related to specific materials, methods, and services will be addressed at the conclusion of this presentation.

PDH Online | PDH Center

5272 Meadow Estates Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030-6658

Phone: 703-988-0088

An AIA/CES Registered Continuing Education Provider (#J681)

Course Outline

Definitions of a curtainwall sometime differ between an Architect and an Engineer. It is therefore important that a structural engineer understand the different types of systems available and in use. This one hour online course will provide the user with a basic understanding of curtainwall systems as they relate to the structural design and detailing of the supports for this specialty type of building cladding. This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end.

Learning Objective

At the completion of this course, the student will:

Course Introduction

A curtainwall system is a specialized type of cladding typically used in the construction of commercial and institutional buildings. Definitions of a curtainwall sometime differ between an Architect and an Engineer. It is therefore important that a structural engineer understand the different types of systems available and in use. A clear understanding of the curtainwall supplier's design criteria will enable the structural engineer to properly design the supports required for this type of building cladding.

Course Content

The course content is contained in the following PDF file:

Curtainwall Primer for Design Professionals

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

If you have trouble reading any of the material on line, it is recommended that the course material be printed out for better resolution.

Course Summary

There are two types of curtainwall systems; "stick" and "unitized". Although the stick system is cheaper, the unitized system has the advantage of more flexibility relative to allowable deflection of the supporting structure. Non-curtainwall systems such as strip windows and punched windows are often incorrectly referred to as a curtainwall by architects. The structural engineer-of-record should provide to the curtainwall manufacturer the required component and cladding wind loads required. The structural engineer and the curtainwall manufacturer should communicate with each other to ensure that the deflection of the supporting structure is within the criteria established by the material vendor.

Related Links

For additional technical informaion related to this subject, please visit the following websites or web pages:

Curtainwall Connections - HALFEN


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.