Get Some Walls. The Next Big Thing.
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Crucita Del Mar – Fall Update.
The Superstructure for Tower A was completed in August and the Rooftop Terraces on the top were finished in the early Fall. That sub-contract was completed by our Quito sub-contractor and went smoothly. While the Superstructure was under construction in the Spring and Summer, we were doing strategic planning for the next phase on Tower A which is: “Walls, Rough-In Plumbing, Rough-in Electrical."
We had numerous meetings with our structural engineers and our field engineer to plan the "Walls", which come next. A typical wall here in Ecuador is made of concrete blocks or bricks. The block or brick wall is not normally structural, and usually contains no rebar or beams. That is a rigid wall system, and won’t “flex” and could actualy"break" under heavy sway loads. Block/brick walls are really just “filler” to cover the openings in the poured concrete Superstructure. Block/brick walls are not usually load bearing walls and don’t actually provide any “support” to the structure. They only add weight. But they do keep the wind and rain out….
Elegant Solution: Sandwich Walls:
A curtain wall system is an outer covering of a building in which the outer walls are non-structural. Those walls keep the weather out and the occupants in. As the curtain wall is non-structural it can be made of a lightweight material, like fiber concrete panels. The curtain wall façade does not carry any dead load weight from the building other than its own dead load weight. The wall transfers horizontal wind loads upon it to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration, sway induced by wind and seismic forces acting on the building, and its own dead load weight forces.
To make sure we meet the highest construction standards, we found a flexible wall system, made of a steel frame center "core", which is “cladded” with fiber board cement panels. The exterior walls and interior walls, will be “panels” walls made from fiber cement panels (like Hardie Board or Durarock). First he steel frames are built in a factory and will be delivered by truck and assembled on site. Then the steel frame system "core" is covered with fiber cement board panels on both sides of the frames, creating an efficient "Sandwich Wall".
Next Phase - Advantages:
We have designed a high tech, modern paneled wall system, instead of using concrete blocks or bricks. The wall system is very efficient, and has numerous advantages over traditional block or masonry walls. Wall frames will be built off-site in a fabrication process, then delivered to our site and erected. Wall panels made of fiber-board cement called "Eterboard" will be secured to the steel frames. This gives us an elegant solution to the walls process. It's a flexible system, that allows for some "flex" in the event of a seismic event. Also, the system gives us "built in" channels for rough-in electrical and rough-in plumbing components.
"Cement" or "Fiber Cement Board"?
Block walls are made of cement. The term "cement" originates from the Latin word "Caementum", which signifies chopped stone. Cement describes a binding substance, which will react chemically with water and develop into a material hard as stone.
"Fiber cement board siding" is a building material used to cover the exterior of a building in both commercial and residential applications. Fiber cement is a composite material made of sand, cement and cellulose fibers. In fiber cement there is a fiber reinforcement, which contributes to making the fiber cement material even stronger and to better withstand tension. Together with a carefully planned production process, fiber cement makes it possible to develop strong and long-lasting construction materials.
After research and "sourcing" the best fiber cement panel products, we found Eterboard, an Eternit product from Colombia. Eternit – History footnote: Ludwig Hatschek patented fiber cement in Austria in 1901 and named it "Eternit" based on the Latin term "aeternitas", meaning everlasting.
Eterboard is a great product and can be purchased “smooth” and ready for primer. That saves time and money compared to Durarock, which must be coated with several plaster coatings and another smooth coating, and then primer and paint.
Construction Examples: Fiber Cement Panels, Over Steel Frames
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