The changing face of façade engineering

December 22, 2016

undefinedFaçades have evolved over the last couple of decades to provide a greater focus on fire resistance and less energy consuming materials, creating designs that are both functional and visually appealing.

Renato Cilento, an expert in the field of façades, will be giving a lecture titled ‘Improving Façade Performance Through Design,’ to give industry leaders the best insight on the ever changing landscape of façade design.

“The thermal performance of façades has major impacts on the energy consumption of buildings,” said Cilento, a Senior Engineer & Façade Engineer at Arup.

“My presentation aims to show the practicability of the parameters that measure thermal performance, such as U-value and G-value. I will also introduce some ideas that need to be considered when designing façades.”

Cilento believes that professionals from multiple fields, and not just architects, will benefit from his session, including designers, developers and project managers. “I would really like to draw their attention and persuade them of the value that a well-designed façade can bring to projects,” he said.

He explains that there are two topics regarding façades today: fire and energy consumption. He aims to explain how designing façades will add considerable value to projects by bringing façade engineers on board from the inception of a project, working together with other disciplines such as MEP, fire and structural engineers.

He said: “I foresee the contribution of façade engineers becoming much more important in projects as façades interact with other disciplines and can contribute to the rest of the project team to enable a delivery with better value.”

Showing resilience, the area of façades has continued to flourish despite the economic challenges wrought by low oil prices and a slowdown of contract awards. The last year specifically has been a challenging one for all construction professionals, according to Cilento.

“From my perspective, I have seen that some projects are getting more challenging in terms of geometry and materials. At the same time, every façade project has its own particular requirements that need to be understood correctly prior to selecting materials and façade systems,” he said.

According to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Façades Market report by Grand View Research, the GCC façades market was valued at $7.565 million in 2015 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 5.3% over the next eight years. The rise in construction related activities, which is an economic barometer for the GCC, is estimated to fuel demand.

As the region is characterised by an increasing population, this is putting greater emphasis on infrastructure development. With that comes a greater regard for the materials used for these buildings, especially for the harsh climates of GCC countries.

“I believe that every city in the world has its own particular climate conditions. The beauty of our job is to understand the weather conditions and apply the adequate design principles for specific requirements,” said Cilento.

“Although it may seem obvious, before beginning any project, it is crucial to determine the correct requirements to ensure a successful façade performance.”



Renato has been working in the façade industry for over 15 years. Prior to becoming a Façade Consultant, he worked for a façade contractor and a curved and special laminated glass manufacturer. In his current position as a Façade Project Manager, Renato has been involved in the design, manufacture and installation of different façade systems such as unitised, stick, rainscreen and structural glass. He has experience in curved glass and lamination technology.


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