Trends in Building Envelopes

Retail facades and storefronts have come under increased scrutiny in recent years for the important role they play in brand identity. Chain Store Age talked with Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope’s Kent Baumann about trends in building envelope solutions and how the industry is evolving.

Retail facades and storefronts have come under increased scrutiny in recent years for the important role they play in brand identity. Chain Store Age talked with Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope’s Kent Baumann about trends in building envelope solutions and how the industry is evolving.

What are some of the key trends in building envelope solutions with regard to retail stores?

One of the biggest trends is that retailers now see the building as part of their overall branding. They view the storefront and curtain wall as giving customers the first touch to the inside of the store. That means more importance is being given to having the building envelope meet brand intent by using colors, textures and design elements that help customers identify the brand. This has, in turn, given rise to another trend, which is the greater use of custom materials.

How has the process of designing and engineering the building envelope changed or evolved in recent years?

It’s become much more complex. During the past 10 years, there has been a significant increase in code development. Code compliance, along with the increased emphasis on sustainability, has resulted in a whole host of factors that need to be considered and factored into the process. You have to do a lot more homework.

There has also been a change in the procurement model, in that more and more retailers are adopting direct procurement and buying their own construction materials. We are finding that as brands get more specialized in what they want their buildings to look like, they want more control in the procurement and delivery of materials. Ten years ago we had no direct sell clients; now we have a dozen.

How is Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope positioned in the marketplace?

We are the leading supplier of products specified to close the building envelope. And all of our components are engineered to work together seamlessly. We design, engineer, test and manufacture curtain wall, windows, storefronts, skylights and glass as one seamlessly integrated unit. This process results in better buildings, a simplified process, less risk and fewer delays.

Also, we have 50 manufacturing locations — the largest national footprint of any manufacturer — and that gives us the unique ability to provide consistent entrance and storefront systems wherever you and your projects are. Also, because we are able to manufacture pre-assembled frames, we can significantly reduce construction times. While we offer a full line of standard doors and entrances, we regularly create custom designs to meet a project’s specific criteria.

Today, our national accounts include boutique small- and large-box retail stores. We provide a premium value to our customers by leveraging our single-source capabilities and individual facility expertise.

What approach does Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope take to the building envelope?

Our approach is consistent with what the American Institute of Architects describes as “Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).” It’s a strategy that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to reduce waste and optimize efficiency of design, fabrication and construction. We believe this approach is the key to the future of our industry.”

What role does sustainability play in your organization?

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope encourages the use of collaboration and advanced BIM technologies to create smart building envelopes. It is the policy of our company to be environmentally friendly to the communities where our manufacturing facilities are located, as well as the areas in which our products are installed and maintained. We have an active waste minimization plan, and we are continually improving its operations to reduce waste and maximize efficiency. 

Do you offer assistance to owners who are obtaining LEED certification?

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope is committed to creating products that satisfy LEED, and we have outlined various ways our products and services contribute to LEED Project Certification in the following areas: Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Air Quality and Innovative & Design Process.