Continuing Education

Design of Facade Attachments

4-Part Webinar Series

The attachments of modern facade systems to the primary building structure can present some of the most difficult challenges on any building.  It involves a number of different parties—the owner, the architect, the structural engineer, the building envelope consultant, and many different contractors—coming together to create a facade that achieves aesthetic, thermal, air infiltration, and moisture objectives.  This course will provide guidance for practicing structural engineers, architects, and contractors on how to navigate this aspect of a building’s design that is vitally important but often given less attention than it deserves.

Note: This course is an encore presentation of the 2nd half of Night School 17: Design of Curved Members/Facade Attachments.

Single-Session Live Webinars

Three live webinars will be held on three successive Thursdays, beginning on May 9.  You may register for each of these live webinars individually. Registration is valid for one site connection (one computer) where an unlimited number of people can watch the webinar and receive a PDH certificate.  (Note that single-session registrants will not have access to session recordings.)

4-Session Package

For those looking for a full, in-depth study on facade attachments, AISC is offering the option to register for a complete 4-session course.  The first session is a recording available upon registration.  That session will discuss the fundamentals of facade attachments.  The remaining three sessions will be live webinars, held on successive Thursdays, beginning May 9.  Four-session package registrants will also have access to the recordings of the live sessions.

Only the registrant will receive a PDH certificate for the 4-session package registration option.

  • Date: 5/9/2019 to 5/23/2019
  • Duration: 1.5 hours per session
  • Location: Live Webinar Series
  • PDH Credits: 1.5 PDH per Session (Up to 6 PDH)
  • Registration Deadline: 5/9/2019 10:00 a.m.
  • Connection Instructions: Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email containing your receipt, a link to access the webinar, dial-in audio instructions, and a link to a PDF handout of slides.


Presented by Alec Zimmer, PE, SECB. Recording will be released upon registration.

Attaching modern facades to buildings requires an understanding of how facade systems perform—from moisture and thermal performance to structural performance.  Developing successful facade attachments requires consensus among a number of different parties about the objectives for the facade system.  The project team needs to establish who is responsible for various portions of the design and also establish the criteria against which the system’s performance will be compared.  In this session, we will explore these issues in depth to set projects up for success.

This session addresses the following topics:

  • Fundamentals of Facade Performance
  • Design Criteria
  • Design and Execution Responsibilities
  • Thermal Separations
  • Accommodating Tolerances

Session L1: Facade Attachments Part 1

Presented by Alec Zimmer, PE

Every type of facade system presents its own challenges for the design team:  where and how are the gravity and lateral loads supported?  How much movement can the facade system accommodate?  What is the jointing pattern?  In this session, we will explore masonry cavity wall systems, aluminum-glass curtain wall systems and panelized systems such as precast concrete panels or prefabricated metal-framed panels with masonry or glass-fiber reinforced concrete facing to help answer these questions.

This session will presents the following topics:

  • Traditional Masonry Cavity Walls
  • Aluminum-Glass Curtain Walls
  • Panelized Facade Systems
  • Sizing Joints for Vertical Movement

Session L2: Facade Attachments Part 2

Presented by Alec Zimmer, PE

Many multi-story structural-steel-framed buildings support the facade’s gravity and lateral loads from the spandrel beams or the slab edges.  In this session, we will examine the pros and cons of connections to spandrel beams and slab edges along with methods for designing these elements for facade loads.  The session will include a series of example problems that address issues of strength and stiffness.

This session will presents the following topics:

  • Design of Steel-Framed Slab Edges for Facade Attachments
  • Design of Steel Spandrel Beams
  • Cladding Supports Away From Floors
Presented by Alec Zimmer, PE (Note: Alec Zimmer will be standing in for James Parker, who was originally going to present this session.)

When buildings sway under wind and seismic loads, the facade systems must accommodate interstory drifts between the building’s floor levels.  Finding ways to accommodate these drifts through the height of the building, particularly at corners and at the ground story, can be challenging.  In this session, we will consider ways to detail facade attachments to accommodate a building’s lateral drifts.


Alec Zimmer

Alec Zimmer

Alec S. Zimmer is a Senior Project Manager in Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s Waltham, MA, office.


Price Info

Individual Live Sessions

$185  Member
$285  Non-member
$155  Student/Faculty
$155  Government Employee

Prices are per webinar.  Registration includes certificates for an unlimited number of people at one connection site.

4-Session Package

$250  Member
$450  Non-member
$200 Student/Faculty
$250 Government Employee

Prices include all 4 webinars.  Registration includes a certificate for the registrant only.