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34CE - Curtain Wall Failures: Causes of & Methods of Retrofits

08 May 2014 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

1.5 ConEd Learning Hours

This session is also being offered Thursday, May 8, 2014 10:30 PM to 12:00 PM

Course Outline

PART ONE: Functionality and Means of Failure

The first part of the presentation provides examples of the most common ways in which a curtain wall can fail, including air and water penetration, structural failures, and aesthetic degradation. From design and installation, to components reaching their design life-cycle, curtain walls fail for a variety of reasons. Real life examples are provided and discussed to highlight these means of failure.

PART TWO: Methods of Retrofit: Toronto City Hall Case Study

The second part of the presentation starts with a high level discussion of the main approaches to retrofits. An in-depth case study of the retrofit at Toronto City Hall is then presented. From 2009 to 2012, the window system at Toronto City Hall was converted from a single glazed, zipper gasket system to a fully custom, double glazed system. As City Hall is a designated heritage building, the new system had to meet strict heritage, as well as performance, criteria. The challenges of designing a custom retrofit window system and the quality assurance methods and procedures used throughout design and construction are discussed in detail. 

Learning Objectives

  1. To understand the essential functions of curtain wall systems and the ways in which they can fail.
  2. To understand the reasons why curtain wall systems fail, and be able to identify the signs of failure.
  3. To understand the process of designing and implementing a retrofit within the confines of a building with a heritage designation.
  4. To understand the challenges of preparing for and implementing a retrofit on an occupied building.


Rob Wood, P.Eng. 

Mr. Wood is the President of C3 Polymeric Limited, a leading provider of curtain wall retrofits on occupied commercial buildings, and a member of The C3 Group of Companies. At C3 Polymeric, he has overseen the retrofit of five high rise office towers across Canada, including Toronto City Hall’s two office towers; 400 University Avenue  in Toronto; and City Centre Place and Oxford Towers in downtown Edmonton. Over the last five years, more than 15,000 vision units, spandrels, and skylights have been retrofitted under Rob's supervision.

Rob is a graduate of the System Design Engineering program at the University of Waterloo. He has been with The C3 Group since 2001, and has held various management positions within the group. 

Rob is on the board of the Great Lakes Ontario Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and is a member of other organizations, including BOMA Toronto and the Professional Engineers of Ontario. Rob is an active speaker, having conducted over 50 seminars and presentations on curtain wall retrofit to over 750 attendees over the past two years.