FAQ’s FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Before selecting the most suitable system for a project, in Sistema Masa we consider a number of parameters that directly influence the final choice.

TYPE OF MATERIAL

The type of material to be installed on the façade and its thickness will have a direct influence on the type of anchoring which must be used to fasten it.

For example, in the case of lightweight panel claddings (such as fiber cement, composites, etc.) anchors of SOV type must be used. For slate claddings, it is necessary to use anchoring systems that do not require machining of the edges of the panels, such as CER type anchors, etc.

DISTANCE TO THE OUTER SIDE OF THE CLADDING

For ventilated façades, one of the selection parameters to be taken into account is the total distance of the system (X axis) as not all of our systems have the same adjustment range.
This distance will always be measured from the enclosure walls or support structure to the outer side of the cladding.
It is very important that this distance ranges between 6 cm and 32 cm, because if it is outside this range, additional elements must be used in our profile system, being also necessary to make a special calculation of the project to ensure such distance.

DIMENSIONS, POSITIONING AND INSTALLATION OF THE PANEL CLADDING

It is necessary to take into consideration the relation between the three factors that define the design of the façade: the size of the panels, their vertical or horizontal positioning and their installation in relation to other panels, that is, whether they are installed with continuous joints, locked joints or with free vertical or horizontal joints, etc.
 
For example, for an off-cut of 100 x 50 cm large panels placed in horizontal position, the correct choice would necessarily be to use a single fixing clip system on the vertical profiles. On the contrary, the right technical solution for the same off-cut of 100 x 50 cm large panels but positioned vertically would clearly be a system with horizontal profiles (with continuous clips) on vertical profiles.
 
This leads to several combinations depending on the orientation in the positioning and the installation method. We detail below the most common ones:
 
-HORIZONTAL POSITIONING + INSTALLATION WITH CONTINUOUS JOINTS 
Systems for ventilated facades
-HORIZONTAL POSITIONING + INSTALLATION WITH SINGLE JOINTS

Systems for ventilated facades

Systems for ventilated facades
-VERTICAL POSITIONING + INSTALLATION WITH CONTINUOUS JOINTS     
Systems for ventilated facades
-VERTICAL POSITIONING + INSTALLATION WITH SINGLE JOINTS
 
ON THE VERTICAL JOINT
Systems for ventilated facades
ON THE HORIZONTAL JOINT
Systems for ventilated facades
There can also be combinations between horizontal and vertical positions, although they are not very commonly used, such as:
 
2 ROWS IN VERTICAL POSITION + 1 ROW IN HORIZONTAL POSITION
Systems for ventilated facades
+ INSTALATION OF SINGLE JOINTS IN THE HORIZONTAL POSITION
Systems for ventilated facades

TYPE OF CLIPS

Whether the used clip is a single one on vertical profile or we use horizontal profiles (with continuous clips) on vertical profiles, it is possible to distinguish between systems with visible or hidden clips. The choice for one of these two options depends on the type of material used (as for example slate panels, which cannot be machined) or the choice is influenced by economic or aesthetic reasons.

TYPE OF SUPPORT STRUCTURES

In order to be able to prepare an offer as detailed and reliable as possible, it is necessary to specify the type of support structure or enclosure walls, on which the system will be anchored, being possible to distinguish the following groups:
 
- CONCRETE (STRUCTURE AND ENCLOSURE WALLS)
- CERAMIC (CONCRETE STRUCTURE AND CERAMIC ENCLOSURE)
- METALLIC (METAL STRUCTURE AND CERAMIC ENCLOSURE)
- LIGHTWEIGHT (CONCRETE OR METAL STRUCTURE AND LIGHTWEIGHT ENCLOSURE, FIBER CEMENT PANELS)
- ETC
 
The type of anchoring to be used will depend on the support structure and the total load resulting from the entire system, also whether the system must be self-supporting with built-in connection or with the connection articulated to the structure and cladding, etc….as described later, it will also be necessary to select the anchor point to be used, etc.
 

TYPE OF JOINTS

In addition, the type and thickness of the joints, as specified in the project, must be taken into account, both in horizontal and in vertical position.
In general, our systems are installed using joints with a minimum distance in the horizontal direction of 6/7 mm, allowing the adjustment of the vertical joints, which range from 1 mm (the minimum recommended distance) to the distance required in the project specifications.
In any case, most systems allow adjusting the joints by means of special machining of the cladding panels.

SELECTING THE RIGHT PROFILE AND CLIPS FOR THE PROJECT

Once the type of system has been defined and depending on the design of the panel cladding, it will be necessary to choose the vertical profile type and the clips to be used. This choice also depends on the project specifications.
 
A distinction must be made between the profiles and the clips of the required system according to the following parameters:
 
-DEPENDING ON THE CLADDING
 
VERTICAL PROFILE WITH SINGLE STANDING CLIP        VERTICAL PROFILE WITH HORIZONTAL PROFILE
Systems for ventilated facadesSystems for ventilated facades                                                                                                         (WITH CONTINUOUS CLIPS)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
-DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF FASTENING TO SUPPORT STRUCTURE
Systems for ventilated facades
ARTICULATED (A)     ARTICULATED – WIND (AV)             BUILT-IN (E)               BUILT-IN – WIND (EV)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The various types depend on the specifications of the enclosure walls.
 
For example, if the enclosure walls are self-supporting, the articulated version should be preferred as it better distributes the load on the different clips. However, if the enclosure walls are not self-supporting, the built-in modality is preferable in order to transfer the load to the whole structure of the building.
 
Both the articulated wind version and the built-in wind versions help to reduce the effect of wind pressure and suction on the enclosure walls of the façade.
 
Depending on the chosen modality, it will be necessary to use one of the possible clip options: articulated, built-in or wind.
 
-DEPENDING ON THE SUPPORT STRUCTURE
 
                      CONCRETE (HOR)                     CERAMIC (CER)                         METAL (MET)
Systems for ventilated facades
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Depending on the type of support structure, to which the system shall be fastened, it is possible to differentiate between normal and metal clips, being the latter used for steel structures.
There are two distinct types of benefits: the technical and the aesthetic advantages.
 
TECHNICAL BENEFITS: There are several technical benefits of ventilated façades compared to masonry façades and all are of the utmost importance.
Since it is a layered construction system, it is possible to perform an evaluation not only of the entire system but also of each individual layer.
The composition of a ventilated façade consists of four layers, which are listed below from the inside out:
1 :. Building enclosure walls  , 2.: Thermal insulation layer.., 3.:  Air chamber and 4.: Panel cladding. Other layers can be added to these four, such as  5.: Sound insulation and 6.: Waterproof sealing.
 
1.- TEMPERATURE CONTROL: Thermal protection is provided by the second and third layers.  The main function of the air chamber is to balance the outer with the inner temperature, by direct sunlight on the cladding panels raising the temperature in the chamber. The higher volatility of warm air, causes an upward movement of the air inside the chamber, and cooler air enters from outside through the lower part of the façade or the open joints between the panels, with both temperatures eventually balanced out.
This effect is not applicable in winter, since cold outside air would enter in the air chamber cooling it down and therefore also cooling down the enclosure walls (1st layer). This is avoided by using a thermal insulation (2nd layer), directly attached to the 1st layer, and preventing cold outside air from entering into direct contact with the building enclosure walls.
The 2nd layer makes it possible for the 1st layer to act as a heat accumulator of indoor heat during winter, while preventing the cool indoor temperature in summer (generated by air conditioning) to be lost on the façade.
Depending on the glass surface, it can be determined that a ventilated façade can generate energy savings of between 20% and 40 %.
 
2 .- SOUND CONTROL: There are two types of acoustic protection: an INTEGRAL insulation can be achieved by placing an acoustic covering on the 2nd layer, counting from the inside, i.e between enclosure walls and thermal insulation. This cover must be fully attached to the building enclosure walls in order to absorb any vibrations caused by an excess of decibels coming from the outside. The fastening elements of the structure of the façade system can even be placed on the sound protection covering itself.
 
The second PARTIAL version consists of placing the specific insulation only at the base of the fastening elements, thus preventing the vibrations caused by excessive decibel levels coming from outside.
 
3 .- WATER REPELLENT INSULATION: Water-repellent insulation is usually inherent to any thermal or acoustic insulation. Additional safety can be achieved through a separate watertight insulation.
This is usually the case when a thermal insulation has not been previously implemented on the outer enclosure walls, but inside them. In these cases, a waterproof paint coating is applied, usually by means of a roller. (see specifications and application recommendations of the manufacturer, as it is advisable that it should be breathable from the inside out to avoid condensation) 
 
 
AESTHETIC BENEFITS: In this second group of advantages, it is worth stressing the importance of the external appearance of ventilated façades compared to masonry façades as far as occurrence of damp and efflorescence is concerned.
The ventilated façade is in contact with the enclosure walls only at small contact points (the anchors), which allow the formation of an air chamber in the rear side, i.e. the outside space behind the cladding, where rain water can run down over the façade so that it does not accumulate on the enclosure walls (sponge effect).  When sunlight on the cladding panels causes a difference between the inside and the outside temperature, there is a rising air current in the chamber because of the higher volatility of warm air, thus eventually balancing both temperatures (chimney effect). This favors the disappearance in a short time of moisture from the outside, preventing also the appearance of damp and efflorescence.
SAFETY: This is the most outstanding feature in a ventilated façade due to the necessary use of a fastening structure and of supporting anchors in order to build up the façade, because without those, the façade cannot be constructed. For this reason, this building type is highly reliable.
Unlike masonry façades, where the anchoring is only for holding in place not completely necessary for a temporary installation of the cladding, since the mortar or the tile cement have only a suction effect, apparently fixing the façade securely, although there is a real risk of the mortar or tile cement shrinking and causing some façade parts to detach.
It is difficult to define the exact price for a façade system, since it depends on many factors so that each façade has its own price that will vary due to:
 
a.     Type of anchoring: ventilated façade or masonry façade with direct anchoring and façade with profiles.
b.     Type of material: Different types of materials can be used, such as natural stone, ceramic, fiber cement, HPLs
c.     Positioning of the cladding panels: It can be horizontal, vertical and / or a combination of both
d.     Cladding thickness: The standard thickness ranges from 5 mm to 5 cm
e.     Outward distance: This distance in direct anchoring systems is different to that for profiles. For direct anchoring it is at least 4,5 cm and for profiles it is about 15 cm.
f.      Type of façade: Whether it is blind, i.e. windowless, and has many interruptions due to the windows.
g.     Location of the building: Whether it is built on an exposed or sheltered location, depending also on the height of the building.
 
For these reasons, any quotation can only be made upon request by contacting the Sales Department, with the exception of the direct anchoring, for which individual fixed prices have been defined.
Sistema MASA has a wide range of systems that allow installing any type of façade (in compliance with standard UNE 41957-1:2000 Part 1: Subsystems for lighweight claddings. Up to 180 kg/m2) on any type of structure, be it concrete or metal, and also on any type of enclosure walls, no matter if they are self-supporting or not.
The performance depends on the type of anchoring and the professionalism of the installer. Nevertheless, the estimated performance values are approximately as follows:
 
a.     Masonry façade:                                     +/- 10 m2 / Day / Pair
b.     Direct anchoring:                                                +/- 10 m2 / Day / Pair
c.     Vertical profiles with clips:                     +/- 30 m2 / Day / Pair
d.     Vertical profiles with horizontal profiles:      +/- 60 m2 / Day / Pair
At usual consumption rates and average lead times, we always have sufficient stock of standard materials for immediate delivery, ie materials in stainless steel 304/A2 and extruded raw aluminum. Materials with customized sizes or made in stainless steel 316/A4 or extruded anodized aluminum are always supplied by order and are never stocked due to low turnover,as they are only needed for specific applications in harsh environments, such as areas close to the sea or in industrial areas.
Since its foundation, Sistema MASA works in close cooperation with one of the worldwide most recognized engineering firms in the field of structural design:  BAC Engineering Consultancy Group (www.bacecg.com). This company is responsible for all calculations regarding gravity and wind loads as well as seismic charges according to the Spanish Technical Construction Code (CTE) and to the applicable Eurocodes, being currently conducting the conversion to DIN norms. In addition, our company has its own department dedicated to structural calculations under the supervision of BAC, S.L for the accurate evaluation of all individual specific cases of façades.
One of the big advantages of ventilated façades is the possibility of continuously using a thermal insulation on the outer side, thus protecting all the structural elements (concrete slabs or pillars) and achieving the complete elimination of thermal bridges.
The most important requirements that this insulation system must fulfill are fire resistance (in terms of total fireproof resistance) and proper thermal performance, aspects to be defined in cooperation with the manufacturers depending on the climate of the location, in which the project building is being constructed and assessing values such as thickness, density, thermal resistance and lambda coefficient (λ).
Each project in the preliminary study phase requires calculations to decide the specific application of the product, although there are generic tables available, calculated on a "two-way" basis, to apply the project-specific parameters of the preliminary study, either by calculating the distance between concrete slabs, or by taking into account size and thickness of the cladding panel to be installed. This detailed study will then facilitate the system selection and customer support by recommending the best solutions and products for the specific project within our total range of services and products. Only at this stage, we will be able to know exactly which distances between profiles, clips etc. are to be observed.
The distance is variable and it is directly related to the definitive system version being installed. Nevertheless, and without going into details, we can usually specify a minimum distance of 5 cm for direct cladding systems with a at least 2 cm wide chamber (minimal width) and 3 cm cladding panels, wherein the thermal insulation elements are not included, so that if a thermal insulation is used, its thickness should be added to the relevant distance value.
The maximum distance is defined in the project specifications with following determining factors:  the thickness of the thermal insulation elements, the use of vertical profiles combined with horizontal profiles, the use of the façade for camouflage purposes of utility pipes, etc…
Technically, they CANNOT exist since there are means and systems to prevent them, starting with the thermal insulation that has been continuously applied on the outer side of the enclosure walls and of the structure.
Problematic issues may arise such as protruding door linings and window frames, coping, etc. although a solution can always be found
The systems for ventilated façades have not been designed to be removable, excluding project-specific exceptions.  Yet it is possible to mount mechanically the final panels of the cladding system (which could not be placed at a previous stage due to the fact that the clamping parts were still anchored to the scaffolding) as soon as the scaffolds have been dismantled.
It depends on the system. It is mandatory in all cases that the connection, be it mechanical or chemical, should be of the same type as the one used in the rest of the panel cladding system.
The most proper maintenance is actually a professional control at the time of installation and a thorough cleaning before dismantling the scaffolding. 
The Spanish technical building code (CTE) establishes and recommends in its Core Document on health standards (HS):
-       Checking the condition of the cladding for any cracks, detachment, moisture and stains. ……..............................................................……..Every 3 years.
-       Checking the condition of specific points, such as: corners, coping, cantilevers, canopies, etc…………….............…………………………….….Every 3 years.
-       Checking the eventual occurrence of cracks and fissures as well as lack of verticality and other deformations in the main cladding layer.……………............…………………………………..…..Every 5 years.
Checking the cleanliness of the vents or ventilation openings of the chamber…………………………………..…………………..….Every 10 years.
Ventilated façades have many different applications, such as hotels, offices, houses, apartment buildings, universities, hospitals, schools, casinos, shopping malls, libraries, museums, sport centers, nursing homes, mortuaries, theaters…