Make sure your new curtain wall meets these specifications for noise, condensation and thermal performance

by Brianna Crandall — October 14, 2019 — The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has developed a new manual providing guidelines for the design of curtain walls, or nonbearing exterior walls between columns or piers.

Publication of AAMA CWM-19, Curtain Wall Manual, marks the culmination of efforts by volunteers from AAMA Curtain Wall/Storefront Council member companies to update and enhance the former AAMA MCWM1-89, Metal Curtain Wall Manual. It also incorporates content from several other related AAMA publications for ease of access.

AAMA Curtain Wall Manual illustration

Guide specifications in the Curtain Wall Manual enable architects and specifiers to address project-specific performance and testing requirements consistently. Image courtesy AAMA

Steve Fronek (Wausau Window and Wall Systems), a leader within the AAMA Curtain Wall Manual Update Task Group, pointed out:

New curtain wall guide specifications are expected to be of particular interest. Formatted to include mandatory language, optional language and detailed technical commentary, guide specifications in Section 5 allow architects and specifiers to address project-specific performance and testing requirements consistently.

Targeting manufacturers, architects, specifiers, contractors and testing agencies, AAMA CWM-19 addresses many aspects of curtain wall design, specification, testing and installation with information presented in eight sections:

  • Section 1: Curtainwall System Types
  • Section 2: Design Considerations
  • Section 3: Architectural Detailing Guidelines
  • Section 4: Building Tolerances
  • Section 5: Guide Specifications
  • Section 6: Material Properties
  • Section 7: Testing
  • Section 8: Installation

New content includes detailed fabrication and installation tolerances, as well as air barrier interface guidelines. Significant updates were made to reference documents, material engineering properties, specification language, laboratory testing overview information and weatherability requirements.

Design criteria addressed in other AAMA documents, including noise attenuation, thermal performance and condensation control, are covered at a high level.

As in previous versions, key “design for ease of installation” issues are covered from the perspective of all technical stakeholders: architects, specifiers, manufacturers, installers, glaziers and general contractors.

AAMA CWM-19, Curtain Wall Manual, as well as other AAMA documents, may be purchased from AAMA’s online store. AAMA is the source of performance standards, product certification and educational programs for the fenestration industry.