Glass Breakage Investigation
Property type: Art Museum
Client: The Museum
Incident description: The Museum opened in 2015 after an extensive remodeling which included bridging between and over two historic government buildings with cable supported curtainwalls and large water-covered skylights. Interior spaces widely utilized point supported all-glass curtainwalls and entrances. In 2018, Façade Consultants was engaged to investigate glass breakage at the curtainwalls and entrances, as well as a leak condition on the skylight.
Documents reviewed by Façade Consultants (FC): Shop drawings for the various Façade elements.
Site investigation by Façade Consultants: The FC team spent a full week operating after hours, to avoid inconveniencing museum visitors. One of our teams spent the entire time scanning glass for the presence of gaseous and nickel sulfide inclusions. Our team leader performed fractographic examination on broken glass that was preserved for examination, and inspected the various curtainwall and entrance types for visible anomalies in construction. A polariscope was used to analyze stress concentrations in glass at hardware connections. The skylight was inspected and the source of leakage was located. Façade Consultants then issued a 39 page report of results and recommendations.
Opinion of Façade Consultants: A few instances of nickel sulfide inclusions were found, and these were the cause of some instances of spontaneous glass breakage. Many gaseous inclusions (bubbles) in the glass were found, but they were not determined to have caused glass breakage. The point-supported curtainwall and entrances had a deteriorating condition where connection washers were becoming misplaced, causing undue concentrations of stress, and some breakage in the glass. Connections at the point supported curtainwall were found to be coming loose, which brought about uneven stress concentrations in glass.
Disposition: Original contractors embarked upon corrective work based upon the recommendations of Façade Consultants.