United Façade Design and Services (UFDS) is setting up a first-of-its-kind independent testing facility in Bahrain for building materials and façade systems.
UFDS, which was set up last year, has been offering mobile and onsite testing services in the country. The new facility means the company will have dual use of all the equipment it has at present, maximising potential and use.
Its new facility will soon include an acoustic chamber, hard and soft body impact test chambers and flexural strength testing to add to the state-of-the-art mobile testing chamber. The static/mobile testing chamber, which can accommodate test samples measuring 6 m high by 4.5 m wide, can also be dismantled and transported to site to allow onsite system testing for installed mock-up areas.
The facility will cover more than 1,000 sq.m, with options for future expansion as and when required. UFDS already has designs for a further external fixed test wall with a height of 16 m and a width of 8 m.
According to Peter Bustin, the company’s managing director, construction of the laboratory facility is fast progressing. A mobile rig will be set up inside its laboratory which can be used both in the facility and also onsite. Testing chambers for acoustic and impact testing of samples are also under construction and scheduled for completion in February or early March.
Bustin comments: “UFDS provides a wealth of experience and façade systems knowledge with modern technology for testing building materials.
“We want to be able to assist Bahrain and protect the environment with building performance products in order to help keep bills down.”
He points out that with government subsidies due to be lifted on electricity, independently tested façade products will assist in keeping energy costs down.
Bustin says UFDS will provide support to ministry departments, developers, architects, engineering consultants and system providers in the development of building materials that go into making the all-important high-performance building envelope.
“A full service is available for system failure checks (forensics) providing potential solutions to extend and prolong the serviceability of the structures envelope building,” he explains.
UFDS has already undertaken both on-site and laboratory tests for weather testing, and has applied for accreditation under ISO/IEC 17025.
The facility can accommodate many forms of testing: small sample bench testing of glass, aluminium, stone, steel, timber, plastics, etc for performance specification clarity, verification and conformance; samples are provided as a system or part of a system for security testing, covering burglary break-in to blast mitigation, endurance, and weather testing; samples on a small single door/window or large scale for acoustic, impact, seismic and weather performance testing to both static and dynamic (aero engine or large portable fan used to simulate wind).
To complement the high-tech laboratory testing, UFDS’s test equipment can be transported to sites for weather, structural and overall performance testing of installed samples and systems, be it full floor-to-floor installations of curtain-walling or single window and door units.
“This opens up a range of testing procedures to provide clients a level of confidence in regard to the performance abilities of the installed products,” says Bustin.
UFDS’s testing services cover walk-on glazing, façade performance testing, building thermal analysis, on-site water testing, forensic testing, blast and ballistic mitigation testing, impact compressive and flexural strength testing, bedding compounds and sealant testing, security glazing testing, acoustic testing, weld testing, and glass roller wave testing.
Further tests will be added to its portfolio in the future as the facility develops under its planned expansion through 2016.