What is intelligent and scheduled facade maintenance?


Emma Potter

There intelligent and scheduled maintenance of facades It is the maintenance design study which, through the acquisition of existing objective data and parameters, allows us to identify the most suitable protective cycle (not necessarily the most durable of all) that allows for simple, economical and, above all, programmable management of future maintenance.

We will then talk about the maintaining the efficiency of the surfaces.

The importance of scheduled maintenance

Maintenance and in particular the scheduled maintenanceit is a discipline that will have ever-increasing importance in the future of our cities.

Today, after the reckless growth of the suburbs, which has often escaped the ancient wisdom suggested by genius loci (From the Latin memory of the place: Genius loci is a natural and supernatural entity linked to a place and object of worship in the Roman religion. This association between Genius and physical place perhaps originated from the assimilation of Genius with the Lares starting from the Augustan age) topics such as the urban image, street furniture, the redevelopment of neighborhoods or degraded or abandoned areas, the recovery of industrial archaeology are addressed.

These topics, of an urbanistic nature and therefore of wide scope, are realized and realized through the capillary work of the single project. It is therefore the maintenance of the architectural text, performed in the most appropriate and suitable way, managed in harmony with the context, which leads to obtaining a homogeneous, flowing and fluid language that gives us the exact dimension of the culture, roots and traditions of the place.

The inevitable aging of buildings

Existing buildings, from every era, show a very important aspect: their inevitable aging.

This natural decay obviously also affects the facades: the image that is created will appear acceptable if the materials from which they are formed (both the wall support, the finish, up to the type of cladding, etc.) present a correct chemical interaction, demonstrating that they are able to decently withstand the challenge of chronological and meteorological time.

Every existing building, be it an architectural emergency, a monument, a palace or part of the building fabric, over the years, in the mutations and changes of all kinds to which it is subjected, is continually searching for a new internal balance, which is renewed from time to time.

The degradation of the facades

The need for maintenance, renovation and restoration of existing buildings within the building fabric of our cities and the conservation of historical-monumental buildings handed down to us from the past have led to the development of new intervention technologies to be adoptedwithin which quality and durability are of particular importance.

In building intervention projects the need arises for define the causes which produce alterations and degradation, in order to improve preventive action on both sides, to stop or at least slow down the alteration and decay.

The study of degradation and perishability constitutes a fundamental phase for any type of building intervention on existing structures: it is necessary to recognise within the manifestations of degradation, often complex and articulated, the active causes, the relative mechanisms and the final effects on the buildings themselves.

The durability of materials

Over the last sixty years, the advancement of technology and research by industry has helped to formulate materials with undisputed durability and resistance over time, but forgetting two important factors: the environmental sustainability and the consideration that every material, produced to be placed in a wall, enters into a organic and “living” systemwhich interacts as a whole with other systems and with the environment. It must therefore be synergistic and collaborative.

Unfortunately, most of the materials, produced in modern times, do not adhere to these principles. Industries are focused on their own product, without thinking of the wall as a “wall system”. It often happens, therefore, that the high durability of these modern products, validated and certified by theoretical and practical laboratory tests, does not correspond, in reality,to the actual duration, because it enters as isolated element within a system.

Added to these considerations we highlight that there is a conflictbetween the need to make the materials applied to the facade last (such as finishes, plasters, insulating coatings, etc.) to match the economic commitment made by the owners, and the mediocre quality of the materials and the poor professionalism of the applicators.

The concept of durability of plasters and colored finishes contrasts with the need for speed of application, the cost of labor, scaffolding, bureaucratic costs and business management in general, to which are added the lack of trained and qualified labor and, last but not least, traditional materials not so easily available when working on historic buildings. The increasingly wide offer of “modern” alternative products to these leads to the lack of a systematic approach to the synergic balance system between the masonry and the brickwork and then between this and the entire building.

Planning a maintenance and/or restoration intervention on a facade it will never be completeif not after having carried out an analytical approach of the surfaces, existing plasters and the entire structure of the building, including the interior, with definition of the technical systems and so on; the choice will also depend on the use of the building which, at times, influences the thermodynamic parameters and the exchange between internal and external environments.

Thus it happens, for example, to see a new and painted plaster that presents obvious stains on surfaces caused by old water seepage from the gutters, not addressed correctly, or damaged by structural movements of the masonry, induced by the modification of transverse wall partitions or by the insertion of new horizontal structures that are no longer traditional and much heavier.