Systems and principles:

• Stick Curtain Wall (SCW)

• Unitized Curtain Wall (UCW)

Stick curtain wall

• The term “stick” refers to the factory-cut mullions and transoms which are transported to site as loose bars or sticks. However it is possible to assemble them into a ladder frame often referred to as “ladders” for quicker site assembly.

• Glazing and infill panels are fixed into the framing grid by clamping them in to a glazing rebate the finished with structural silicone. Stick curtain walls can be custom-designed to adapt any requirement from Architects or clients.


• Suited for angular and complex façades

• Sightlines are slimmer than Unitized system

• Quicker production processes in the factory

• Can be transported to site in shorter lead times

• Sequence of the build can be changed reasonably quickly

• Aesthetic detailing of the façade can be changed by providing decorative capping if required


• Slow process of assembly on site

• Seal cutting and sealant sealing at mullion/transom joints is critical to the success of the project

• Trained and skilled field installers must be used

• Glazing progress can be slow as all glass units must be installed from the outside of the building

• Bad weather can be a problem to plan and quality of the finish build as it may stop sealants being applied successfully.

Unitized Curtain Wall

The growth of UCW has increased greatly in recent years thanks to the increase in building height, the demand for recladding of older buildings, and the drive to reduce “on site” programmes. Unitized construction is the façade industry’s reference to “off-site” construction.

UCW consists of manufactured and preglazed storey high units or panels normally constructed from aluminium framework that are fully completed prior to going on site, including all fenestration choices from glass, stainless metal panels, insulated spandrels to stone cladding.

Meanwhile SCW is weather dependency and access requirements, none of these are an issue with UCW as the primary benefit of this option is that installation time is significantly reduced and external scaffolding may not be required. This means a substantial overall cost saving on the project.


• Speed of site installation

• Quality of the finished product is greatly improved as products are machined, assembled, glazed in a factory controlled environment

• Improved weathertight performance due to reduced sealant sealing on site

• Minimal or no external scaffolding required offering cost savings to the client/contractor

• Avoidance of health & safety hazards on sites due to reduced scaffolding requirements

• Suited to high-rise construction where it is impractical to install SCW

• Choice of materials installed in the factory can range from powder coated aluminum spandrel panels, stainless steel panels, stone cladding, aluminum composite panels, all offering the architect a wide options to choose.


• UCW construction is perceived as more expensive than Stick Curtain Walling

• Only suited to larger building projects particularly those of a modular and repetitive design

• Not suited to most complex and angular façades

• Build sequence cannot be changed easily or quickly.

• Sightlines using UCW are greater than SCW due to the interlocking designs.

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