An office building serves as a hub of activity, accommodating numerous occupants and housing various systems and equipment. These spaces must be designed and constructed for optimum performance and efficiency. Expansion joints are necessary when this occurs to allow for movement and expansion of the various components of a building.
1. Local Temperature and Humidity Conditions
A building’s materials expand and contract when subjected to hot or cold temperatures and humidity changes. Without expansion joints, the movement of exterior components can result in cracks and breaks in the wall’s exterior material. In the semi-fluid environment within the building, heat can quickly transfer from one area to another by using expansion joints to help alleviate losses.
2. Mass Irregularity
An expansion joint should be installed at the top of a wall that meets the ceiling to allow for possible building movement. If an expansion joint isn’t included in a door or window frame when replaced or added, gaps and misalignment between the door and frame can exist.
The atmosphere within a building can become very fluid due to vacuums and air currents. These vacuums are due to various conditions, such as wind, doors, vents, and any openings on the exterior of a building. Wherever these irregularities occur in a building, expansion joints must prevent gaps from forming anywhere in the structure. This causes an uneven movement from design to installation, leading to damage over time. To eliminate these problems and protect the building, expansion joints to accommodate for any irregularities that may occur in the future.
3. Structural Types and Deflections
The structural type of a building directly affects the design and construction of expansion joints. Expansion joints are an important part of the building’s structure. Where two or more structural elements meet, there must be some way for them to move as one structure. The joints must also allow for movement when pipes or ducts run through them. Expansion joints should be designed and installed with the understanding that the load-bearing activities, as well as changes in temperature and humidity levels throughout their lifetime.
Building components can crack or become misaligned when different materials expand and contract at different rates. Expansion joints prevent these issues by allowing the various parts of the building to move independently when subjected to climate changes; this will help extend the life of an office building’s structure.
4. Mechanisms and Connections
Means of transportation for people and materials within the office building must be safe and operate efficiently. The movement of people within a building demands a safe, smooth move from one area to another while maintaining adequate safety measures during transport. They help to distribute the seismic forces throughout the structure, protecting it from potential collapse and ensuring the safety of occupants.
Dealing with the issue of expansion joints in an office building can be a severe issue. The efficiency of an office building relies heavily upon and, with assistance from a professional engineer, the design and construction can meet specific needs. Expansion joints protect your office building by maintaining its integrity and ensuring it will operate safely for years.