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Structural Analysis — Dead Load at Door Header
EFCO offers structural analysis for curtain wall elevations to help the building team overcome their unique challenges — such as the structural and gravity loads of a curtain wall over entrance doors.
Curtain wall elevations, similar to the one pictured, have a built in “challenge” concerning structural loads and deflections. Specifically, this challenge is related to the deflection of the door header due to the gravity loads (dead loads) of the curtain wall above the door.
Because standard curtain wall elevations transfer their associated dead loads to the supporting structure at the base of the vertical mullions, a tricky condition is created
at the door header. The vertical mullion that is attached to the mid-span of the door header will transfer all of it’s associated dead load to the door header itself. As this
dead load is transferred to the door header, the door header will deflect in order to properly distribute this dead load. This deflection is not necessarily a problem, however, it can quickly become one if the actual deflection of the door header is large enough to prohibit the doors below from operating properly.
While there are creative solutions to solve this issue, such as running the horizontal mullions through (at the vertical above the door) allowing each horizontal to act as
individual beams, it is critical that the designer be aware of the critical nature of door header deflections due to these and similar dead load applications.