Glass Wall Offices: Demountable vs. Constructed

Glass wall offices are rapidly growing in popularity. Building owners and landlords as well as company facilities planners and HR personnel increasingly accept the advantages of modern demountable glass wall systems over stick built glazing. This is because properly designed and installed systems such as ALUR demountable glass walls offer exceptional quality and design, and support both collaboration and think time requirements in today’s fast-paced business.

Benefits of Demountable Glass Walls

  • Open, airy, light-filled workspaces, conference and break rooms contribute to personnel productivity and interaction.
  • The sound management characteristics of modern glass walls shield staff from noise distractions in adjacent work areas.
  • Visual privacy is achieved where needed by using frosted glass, or applied film in patterned or other graphic designs.

All Walls Are Not Created Equal

One if the key advantages of the ALUR system is that it is based on demountable glass walls and solid dividing walls. This is a very important distinction from what are called constructed glass and solid walls.

A strong case for modular demountable glass wall office systems.

A strong case for modular demountable glass wall office systems.

The difference is that demountable walls can be reused. That’s a big advantage in several ways…

  • Today’s office floor plans are seldom static. Changing business requirements, personnel shifts and other factors contribute to what are called Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs) in the office. What works well this year may not next year. Demountable walls accommodate these changes with a minimum of disruption.
  • Because they are considered office furnishings rather than office construction demountable walls qualify for accelerated tax depreciation.
  • They do not require building permits in many states.
  • They can contribute to LEED points.
  • Unlike constructed walls with large unattractive framing and silicone beads ALUR demountable glass and dividing walls provide minimal framing and take up less space.
  • They also support fast, cost effective reconfiguration when MACs are required.

Other Comparison Considerations

Glass Joining Considerations

Glass-to-glass joints are an important consideration if the desire is to maximize the light effect and create an expanse of seemingly unsupported walls surrounding common areas such conference rooms or break areas. The low profile framing is heavy duty for extra rigidity and has compression gaskets that firmly hold ½-inch tempered glass panels in place. The gaskets also serve to minimize sound transference through the wall

What distinguishes ALUR demountable glass walls from typical butt glazing and wet joints is the use of a dry joints and tongue and groove design (i.e. specially shaped glass edges coupled with polycarbonate joints that are 93% clear and will not discolor or shrink over time). Together with framing channels, these walls minimize sound leakage, resist bowing, and are extremely rigid – deflecting less than 0.4 inch when a force of 50 pounds per linear foot of pressure is applied horizontally to a 4' wide by 10' high piece of glass.

Project Management Considerations

Constructed walls can lead to project management challenges for a number of reasons:

  1. Building permit delays and bureaucracy issues
  2. Multiple trades involved in the project
  3. Extended installation time

These challenges are eliminated or substantially reduced when building owners and facility managers select demountable walls:

  1. The permitting issue may be eliminated because demountable glass walls are considered furniture
  2. Multiple trades are reduced to a single trade to expedite project management and installation
  3. Installation time is reduced since walls are prefabricated off site

A point to keep in mind when it comes to project management for pre-built space is that expedited shipping of only the extrusions, or ordering from a limited selection of stock components, can cut the lead time in half. ALUR glass and dividing wall tiles are sourced locally, meaning that they get to the job site in 2 to 3 weeks after verification of site dimensions.

These project management issues and solutions make a strong case for specifying demountable wall systems.

Demountable Dividing Walls

ALUR glass and dividing wall system

Demountable wall office. Glass walls maximize light transmission and help control sound. Horizontal dividing walls support work surfaces and storage.

Insulated ALUR Dividing Walls in horizontal and vertical configurations are used to separate work areas fronted and/or backed with demountable glass walls. Both are available in a variety of surface finishes to compliment any office décor and feature a highly desirable 42 STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating.

In the horizontal configuration dividing walls support office furniture including worksurfaces, shelves, bins, tackboards, whiteboards and AV monitors on built-in tracks at 28.5 and 69 inch heights. They also carry concealed power, voice and data cabling systems. These features and benefits that are standard on ALUR Dividing Walls would require costly customization by a contractor for constructed walls.

Vertical tile configurations are typically used as space dividers only for office back walls where glass is impractical, and at the end of a row of offices.

As with the demountable glass walls the solid dividing walls are considered furniture, qualify for the tax advantages and readily support fast and efficient office reconfiguration.