Although louvred screening systems are installed towards the end of construction projects, it’s important to think about support steelwork early on.
In a nutshell:
- Louvre support systems consist of vertical supports, horizontal rails, mullions and fixings
- Louvre supports can be part of the main steelwork contract or treated as a separate project
- Standalone louvred screening systems that include all components are available
- Materials, tolerances and window/door openings are important considerations from Day One
- It’s best to speak to a louvre specialist for help in specifying a suitable support structure
That’s because it’s often part of a single contract from one steelwork contractor. While louvre supports can also be treated as a separate project, it may not be as cost-effective.
However... standalone louvred screening systems are available. These lightweight and easy-to-install systems (suited for rooftop locations) come with an advanced sub-structure of posts, mullions and fixings.
Let’s assume you’re specifying support steelwork from Day One. You’ll need vertical supports and horizontal rails – how many will depend on the height of the system. (That includes vertical supports, which will need to be closer together to provide stability for taller structures.)
Your louvre supplier will supply aluminium mullions and fixings to attach the louvres.
Although lightweight supports are increasingly common, most vertical supports will consist of a rolled steel joist (RSJ) or ‘I’ beam. Horizontal rails may be an angled steel length or box section. Vertical mullions are typically aluminium and placed vertically at 1m centres to support powder-coated or anodised aluminium louvres.
Louvre companies can work to tolerances of as little as 1mm to achieve the clean lines and perfect joints required. However, the National Structural Steelwork Specification for Building Construction (NSSS) says 10mm is enough for support structures.
Achieving smaller tolerances on structural steelwork could be expensive, difficult and even dangerous, so specialist louvre companies use adjustable brackets to compensate for any variation.
Wall louvres and openings
Similar considerations are required when louvres are used on building façades – say for a ground-level plant room. But additional framing may be required for openings and doors.
Need more information?
Speak to a louvre specialist for help in specifying a suitable support structure.