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These days, innovations in construction materials aren’t just consistent—they are almost a daily occurrence. Whether conceiving smart windows, bacteria-killing paint or sheep’s wool insulation, the exteriors market is no slouch when it comes to creating novelties and pushing for modernization. 

These additions to the field aren’t just fanciful notions, either. They are thoroughly utilized by the industry at-large, and ABC members have been awarded for their creative usage of innovative exterior methods and wall materials. 

Southern Wall Systems

The 2019 Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) awards, held by the EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA), saw one company honored not once, but twice. Southern Wall Systems, based in Suwanee, Georgia, received not only a Hero Award, but also was named EIFS Hero of the Year. 

The Hero Award was won for a makeover of 309 East Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta, Georgia, a 1960s-era boutique office complex. The appearance of brick and granite was achieved by swathing the existing structure with 40,000 square feet of StoTherm® ci Classic panels, replacing the exterior in just 22 days. 

The flexibility in design allowed by EIFS, in part, enables this cladding its consistent popularity. The clearest example is exhibited in the project that earned Southern Wall Systems its biggest title, Hero of the Year, because the EIFS includes a literal twist: curved, monolithic wall twists within the building’s external skin veneer. 

Unique 30-foot by 70-foot panels don the exterior of the Liv.able, Inc. Showroom in High Point, North Carolina. They are topped by specially engineered scaffolding that supports compound curving. The project encompasses about 67,000 square feet and does not compromise either the importance of insulation and drainage or attractive, high-end design.  


EIFS isn’t the only organization that understands the value of a nuanced exterior. Associated Builders and Contractors’ annual National Excellence in Construction® (EIC) Awards, held at its National Convention, give special consideration for ingenuity and innovation. In 2017, KENPAT won an EIC Eagle award in the “all other exterior finishes” category for their approach to the Patricia and Philip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida. 

KENPAT began with a 3D modeling process and ended with a patterned, compound curving façade (and finishes to boot). Of course, it wasn’t as simple as shifting from point A to point B. Between those objectives lay a tightrope of complexities, including structural realities and local Notices of Acceptance. The 3D model wasn’t just a tool to illustrate the end-goal to the customer—it became a critical part of the process, enabling the KENPAT team to graphically employ 2D ideas in a 3D space prior to attempting them on the actual build. 

Other techniques involved a custom curved, two-way framing system, allowing the team to maintain geometric control over the project. The result is a double-layer, light-gauge system comprised of a stud layer (with framing attached to the concrete superstructure) and a lattice of cold formed steel hat channel. The hat-channel, specifically, forms a vented cavity, which promotes air movement and allows for a moisture barrier in the structure. 

For the tile façade, KENPAT not only implemented a design involving pre-mounted parallelograms, but also employed tools for the aerospace industry to ensure that the pattern tolerance was framed properly, giving the building a continuous visual of perfection from top-to-bottom.

Telligent Masonry LLC

A winner of ABC’s Eagle award in 2018 and a member of ABC’s Metro-Washington, Virginia and Baltimore chapters, Telligent Masonry performed 100% of the labor on The Signature at Reston Town Center, a set of 23-floor-tall mixed-use, multifamily, luxury apartments. The project required the use of almost one million oversized brick pieces in 508 units, as well as the use of three separate masonry crews and two individual scaffold systems. Running both towers simultaneously allowed the contractor to finish work ahead of schedule, in just six months. 

To accomplish juggling work on multiple façades, Telligent operated a system of traditional tube scaffolding, multipoint swings and Fraco (a gas-powered mast climber system with an elevating platform), requiring the use of six different foremen and an onsite safety manager. 

Beyond the coordination of the three scaffolding systems, Telligent had to maintain production numbers while still compensating for the projecting balconies and irregularly placed windows. Over the course of the project, the company jumped up the steel beams for the swings as new concrete floors became available to keep the masonry going, built high tube scaffolding to accommodate the balconies, shared a single material hoist on each tower and ensured proper training for each individual crew. The meticulous planning and dedication to installing Norwegian brick around oscillating windows delivered a project worthy of recognition not just regionally at the Metro-Washington Excellence in Construction Awards, but nationally as well. 

Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing

When The Querencia, a senior living community located in Austin, Texas, required new waterproofing and balcony repair, they turned to Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing for the massive undertaking, amounting to 190,000 square feet of waterproofing products installed over 20 months. 

This exterior material behemoth required:

  • 20,200 square feet of W.R. Grace Bituthene 4000 sheet waterproofing system; 
  • 190,000 square feet of Allguard elastomeric coating;
  • 6,800 square feet of horizontal waterproofing drain board;
  • 11,475 square feet of perm-a-barrier wall membrane;
  • 1,140 pavers;
  • 9,400 linear feet of metal retaining flashing; and
  • 1,600 square feet of masonry (first removed, then replaced).

 The challenge changed Chamberlin’s original scope from 32 to 48 balconies restored upon completion. The contractor also:

  • utilized new timber with horizontal and vertical waterproofing; 
  • replaced the stucco; 
  • installed new cast stone; and 
  • repaired 99% of all windows on the vicinity. 

The project, which earned Chamberlin a 2018 ABC Eagle Award, maintained a dedication to ensuring no rotted wood or deteriorated framework remained onsite.

Whether a single material pushed to its maximum aesthetic capacity or multiple, oft-used materials used creatively and efficiently to achieve the best results, exterior contractors continuously strive to achieve recognition not only at the top of their sector, but at the top of their industry. 


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