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Due to substantial advancement of quarrying and fabrication methods, natural building stone has become available in thinner slabs in a wide variety of finishes, shapes, and sizes and has also become relatively less expensive than some of the other building cladding materials, which producers were forced to keep raising prices for due to the energy crisis of the 1970s.
This relatively low fabrication cost, together with the development of the various suspension systems and the advancement of the fabrication technology of anchoring components, makes the durable and relatively maintenance-free natural building stone more desirable to use to clad the increasing number of high-rise buildings built worldwide.
But, together with increased use of building stone, the number of expensive failures are also increasing. Sometimes facade failures can endanger public safety, and the cost to repair or reconstruct distressed stone facade can exceed its original cost.
The author, during the last 30 years, has investigated numerous miscellaneous types of failures of building stones of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous origin on building facades, as well as on exterior plaza installations.
stone veneer, exterior wall systems, stone technology
Vice president, Stone Tech, Inc., New York, NY