OpenAire will be exhibiting at IAAPA Expo in Orlando from November 15-18, 2022 at the Orange County Convention Center.

IAAPA Expo is the premier conference and trade show for the global attractions industry. Attractions industry leaders from across the globe find inspirational ideas to create fresh, bold, and unique experiences for their guests. Whether on the show floor or one of the more than 100 educational opportunities, there are thousands of business-changing ideas and innovations at IAAPA Expo 2022.

OpenAire will be at Booth 2644 and we’d love to see you there.

If you’d like to meet a member of our team, please email to book a meeting.

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OAKVILLE, ON – October 2022 - Since 2005 OpenAire has been working in a picturesque Bavarian town founded in 1845 by German settlers. While this riverside town is set amidst a large farming community, it is also home to a 2020 James Beard award winning, 1500 seat family restaurant which served its first meal in 1856! The best part, is this is a town in Michigan… !

The City of Frankenmuth, known as Little Bavaria, is a premier national tourist destination, home to less than 5000 residents but attracting 3 million visitors a year! Due in part to a family owned business empire, part of which is Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark. In addition to the hotel and waterpark are an array of amenities including shopping, restaurants, golf, event venues and more.

Zehnders Splash Village Retractable Skylight

What is also unique about this waterpark hotel is that it is literally breaking records and leading the way for construction innovation a growing industry.

While indoor waterparks in the US had their start in the Wisconsin Dells, and have since grown to capture about 12% of the total market1 ( mostly via privately owned waterpark resorts. It is locations and towns across the nation, like Frankenmuth, who continue to lead innovation in the waterpark industry.

When analyzing the success of the growing North American Waterpark Resort sector across the country, it’s easy to lose focus on what makes a waterpark resorts successful. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality simply doesn’t work. Developers, investors, and operators need to keep in mind several key factors when looking at a new build or significant renovation. The owners at Zehnder’s have done just that. Style of construction, demographics, waterpark size/scale, continual innovation, renovation, management and service are amongst the key factors that allow a space to be successful and maintain its success.

Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark, was originally called the Bavarian Haus Motel, and was purchased by the Zehnders family in 1988. A re-model in 1992 added additional rooms, suites and an indoor pool.

In 2005, a glulam wood framed 20,000 square foot indoor waterpark, was added, built according to best practises at the time. In addition an arcade, dining space, meeting rooms and 63 new family suites were added, geared towards families with young children. The waterpark was extremely popular with hotel guests, and for almost 10 years met the needs of young families and the ownership team.

The next phase of development was in 2014, when a 30,000 sf retractable roof “Atrium" waterpark was added adjacent to the existing indoor park. The new indoor water park included a drop slide, a family raft ride, activity pool and action river geared towards 12-15 year olds. One significant differentiator of this new space was the migration of activities towards an older demographic allowing multigenerational families to enjoy extended holidays together. The other significant difference was the construction style. The new waterpark was built entirely from aluminum, and included glass walls with operable windows and doors for air flow plus a large opening roof.

Not satisfied with the status quo, the owners had done their homework looking for a construction style that would be a better solution for an aquatic venue. One that would not require constant repair. For example most waterparks are built in giant “steel or concrete boxes” without (much) daylight and little to no fresh air. They are subject to the highly corrosive moist air created by the splashing and fun activities. As a result waterpark buildings begin to deteriorate the day the water is added.

The result of traditional construction styles are water parks where moisture permeates all surfaces, all rooms, all areas in and around the park, requiring renovation to fix mold and rot. Its really common for waterparks built in this way to require a new roof every 10 years or so… That is an incredibly costly and labour extensive task, not to mention the lack of revenue while the park is being renovated. The Zehnders management recognized the financial impracticality of such a decision.

With the new Atrium aluminum waterpark, the owners knew there would never be a new roof (or walls) required for their waterpark. As a bonus the open roof cleaned the air in the space making sure it is fresh and bright every day and subsequently allowing for mechanical systems to be turned off or down when the roof is open. The new atrium waterpark, served to secure Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark spot on the national “tourist map” winning various Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Awards.

In 2019, a simple gas line repair in the original glulam waterpark served as the impetus for its renovation, when the repair work uncovered mold in the walls and the roof. The most recent work in 2020/2021 involved ripping off the existing roof and walls and replacing them with an aluminum retractable roof and glass/aluminum curtain wall on the existing glulam structure.

In 2022, the hotel’s indoor pool (built in 1992) was also renovated and an additional retractable roof skylight was added to that area as well.

While the pandemic had slowed demand and growth in 2020 / 2021, Zehnder’s had an incredible 11 months, despite a one month state mandated closure. Strong average daily rates, the growth of “stay-cations” and US centric travel resulted in Zehnder’s having their best year of business in recent history. This despite the downturn of international tourists. This successful year has allowed Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark to continue to upgrade the property at a time when so many businesses had stopped all work and renovation.

The waterpark industry continues to develop and grow in North America. Even at this stage, 2022 already looks to be a return to normal both for operators and for new developers and investors looking for investment opportunities. While staffing and labour shortages continues to be an issue, along with supply chain challenges for goods, consumers appear to be “back”.

The interest in the industry is due to businesses like Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark who are leading the way and encouraging others to do the same. By focusing on demographics, complementary attractions and local tourism, continual property upgrades, branding, theming, fiscal responsibility and a strong focus on management and service, has allowed this facility to overcome typical industry challenges and ride the waves to success.

As a business, the Zehnder’s ownership team continues to lead through innovation in an industry where many still preach the status quo. Zehnder’s is a four season family vacation resort appealing to families, attracting upwards of 3 million yearly visitors with an average yearly occupancy of 60-80%, and 100% at all major holidays.

Guests continually review and comment about the hotels service, freshness, cleanliness and welcoming attitude. The uniqueness of the property, its affordability continually exceeds expectations! It is clear that proper management, expansion, innovation and improvement, are the keys to Zehnder’s long-term strategy for success.

For those looking to get into the waterpark resort sector, Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark sets the bar high. OpenAire continues to work with the ownership team and looks forward to future growth and expansion as part of the team.

About OpenAire

OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality, environmentally conscious retractable roof structures and skylights for over 30 years. We bring unique visions to life from initial design to installation, transforming buildings into sunlit spaces customers love. Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, OpenAire is approaching 1,200 projects throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Some of our projects include multiple cruise liners in Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum series of ships; the Rooftop Bar at the Refinery Hotel in New York, NY; Restoration Hardware’s “RH Gallery” in Chicago, IL; Gibson Italia restaurant on the Chicago River at the River Point Tower; Fort Lewis College Observatory for the Geosciences, Physics and Engineering Hall in Durango, CO; Epic Waters Waterpark, Grand Prairie, Texas; Kalahari Resort & Waterpark in Pocono Mountains, PA (the largest waterpark under one roof in the USA); Tropicana Waterpark in Stadthagen, Germany; Jay Peak Ski Resort’s Pump House Indoor Waterpark in Jay, VT; and The Yard (beer garden) at Bally’s Casino Hotel, Atlantic City.

To learn more about OpenAire Inc.’s projects and capabilities, visit and follow us on social media.

For more information contact our team:

T: 905-901-8535

OpenAire will again be exhibiting at IAAPA Europe. Running from September 12-15 at the London Excel Center, OpenAire will be at booth 2827 during the shown.

In attendance will be Mark Albertine and Wael Atassi.

In addition to the tradeshow Nancy Patterson, Director of Design & Business Development will be moderating a presentation sponsored by WhiteWater called Not your Parents Waterpark.

Nancy will be joined by industry experts:

The presentation will be on Monday September 12, 2022 at 11am during the Waterpark Day Special Session.

Tickets can be purchased at this link:

For FREE passes to the tradeshow please reach out to to the team

OpenAire & Liv Hospitality Group, have a long term partnership whereby we have been a part of several phases in the expansion and development of WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort in Rapid City, SD.

Rapid City lies east of Black Hills National Forest and is known as a gateway to Mt. Rushmore, the massive iconic sculpture of 4 US presidents set in the heart of a spectacular mountain range just 30 minutes from town.

In recent years visitors to the region has a new destination that is a continually evolving waterpark resort. WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort is a growing complex of five family friendly hotels and an indoor waterpark can boast an average occupancy rate (AOR) of 100 percent! The complex recorded a record setting year in 2021, and has been able to complete a major waterpark update and the construction of a new event center.

During the rest of the year, the same complex has an AOR of 82%. And, despite a reduced volume of international travellers due to Covid travel restrictions, plus state wide lockdowns, this place is renovating, building, growing and expanding their service offerings.

How is that possible after the chaos caused by the Covid pandemic?

The ownership team, has clearly shown their leadership and vision. They have built a resort worth stopping to see and while stopped, something to do, eat, and more. This is NOT a roadside hotel en-route to a bigger better destination, this is a destination!

Guests passing though town to the national visitor sites now have a reason to spend a night or two in the Rapid City, as part of their holiday.

WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort is owned by Liv Hospitality and started in 2005. WaTiki is a complex of 5 hotels; Residence Inn & Suites, Fairfield by Marriott, La Quinta by Wyndham, Home2 Suites, and Courtyard by Marriott, a 30,000 sf waterpark, and opening in 2023, a state of the art event center with over 26,000 sqft of meeting space.

The waterpark receives 120,000 visitors a year and the ownership team have a dedicated, yearly, service and improvement plan.

After a reduced 2020 tourism year in South Dakota, the state's second largest industry rebounded with epic proportions. According to the South Dakota Department of Tourism, the state saw a record year for visitation, which rose 26 percent from last year, with 13.5 million people exploring the state.

watiki expands numbers chart

The Liv Hospitality team has been able to capitalize on the influx of tourism and has flourished.

The WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort continues its annual and bi-annual improvement campaign with projects of all sizes.

The 30,000 sf waterpark continues to be the biggest retractable roof waterpark in South Dakota. Built in 2005, it provides a naturally ventilated, year round, perfect sunny space, full of fresh air and happy guests.

In 2010 Sliders Bar and Grill Restaurant with its own retractable roof was added. The 210 seat bar and restaurant is connected to the main waterpark and includes a portion of one of the slides (with clear fibreglass) where kids slide over the bar out and back into the park.

In 2015, WaTiki added a 2400 sf of additional guest seating that doubles as a party venue to accommodate more guests and events.

In 2020, the waterpark received new roof infill panels (polycarbonate) due to damage from a hail storm. The replacement lasted a quick 16-weeks and was completed after hours so there were NO park closures.

In 2021, due to unprecedented demand and attendance, it was finally time for the waterpark to get a face lift. Closed for 7 weeks, the park was updated with new flooring, new paint on all the slides, new theme lighting so the park can be seen for miles, and a renovated washroom / change rooms space. The park also installed a new “Connect & Go” RFID wrist band system, interconnected with the hotel rooms and arcade and other resort amenities like lockers and food service.

The resort is more than just beds and a pool, the complex boasts a new 1.5 mile walking trail, including illumination for nighttime strolls. Coming in 2022, is a new conference center, named THE BOX, which will offer Youth Sports including a dance competition space, gym, multi courts for volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer and more. The versatile space appeals to groups from church socials, to high school proms, to sports competitions to guests of the yearly Sturgis Bike Rally and the newly Ellsworth B21 Training Facility. This truly is a one of a kind destination in Rapid City, meeting the needs of guests from every walk of life.

Great friendly staff are the backbone to our success, and are the reason guests return year after year to our resort. In addition to all of our wonderful amenities, we hear time and again that guests come here for our wonderful service. Our teams go above and beyond every day, guests feel safe, welcome, the space is clean, bright, friendly and fresh. There is always something new to discover and a helping hand when needed.
~Kayti Ratigan, Chief Operating Officer

At 686 rooms, and a growing amenity portfolio of over 80,000 sf of entertainment space, WaTiki is a destination to watch. The ownership team pride themselves on service above and beyond all marketable amenities and its the reason guests return. That said, the same team continues to innovate, listen to guests requests and requirements and plan for future attractions, additions and more. This resort is a “must-stop” destination for anyone travelling through America’s Heartland. The team here has done everything right to build a successful enterprise!

OpenAire continues to be a proud partner of the Liv Hospitality and WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort Teams. A testament to our relationship is the continued work and service we provide. Also known for our excellent service record and friendly team, we are proud to continue to work with this team to help them lead the way in waterpark resort planning, design, operations and management. Their success is our success and we are so pleased to be part of the future of this amazing destination!

watiki indoor waterpark 0822 2

OpenAire has begun construction of the new 100,000 sf Island Waterpark at The Showboat Resort Atlantic City.

OAKVILLE, ON – March 2022 – OpenAire is pleased to share that Tower Investments Inc, a leading developer of retail, entertainment, mixed use, residential and commercial properties, founded by Bart Blatstein, who is also the owner of Showboat Resort, broke ground in January on a new $100 million indoor water park in Atlantic City.

The 100,000-square-foot park will be called the Island Waterpark and is going to be located at the Showboat Resort Atlantic City. The waterpark is expected to open to the public in 2023.

The retractable roof enclosure by OpenAire will open to the adjacent boardwalk and how everything from an exclusive adults lounge to a zip line and suspended coaster over the largest waterpark in the region. The over 550ft long building will include a variety of adult and kid friendly zones plus large sliding doors that open to the boardwalk.

The Waterpark will include:

atlantic city waterpark featuredOpenAire is pleased to share that the waterpark will sit adjacent to the Showboat Resort and the entirely aluminum enclosure will be able to resist the corrosive effects of both the waterpark and the beachfront ocean air. The operable roof will ensure that the park can be open every day year round.
OpenAire has been designing and building retractable roof enclosures for waterparks for over 30 years. The aluminum structures are maintenance free, corrosion resistant and are naturally ventilated reducing energy consumption and life cycle costs for the waterpark.

The Island Waterpark is the newest part of an ongoing commitment to creating Atlantic City’s first year-round family resort, following the recent opening of the Lucky Snake Arcade at Showboat Resort. The Lucky Snake is an 85,000 sf arcade, featuring more than 300 games, a sports bar, a boxing ring, e-sports gaming, live entertainment stages, and a speakeasy that pays tribute to the town’s history and involvement in prohibition. The newest attraction this Spring to this fabulous arcade is indoor go-carts which will make this the largest arcade on the East Coast.

atlantic city waterpark slideThe Island Waterpark will ensure that the Showboat Resort continues its evolution into THE family friendly resort destination in Atlantic City. The beachfront location and bright space full of new and exciting water attractions and water sports will become a target destination for family fun in the region. The benefit of the fabulous location and assortment of activities is sure to please crowds of all sizes and ages.

About OpenAire

OpenAire has been designing and manufacturing beautiful, high-quality, environmentally conscious retractable roof structures and skylights for over 30 years. We bring unique visions to life from initial design to installation, transforming buildings into sunlit spaces customers love. Headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, OpenAire is approaching 1,200 projects throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Some of our projects include multiple cruise liners in Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum series of ships; the Rooftop Bar at the Refinery Hotel in New York, NY; Restoration Hardware’s “RH Gallery” in Chicago, IL; Gibson Italia restaurant on the Chicago River at the River Point Tower; Fort Lewis College Observatory for the Geosciences, Physics and Engineering Hall in Durango, CO; Epic Waters Waterpark, Grand Prairie, Texas; Kalahari Resort & Waterpark in Pocono Mountains, PA (the largest waterpark under one roof in the USA); Tropicana Waterpark in Stadthagen, Germany; Jay Peak Ski Resort’s Pump House Indoor Waterpark in Jay, VT; the Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, NV. To learn more about OpenAire Inc.’s projects and capabilities, visit and follow us on Twitter. For more details on this project, please e-mail

For more information contact our team;
T: 905-901-8535

March 21, 2022 - OpenAire is thrilled to Partner with SOSH Architects in the renovation of the rooftop at Resorts Casino Hotel. The upper level pool deck is being transformed with a new glass retractable roofs enclosure, new, luxury furniture, TVs and a bar. The newly updated Rooftop deck will be the latest sin a series of renovations to the hotel and is expected to open in early summer 2022.

Guests will be thrilled with the new open enclosure and glass walls - giving them an incredible view of the adjacent boardwalk and waterfront from this gorgeous upgraded hotel amenity.

Resorts Casino Hotel was constructed in 1978 and is managed by Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment Property.

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment took over the management of Resorts Casino Hotel in 2012. The venue sits on 21 acres and offers 942 guest rooms and suites in two hotel towers, an 80,000 square foot casino, two theatres and 10 restaurants. Guests can also enjoy shopping, spa and health club facilities.

Article Link:

Rendering for Concept Purposes only

resorts casino hotel rendering 4

resorts casino hotel rendering 3

resorts casino hotel rendering 2

resorts casino hotel rendering 1

Opening in 2022, OpenAire is pleased to be partnering with the designers at SOSH Architects on the new beer garden called The Yard, located at Bally’s Atlantic City.

bally's atlantic city boardwalk beer hall

The Yard will be a 60ft wide and 85ft long retractable roof enclosure sitting within the U shaped courtyard of the hotel. The new beer garden will feature operable walls on all sides and a retractable roof that opens in 10 moving sections. Adding a retractable roof enclosure that opens and closes at the push of a button will mean that no matter the weather or time of year, The Yard will be a destination that can’t be missed.

The venue is inspired by Philadelphia and New York-style beer halls, Bally’s executives said. Once finished, The Yard will be over 10,000 square feet, with more than 5,000 square feet of new construction.

“The modern industrial design and open-air space captures beautiful views from every angle in a park-like setting and designed to guarantee outstanding acoustics for live entertainment all year long. The Yard is a game-changer and an unmatched experience and must-see attraction for all guests visiting Atlantic City,” said Paul Juliano, senior vice president of operations at Bally’s Corporation.

The retractable roof enclosure with its glass walls and translucent roof will ensure that the view from inside the hotel and from the boardwalk to the Casino is unhindered. The open airy space, will certainly be a highlight of the massive renovation underway a the hotel.

We often get asked, “Can we turn our outdoor pool into an indoor pool…?

The answer is… yes but there are a few things you need to consider when making your plans.

Considerations When Turning An Outdoor Pool Into An Indoor Pool

The first thing is Lot Coverage. For every project, you need to ensure that are you “allowed” per local codes/by-laws to increase your built area lot coverage.

For example in some jurisdictions the building(s) may only cover 10% of your land. Or in other areas, you must be a certain distance from the lot lines. Your pool may be located to close to an “edge” of your lot. Or the pool enclosure may need to be smaller to ensure you dont go over your coverage allowance. Consider with an indoor pool you still want pool side seating in at least one area, so look at the pool and deck and furniture and think about how big the new enclosure really needs to be.

The other site related item to consider is access. If the pool is located in an area of the site that is hard to reach with construction equipment, then the building will be more costly to install. It will take longer and there may be some limitations to the style of building you investigate adding. Is the pool on the side of a cliff, can a truck access the pool area, what damage might be done to the lawn and surrounding gardens if trucks are in and out of there for a couple of months.

Assuming there are no significant site related issues, here are the other items to consider when planning your pool transformation.

When your pool was installed, it was not designed to be indoor. The mechanical systems for an indoor pool and an outdoor pool vary. So first things first, you need to understand that there WILL be upgrades required to the existing pool mechanical systems. A local pool builder (no matter if you project is commercial or residential) is the best person to provide costs for this renovation/upgrade.

In line with this upgrade, when foundations are installed for the new enclosure, the location of existing piping must be kept in mind. Digging ditches and cutting pipes is a hassle for both the owner and builder and an added cost, unless piping is being replaced anyway.

In addition to the aforementioned upgrades you will need to add a mechanical dehumidification system to maintain the air quality of the pool environment. This is required for all indoor pools in addition to a heating and/or cooling system.

Consider the age of the pool. The pool has been outside exposed to the elements for a period of time. Outside of upgrading the mechanics, a 30 year old pool in a sparkly new building will look like a 30 year old pool. So there “may” be some aesthetic upgrades required, paint, tile, decking and such to make your renovated pool the one you imagine it to be.

So… once you have determined that your lot can handle a building with a larger footprint, the pool is accessible and you are aware you need to upgrade the pool itself… then yes you can turn an outdoor pool into an indoor pool.

Now you need to think about the type of enclosure you want for your pool. Consider the following. ALL pools are corrosive, it doesn’t matter if it is “salt water” or not, public or private, a waterpark of a lap pool… “Salt water” solutions are the same in that the chloramines in the air will EAT the building from the inside out. The maintenance alone on a building that is rotting or corroding makes the long term reality of an indoor pool a costly venture. New roofs and walls are expensive. Consider a building material like aluminum which will never corrode.

In addition depending on your location and climate, you may also be subject to aggressive environmental conditions; for example if your location is near a beach, you are subject to salt water, if you are in the mountains you must consider snow loads, and if you are in a southern hurricane zone, winds are your primary issue. Your building solution must be able to accommodate the environment at your specific site.

Operating costs are the last big item to consider with a pool transformation. It is much more expensive to operate an indoor pool that is year round than an outdoor one. You’ve added a new series of mechanical equipment to your indoor pool, all of which runs continuously. Plus you have a building you need to heat, cool and illuminate.

If you want a cost efficient solution to your pool transformation that works in any geography and climate, look for an all aluminum structure that opens up and is allowed to naturally ventilate. Even in the harshest coldest climates, turning off the AC or heat for a few months results in dollars saved. The energy savings from turning off lights and HVAC can be 20-30% a year if a space is naturally ventilated with openings in walls and a retractable roof.

Check out the Huff Aquatic Center at the Scheu Family YMCA of Upland California. This was an outdoor pool, built with the intent to transform theiroutdoor pool into an indoor pool, but due to funding the project was phased. So phase one was the new recreation center for the YMCA, then the outdoor pool and lastly was the enclosure of the pool. The transformation is incredible and just in time for the past few years of pandemic. The indoor/outdoor space became a gym, classroom, pool and party place!

The options are endless - reach out to OpenAire for help with your venue transformation, whether its transforming an outdoor pool into an indoor pool or something unique to your needs, in a way that is cost effective and maintenance free.

*The Scheu Family YMCA transforms their outdoor pool into an indoor pool.

outdoor pool into an indoor pool

The short answer is yes, if you can. After a couple years of Covid-19 related delays and cancellations the world has finally gone back to work. However what remains is higher construction costs and far longer lead times. So if you had a project and it was put on hold, is it a good time to re-start your pre-covid project or should you wait?

As you can imagine the cost of construction is high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks everything from labour to construction costs to specific commodities. The list goes on but an enlightening piece of information is the Special Cost Index for overall Construction Materials.

pre-covid project

A building is never one material, one item, one supplier. A building is a series of materials sometimes overlaid like a paint, sometimes joined like wood or metal and concrete. A good indices of overall costs is this overall Special index. Sure one material might be on the up and another on the way down but the overall trend is the one to really think about.

Since the 1950s construction material costs have been rising, as has the cost of labour. So is there ever a “great time” to start… Yes - when the cost to borrow to invest in these materials is low. Like right now.

The cost to borrow money seems poised to rise but now is a good time to get the money you need to start and lock in costs for your project. A good hedge for escalating costs is to lock in material pricing with suppliers.

Restarting Your Pre-Covid Project

A company like OpenAire starts with larger upfront deposits to do just that. By starting a new or pre-covid project and putting down a larger deposit you can “lock in” the price of materials at current rates and hedge cost of escalation. It is a bet, indeed, but with the trends on the up you are now at “Current rates” and in line for materials.

But what if prices drop? Well thats the bet and at best, a moderate drop in the individual price of one material, actually won’t impact your construction costs. The overlap of multiple materials and items is simply too great.

The delays in construction schedules we are seeing right now, means that even if one commodity drops in price you are still holding onto a property with nothing happening. Real estate isn’t dropping and utilities are also on the rise. So if you are not planning to jump ship and bail on the entire thing, now is the time to get in “line” so you have a chance of seeing something sometime next year.

At this point, in February of 2022… if you have a pre-covid project  or new project starting, you likely won’t see anything until 2023. Depending on the size of the project, that might actually be 2024. So you need to factor in the cost of delays and simple scheduling. Projects take time, and now that time is at its peak.

All manufacturers are now booking a few years out, after the Covid-19 slowdowns, it appears the construction market is back. While this is an exciting time, there remains an element of hesitation. However, as the world looks to demote Covid-19 to an endemic disease, economies, businesses and investors are looking to get back on track and plan for the future.

A few tactics to consider include planning a project in phases with consideration for lower maintenance structures and buildings that cost less to operate. Also, and importantly, buildings that are helpful in ensuring the next time an air borne virus takes over, that your space is naturally ventilated and able to handle people in volume safely.

Start now with the plan to grow. A system like OpenAire allows for expansion and natural ventilation through operable walls and roofs. Literally we can take off an end wall and make your space bigger down the road.

Or if you are looking to renovate your existing space, we can rip off old walls and roofs and replace them with new. Open roofs and walls allow theses spaces to operate even during a pandemic like what we have seen the past two years.

So if you have a project and access to funding, it is Go Time!

Are you familiar with Operable Walls? Every business owner is looking for long-term solutions to prevent future pandemic closures. This means not only modified business models and services but sometimes includes upgraded facilities. Most cities and towns have commercial areas where businesses find themselves in storefront spaces. Typically these are glass fronted spaces because it is well researched that retail spending increases in day-lit environments.

Reducing interior partitions and allowing air to flow through these spaces from front to back and or side to side is a fabulous and easy solution for increasing air flow. Except that many of these facilities do not include operable facades. The (typically) single entry door is often beside a very large window wall that doesn’t open. A retractable roof or skylight would help (a-lot) but thats not always possible. So what can owners do?

It is a reality that typical commercial facades are fairly basic glass walls - called "storefront". Sometimes in line with a historic facade, often as part of a low cost commercial building block. Some modern, some not… all fixed glass. Whether the glass is frosted, clear, in large panes, with one door or two, none of them open up. There are multiple suppliers of storefront in all provinces and states. Their offerings are similar.

However expectations as we know have changed with the onset of Covid-19…. It is now very important to naturally ventilate businesses with large volumes of fresh air for the healthy and safety of staff and clients. The volume of people in a restaurant or retail store, means that it is necessary to open up walls to keep air moving in and out of a space at a large volume so that infection rates can be minimized.

There is actually an easy solution for opening up the front or side facade of your business. It sounds simple and in most cases it is. It involves opening up the walls and replacing fixed glass with glass that moves.

Three Things To Consider About Operable Walls

  1. Should the new wall opening be walkable?
    In other words should staff and guests be able to enter and exit through the wall when its open or is there a reason that a railing might be included in the operable wall? This might be due to the type of business or perhaps a second floor location etc. There are many reasons why a wall may or may not become a walking passage. Its fairly easy to make sure a new open wall either opens to become a railing or includes a railing element.
  2. Should the wall be manual or motorized?
    You have the option to have a wall open via the flick of a switch, or via a manual window or door. Depending on the size and number of doors/windows and the way they open, a motorized system can be an excellent solution, with less risk of human error and breakage. This makes the most sense in a larger format opening or where a larger piece of glass is to move. The manual options of sliding doors and folding (bi-fold) doors are great for standard height spaces with smaller openings. Sliding doors are great for taller heights, bi fold doors have more limited height options.
  3. How do you want the wall(s) to open?
    Up down, left right, folding, sliding etc… There are multiple options for how to open a wall, each option includes operations, maintenance, cost, safety, egress, height, width and other considerations.

operable wallsA typical door and or window company can supply a large variety of manual window and door options. The options for sliding or bifold doors are many. If however you are looking for a motorized system there are fewer options. The benefits of a motorized system is that large panes of glass can be raised, lowered pivoted or can slide out of the way at the pust of a button. No risk for operator error.   

OpenAire is the ideal supplier for moving and operable walls. Typically oversized and unique in location, OpenAire not only opens roofs but also walls. Whether its an oversized wall sliding left to right or a motorized window series that drops down to become a railing, we have developed a series of solutions. 

The newest series of motorized operable walls from OpenAire are light frame horizontal panels, where the top two panels slide down and become a railing. Found initially on various cruise ship projects with Royal Caribbean, these operable walls have been modified to suit smaller commercial environments. There are over 15 of these doors on the newly renovated Westin Bear Mountain Resort; Masters Lounge in Victoria BC.

Contact our team to find out more.