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Part 1: Building Envelopes: Minimize Air, Water Leaks
By James Piper, P.E.
September 2010 -
Windows & Exterior Walls Article Use Policy
One of the most common and significant problems maintenance and engineering managers face in a range of institutional and commercial buildings involves leaks in the building envelope. Moisture leaks accelerate the deterioration of envelope components, destroy the thermal resistance of insulating materials, damage interior building components and contents, and lead to the growth of mold within the building structure, which, in turn creates an additional set of issues.
Beyond these problems, persistent air leaks also can significantly reduce the thermal efficiency of the building envelope, while at the same time increasing the number of comfort complaints from building occupants.
In spite of the impact leaks can have on facility operations and occupants, most organizations do not pay enough attention to their building envelopes until a problem occurs. Unfortunately, by that point, the damage already has been done. As a result, they face major repair costs, downtime, and possible damage to interior components.
Staying on top of the building envelope's condition is not a difficult task. A two-pronged approach that combines inspections with scheduled replacements will help managers avoid most building-envelope problems.
Building Envelopes: Component Inspections and Replacement
Part 2: Building Envelopes: Inspection Requirements for EIFS
Part 3: How to Replace Building-Envelope Components