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What is Building Envelope Testing and How Can It Prevent Illness and Discomfort In Your Building

Unpredictability. That is the term best used to describe the weather in Texas. One minute it’s hot and dry, and the next can be cold and rainy. Regardless of the season, your building should keep out the air, water, and moisture from the outside. Buildings with even the most minor air or water leak can jeopardize occupant safety, lower the productivity of those inside, and lead to unnecessarily high heating and cooling costs. Building envelope testing catches these irregularities to stop the leaks and then prevent the problem from worsening.

building envelope testing services in texasWhat is Building Envelope Testing?

Building envelope testing or building envelope analysis involves analyzing the barriers between an enclosed structure’s exterior and interior, such as a school, office building, or factory. This type of testing mainly looks for any thermal, air, or water leaks within the building. Any of these leaks can affect the health, safety, and comfort of those inside the building. Undetected or unaddressed leaks can worsen over time, resulting in costly repairs and HVAC system inefficiencies. Testing is applicable all phases of a project from new construction to renovation, remediation, and forensics.

Specialized in exterior envelope design and construction, Zero/Six Consulting has extensive knowledge of windows, roofing systems, curtain walls, and any portion of your facility controlling your air quality and moisture prevention. While architects, builders, and waterproofers are numerous, they specialize in either the design or the installation; our team provides comprehensive building envelope analysis services that span all phases of a project, including new construction, renovation, remediation, and forensics.

We help bridge the gap between these trades by providing design and construction staffing for building envelope analysis. As a result, we can ensure your design adequately addresses preventative moisture measures and that the sequencing, handling, and installation of the envelope during construction support the air and watertight facility.

The codes and standards used in building envelope test come from the American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials (ASTM), the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).

What Happens When Buildings are Not Ready for Seasonal Changes?

Water and air leaks can happen at any time. Sometimes, these water leaks are from long-term problems that haven’t been addressed, and others may be based on shifting ground or older materials. Proactive measures are the best way to avoid costly repairs later on when the problem is apparent. If the repairs are extensive, the building may be required to be temporarily closed. Not only will building owners, managers, and architects (if it is new construction) pay for costly repairs, but there could be a risk of lost revenue during the building’s closure.

Even in places where the winters are warm and sunny, it is a good idea to have your building envelope tested. Here in Texas, for instance, spring rains come after the pleasant winter months. When buildings are tested for water leaks and the leaks are promptly repaired, they are ready to provide safety and comfort to their occupants when the rains come.

Water Leaks

When water seeps in through the roof, doors, and windows, the structural integrity of the building is compromised. The mold that can form inside the building due to a water leak can put the health of those inside at risk. Depending on how severe or mild the seasons are in your area, it is a good idea to have building envelope testing done as soon as possible

Air and Thermal Leaks

Office or classroom comfort makes a big difference in people’s productivity and focus. Air and thermal leaks can also have adverse effects on people’s health. In a hospital, the cold air can be harmful to patients and staff. Similarly, leaks make it is difficult to maintain the building’s interior temperature at a comfortable level. When there are thermal leaks, the heating and HVAC systems must work harder to warm the building to a comfortable temperature and will inevitably lead to higher heating bills.

Air leaks can also impact the building’s air filtration system. In certain areas, such as city centers, significant amounts of unhealthy air particles can make it more difficult for the building’s HVAC system to filter the pollutants. A tight seal formed around the building helps purify the air. If the air can’t adequately filter out the incoming pollutants, the heater will warm it and dispense them throughout the building. When there is too much warm, recycled (polluted) air, increased chances of illnesses, such as colds, spread among building occupants.

Z6 Consulting offers various services, including water and moisture analysis and blower door testing. Our testing isn’t destructive to the building and meets the waterproofing, structural evaluation, and building envelope standards set by ASTM and AAMA. Contact Z6 Consulting today and let us help detect possible water, air, and thermal leaks to your building before they become serious structural and safety issues.