Guide to Water-Resistant Design and Construction Techniques: How to Prevent Water Intrusion, Condensation and Mold

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0. Intro and Article Index (this page)

1. Change vs. Time

2. Water Intrusion / Mold

3. Water-Resistant Pre-design

4. Building Envelope Design

5. Bidding and Pre-construction

6. Construction

About this Guide ...

This guide was developed after more than 80 years of combined experience in United States and abroad. We present successful principles and practices to minimize water intrusion and related problems that they have learned over time and which have been tested in the field. This information is presented with over 360 illustrations and figures, images, details, and tables to communicate their findings to those from varied backgrounds and experience levels. This guide is intended to be a useful reference to those planning, designing, and constructing buildings in any climate and setting. This guide has been written so that most learners can easily follow often-technical topics.

The first section commencess with historical precedents, describing social and economic forces that continue to shape our societies today. The authors list common problems contributing to building envelope failure and begin methodical explanations on how to avoid them. A systematic approach is used for applications to all building types, with numerous examples (both good and bad) of how to avoid air and water intrusion.

In Section 2 the authors discuss the principal concepts of gravity, geometry, and technology for use in a basic recipe for success in making sound decisions throughout the processes of design and construction. A section is included that describes mold, how it can be transported, and how to minimize the potential for mold growth.

Section 3 makes the transition into the pre-design phase. This is where most of the decisions that have an impact on the ultimate performance of the envelope are made. Pre-design activities are discussed, such as building programming and establishing a hierarchical listing of achievable project goals and objectives.

Design processes will differ based on client and project delivery processes and have an effect on the building envelope. Examples of many different roles played by designers and builders (building delivery systems) are provided, along with discussion of the pros and cons of each. Among project goals are image and performance expectations and time and budget considerations. The authors stress the importance of developing a blueprint for success, as well as getting buy-in from all stakeholders, before proceeding into the next phase.

Section 4 covers the design process, from selecting the right firm to developing schematic plans and completing the building design. Real-world examples are used to discuss value engineering and how to prevent value engineering decisions from resulting in a building envelope that performs poorly. The different ways water moves into our buildings is explained, with a focus on how to pre vent intrusion and formation within buildings. This analysis starts with site design, includes foundation and floor systems, and then moves to wall and roof systems. The major performance categories of wall systems are introduced, along with recommendations on which to use in what climate. There are sections on membranes, sealants, and flashing installations. The discourse continues with a review of the many different kinds of roofing systems and addresses the role played by mechanical systems, including heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC). Of special interest are several award-winning examples of modern buildings in China, Canada , and the United States , all of which use glazing as it has never been used before.

Section 5 moves into the preconstruction phase by explaining the need for clearly defined project scope and discusses ways to avoid the root causes of scope creep and a reduction in project quality. Cost-cutting is differentiated from value engineering. Common mistakes are pointed out that might result in lesser-performing systems than were designed, especially when they could result in future moisture intrusion, condensation, and mold problems. Success stories are shared as to the ways value engineering has been approached successfully in past projects.

Section 6 looks at construction. The section reiterates the holistic approach that has proven to be most successful, relying on a team approach to problem solving in which the synergy of the whole yields the best results. Tips are given on how to handle preconstruction meetings, the process of documenting change, and how to work with contractors to avoid problems that could result from out-of-sequence installations. The discussion proceeds to substantial completion and the importance of a punch list. Post-construction is also assessed as an important role in envelope performance, as well as relationship building and limiting liability. The emphasis is on open communication with all parties as the best means to avoid future problems.

We also provide a list of abbreviations, with their expanded meaning. We hope that you find something useful in this illustrated guide to building-envelope design and construction, and by using it can avoid problems.

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Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 7:30