A building envelope system can fail for many reasons, though all produce the same results – a less energy-efficient, moisture-resistant, durable, and comfortable structure. Contractors can prevent many building envelope failures by using Barricade Building Wraps or Barricade Thermo-Brace S.I.B. Both products provide air and moisture resistance, durability, strength, and easy installation – all of which help prevent building envelope failure.
The building envelope, which includes the walls, roof, foundations, windows, and doors, protects the interior of a structure from the outside elements. A properly designed and constructed building envelope combines moisture management, structural integrity, temperature control, and air pressure boundaries into a cohesive system.
A tight building envelope system requires precise design-build engineering expertise that includes a continuous air barrier and sealing of all joints and breaks. Unfortunately, the aesthetic design choices architects and designers make sometimes don’t provide adequate performance criteria for structural capacity, thermal movement, or water-resistance.
The whole-building system approach mandates that every building professional on the team understands all aspects that affect the building’s envelope. Contractors that coordinate and consult with the expert parties involved in the project considerably lessen the chances of building envelope failure.
Building envelopes can fail when materials don’t achieve the published performance levels, often as a result of errors in the manufacturing, storing, or handling of the materials or components within the product. Contractors must inspect all building products before using to prevent envelope failure. For example, metal can fatigue, sealant adhesion can degrade, and laminated glass can delaminate.
Building envelope systems may also fail if subcontractors minimize costs by reducing the number, size, and weight of the number of different components vital to the structural integrity of a building.
Envelope failures due to poor workmanship grow during periods of skilled labor shortages. During times of labor shortages, contractors often must rely on inexperienced, unsupervised, and untrained employees to work on projects. Relying on these employees can lead to poor workmanship and installation of building envelope components that don’t comply with manufacturer specifications.
Unfortunately, the 2019 third-quarter commercial construction index found that 58 percent of U.S. contractors report a high level of concern over the lack of skilled workers.
Upon completion of a construction project, a skilled building envelope inspector must perform the final building envelope system inspection according to the 2018 International Energy Conservation Codes and local and state codes. An inaccurate final inspection may allow a building envelope system to fail.
Wind-driven rain, hurricane-force winds, and extreme temperature fluctuations (during and after construction) can damage an improperly designed building envelope, which makes it susceptible to deterioration or failure. To minimize the damage to the building envelope by natural disasters, contractors and building owners should perform detailed inspections and make necessary repairs after each severe weather event.
For the best defense against envelope failures, builders must conduct daily inspections of the building envelope during the construction process, and should immediately repair any detected problems in the building envelope system.
For the long-term durability of the building envelope system, building- and home-owners should routinely inspect their investment and immediately repair any problems found. Building owners should inspect several specific components of the envelope annually;
Builders looking for superior products that can help avoid building envelope system failures should consider Barricade® products:
When a building envelope fails, a building becomes less energy-efficient, moisture-resistant, durable, and comfortable. Building envelope systems can fail for numerous reasons: design flaws, not implementing the whole-building approach, material problems, poor workmanship, not hiring a qualified building envelope inspector, natural disasters, and not conducting routine inspections during and after construction.
Builders can avoid many of the threats to the building envelope by using Barricade Building Wraps or Barricade Thermo-Brace S.I.B. Both products provide air and moisture resistance, durability, strength, and ease of application – all of which help prevent building envelope failure.