Category Building Envelope Failures

24
Nov
Fear Factor: Mold Returns...
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Here’s a building owner’s real fear factor: your building is found to have mold and moisture problems. Diagnostic tests lead to a complete rebricking of the exterior, only for the same mold problems to return the following summer. That’s scary. How could the repair have been so far off from what was actually the problem?

This is part 2 of 2. LBFG recently worked with a midwestern medical facility experiencing buildup of frost and ice in above-ceiling spaces and clerestories during winter months two years after construction. The frost/ice eventually melted, causing damage and leaking into occupied rooms below. LBFG discovered the causes to be an improperly designed air barrier

10
Jun
“The Iceman Cometh”:...
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This is part 1 of 2. The 1940’s play “The Iceman Cometh” examines the dangers of an illusory life. Fortunately, when it comes to building science, there’s no need to live under illusory pretensions about whether a building will fail or thrive. Florida-based Liberty Building Forensics Group® (LBFG), a leading building forensics firm that has

27
May
How to Make Your Next Air...
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This is part 2 of 2. “Building tightness is extremely important in increasing the drying potential of a wall,” said LBFG Vice-President Richard Scott, AIA. “A well-constructed building with a good air barrier helps the HVAC system pressurize the building with conditioned air, which increases its drying effectiveness. HVAC systems in warm, humid climates need

13
May
How to Make Your Next Air...
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Comments Off on How to Make Your Next Air Barrier Prevent Building Mold and Moisture Failures, Pt. 1

This is part 1 of 2. After seeing numerous high-level examples of building failures due to air barrier defects, Florida-based Liberty Building Forensics Group (LBFG) is warning that air barrier goals set by architects aren’t always achievable by contractors and can even lead to disaster. Building moisture that leads to water damage and mold is

29
Apr
ACAC Benefits from Libert...
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Named to National Indoor Air Quality Certification Board Liberty Building Forensics Group® (LBFG) is pleased to announce that Senior PM Sean Fitzgerald has been accepted as a certifications board member for the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC). Fitzgerald is uniquely qualified for this prestigious position due to his extensive background working on some of

28
May
The Envelope Design, HVAC...
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This is the ninth post in a series by J. David Odom (ASHRAE), Richard Scott (AIA/NCARB/LEED AP), and George H. DuBose (CGC). It was first published as a mini-monograph for NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards). It may be only a slight overstatement to state that there is no wall system which a creative

18
Apr
Fundamental Commissioning...
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This is the sixth post in a series by J. David Odom (ASHRAE), Richard Scott (AIA/NCARB/LEED AP), and George H. DuBose (CGC). It was first published as a mini-monograph for NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards). Intent of EA 1: Verify that the building’s energy-related systems are installed and calibrated, and perform according to

By Rick Scott, AIA This is part 3 of 4. Results of Air Barrier Testing After the test data was collected, it was analyzed to determine the air leakage rates in cubic feet of air (cfm) per square feet (ft2) of wall surface area. This analysis revealed that the building was leakier than predicted and

16
Oct
Case Study – Humidi...
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By Rick Scott, AIA This is part 3 of 3. Humidification Testing and Analysis Through quantitative analysis, it was determined that proper operation of the humidification system would solve the frost/ice problem without changing pressurization and/or replacing/altering the presumptive “air barrier.” Replacing/altering the specified vapor retarder to act as an air barrier would have required

2
Oct
Case Study – Humidifica...
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By Rick Scott, AIA This is part 2 of 3. As-Built Conditions In Accordance With Design The exterior walls of the steel-framed building were finished with stucco (portland cement plaster) on gypsum sheathing attached to metal studs. A polyethylene vapor retarder was specified and installed. Although some gaps and loose sealing tape were observed in

18
Sep
Case Study – Humidi...
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By Rick Scott, AIA This is part 1 of 3. The following case study presents an example of what Liberty Building Forensics Group encountered when excessive humidification, building positive pressurization, and a leaky building envelope combined to cause condensation, frost, and ice damage in a Midwestern medical facility. Liberty was called in two years after