Building Envelope Evaluations Help Prevent Costly Damage

Building Envelope Evaluations Help Prevent Costly Damage

While most commercial building owners periodically have their roof systems inspected, other crucial building envelope evaluations are often overlooked.  Analyzing a commercial building’s masonry, exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), glass, and insulated wall panels are among the most critical ways a building envelope evaluation can help prevent costly damage and energy inefficiencies.

Defining a Building Envelope

The Building Envelope is the shield that surrounds and protects the entire building by controlling the flow of “energy” between the inside and outside environments.  Whether this “energy” takes on the form of thermal convection, air leakage, water vapor, or bulk water, the Building Envelope must be designed and constructed properly to ensure that it responds effectively.  Building owners must be confident that all aspects of a Building Envelope are performing as intended in order to extend the life cycle of the structure and satisfy energy and fire code requirements.

Common Building Envelope Failures

Common causes of Building Envelope failures can often be attributed to operational damage, tornadoes, hurricanes, snow storms and general building aging.  Below are several common occurrences to look for:

  • Weather stripping on doors deteriorating
  • Holes drilled in wall systems left unsealed
  • Window system sealant failures
  • Control joints losing their sealant
  • Holes in mortar joints left unsealed
  • Wall system flashing failures

Problems Caused by Building Envelope Failures

Regardless of the type of building, the Building Envelope, including the roof, walls, windows and structure, should be tested at a minimum of every 5 years to be certain problems and significant damage do not occur.  Types of problems and damage include:

  • Significant exterior wall damage
  • Structural failure
  • Damaged flooring
  • Mold growth on the inside surfaces of gypsum drywall
  • Heating and cooling system inefficiencies

Completing a Building Envelope Evaluation

A Building Envelope evaluation is generally as simple as a visual inspection of the interior and exterior of a building by an experienced professional.  Munger Construction is readily available to perform Building Envelope evaluations to ensure buildings are structurally sound, compliant with local, state and federal regulations and codes, and that all exterior features are performing at their maximum capacity and efficiency.  Our team will identify any issues of concern and can assist in developing and implementing a plan to improve your Building Envelope.