“Till Death Do Us Part”: Preventing a Facade and HVAC Divorce When It Comes to Air Barrier Performance

Avoid Catastrophic Mold and Moisture Problems in Hot, Humid Climates
Due to Air Barrier Standard Confusion

By George DuBose, CGC; Richard Scott, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP; and Donald B. Snell, PE, Cert. Mech. Contractor, CIEC

Design and Construction Amnesia: We Have Lost our Minds and it is Causing Catastrophic Mold and Moisture Building Failures

September 6th, 2017|Categories: Building Envelope Failures, Building Failures, Case Study, Hidden Risks of Green Buildings, High Performance Buildings, Manuals, Mold and Moisture, Peer Reviews|Comments Off on Design and Construction Amnesia: We Have Lost our Minds and it is Causing Catastrophic Mold and Moisture Building Failures

Corporate Amnesia: How to prevent it from causing your next catastrophic mold and moisture building failure

April 18th, 2017|Categories: Building Design, Building Envelope Failures, Building Failures, Case Study, Hotels/Hospitality, Humid Climates, Problem Avoidance, Projects Completed by Liberty|Comments Off on Corporate Amnesia: How to prevent it from causing your next catastrophic mold and moisture building failure

Military Housing Washes Out on New Air Barrier Standards

It remains to be seen whether new building code requirements that contain stricter air tightness standards based on energy efficiency initiatives are actually attainable.

Buildings that passed former air tightness standards with flying colors just a few years ago would now fail dismally under more recent, aggressive standards in codes such as IgCC and IECC.

Innovation incentives and high performance requirements may be well-intentioned but can lead to significant confusion – not to mention unachievable benchmarks and possible building failures.

These codes and initiatives are often driven by empirical laboratory analysis, which does not always translate well to field applications. Codification is then […]

“The Iceman Cometh”: The Secret to Avoiding Cold Weather Building Failures

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 LBFG, a leading building forensics firm that has solved some of the world’s largest and most complex building moisture and mold problems, asserts that avoidable building failure patterns can be detected, leading to risk being reduced or even almost entirely eliminated.

After a challenging winter, many building owners, architects, engineers, and contractors are now dealing with the fallout of cold weather building issues. LBFG believes […]

Is Big Data in Construction a Big Problem or Big Opportunity?

Massive construction projects often create major building forensic issues, requiring big data collection that quickly becomes a liability if not managed properly.

If a quarter million data sets are to be used by a 40-member team, the data needs to be organized so as to efficiently accomplish goals and achieve solutions amidst large construction project daily needs and looming deadlines.

“Anybody can collect data,” said George DuBose, Vice President of Liberty Building Forensics Group® (Liberty), a Florida-based firm. “What’s critical is collecting the right data and making it accessible to the right people for their intended use. The data organization system must […]

Liberty Building Forensics Group Completes Expert Witness Work for Pegasus Landings

Florida-based Liberty Building Forensics Group® (Liberty), a leading building forensics firm that has solved some of the world’s largest and most complex building moisture and mold problems, has recently completed an expert moisture-related consulting project for a building project called Pegasus Landings.

An affiliated student-housing complex for the University of Central Florida, Pegasus Landings had undergone significant moisture-related damage in both the interior and exterior of 34 buildings, which resulted in more than $54 million in renovations and repairs.

Liberty conducted an investigation and analysis to determine the design and construction defects that had caused the damage. Liberty Vice President George DuBose […]

Air Barrier Testing at a Tropical Resort, Part 4

By Rick Scott, AIA

This is part 4 of 4.

Conclusions and Lessons Learned

Test findings showed the difficulty of trying to achieve a very tight air barrier installation. While the resort specifications called for a very ambitious whole building air barrier performance target of 0.085 cfm/ft2 at 75 Pa, such numbers are almost meaningless to the workers performing the air barrier assembly installation. These target numbers are probably abstract to many designers as well.

Rather than providing performance specifications, the designers needed to provide prescriptive specifications with directions to the workers on proper installation techniques to achieve the target air tightness.

The specified target […]

Air Barrier Testing at a Tropical Resort, Part 3

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 specified by the design team (Figure 6), from over 3 to almost 8 times as much. Although these test results were met with concern by the client and design team, they were not unusual compared to other buildings, and were certainly much better than the previously mentioned failed […]

Air Barrier Testing at a Tropical Resort, Part 2

By Rick Scott, AIA

This is part 2 of 4.

Air barrier testing was also advocated to make sure the installation was meeting the building envelope air tightness goals set by the design team.

One limitation of air barrier testing is that it needs to be performed when the building envelope is substantially complete, since most of the exterior wall components and sealant are part of the total air barrier package. The problem is that if the wall fails the test, it is very expensive to correct at such a late stage. The only remedy is to conduct testing on mock-ups before the […]