The workforce shortage problem related to skilled and experienced personnel in today's construction marketplace is a well-known issue. But is that shortage a primary factor in increasing risk of building problems like catastrophic mold and moisture failure? Perhaps not. Other aspects of the design and construction (D&C) process put projects at higher risk for mold and moisture failures.
Our experience diagnosing recent failures in new hotels points to issues occurring during the design phase as being the main culprits. These issues include the selection of the building envelope components and HVAC systems, a lack of understanding the unique aspects of a particular climate, an over-reliance on building envelope testing as a catch-all, and a misled reliance on manufacturer claims for product and material performance. Here are some common scenarios:
- The D&C team (falsely) expects that today’s building envelope testing/commissioning addresses what needs to be done to avoid hotel mold and moisture problems.
- Out-of-region influence on the D&C team causes even the most experienced designer or construction professional to choose the wrong HVAC and/or building envelope concepts for certain climates.
- D&C executives are being lulled into a false sense of security because they are believing (and therefore relying on) the claims of manufacturers that their products and systems can prevent certain problems.
- Design by silo (with construction that follows suit) is causing a building to work against itself and result in failures - especially when a designer pursues the wrong sustainable concept for the hotel’s location.